Virtual Tours with Google Tour Creator

In case you haven’t heard, Google has added another amazing tool for users called Google Tour Creator. Google Tour Creator allows users to create a virtual tour using 360-degree images as well as adding points of interest on the 360-degree image, similar to what you might experience in a Google Expedition. This seems that with this step, Google will eventually provide people the opportunity to create their own expeditions.

How to do it

You can get started at the Tour Creator site. From here you can create a tour. Just give it a name and some details and you are ready to go. When creating your tour, you first have to create scenes. A scene is a 360-degree photo. When you add a scene, you have the option of searching within Google maps to grab a street view. Remember, as you enter in a city or place you want to visit, you can always grab your stick man and drag him to another location. If you have a 360-degree image that you want to upload, you can do that as well.

Once you have your scene, you can add a description to it as well, giving your audience some details about what they are seeing. You might also want to point out areas of interest. You can add these and drag them around on the image. Once you have a point of interest, you can provide a description of that point as well as an image. If you add an image, the tour will pop that image up as an overlay so that it will cover up the 360-degree image. This is helpful if you want to provide a closer perspective to a point of interest. If it is clicked again, then the image goes away.

Once you have finished your tour, you can publish it by making it public so that it is searchable for anyone or as unlisted so that only people with the link can visit it. When viewing your tour, you can click the share icon and grab the embed code. This way, you can embed your tour onto a website.

Classroom Application

I have been in awe of how Google Earth has developed, especially with street view. The world truly has become more accessible to our students. I see Google Tour Creator expanding upon that, giving students the opportunity to explore and research the world and then share that with others.

One application is with something like a country report. The old-fashioned country report often had students writing a research paper that stated the capital and demographics, culture, places of interest, etc. Maybe this information was put on a bulletin board as well. However, this doesn’t give students the opportunity to really share about this country. Google Tour Creator can play a role in this country report by taking the audience to these places.

What is the capital of your country? Well, go ahead and create a scene that will take me there. Explain information about the capital in that scene, pointing out interesting things.

What are the greatest features of this country? Take the audience to a museum or landmark and then share what makes it important.

What physical features does this country have? What is the terrain like? Again, create a scene for what this looks like. Are there beautiful mountain ranges? Take your audience up there and give information about its height and distance.

You probably won’t be able to hit on all of the points through a virtual tour, but you can provide your audience with a better understanding of the topic. Instead of having a bulletin board, why not make a website using Google Sites? Embed your virtual your on there. Create a cover page that would encourage people to visit. Have a page dedicated to the typical food, maybe by creating a menu in Google Drawings or another app.

I recently applied for the Google Certified Trainer, and I originally was going to use Google Tour Builder as my presentation. However, once I heard about this news, I thought there is no better time to jump in than now! See the video below for my example of a brief tour of the Netherlands.

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