Thursday, 26 January 2017

360 videos and VR for your iPad

I first wrote this list back in December 2015 and in many ways I'm surprised just how relevant most of these apps still are today - it is probably only really Google Expeditions that I would add.  I was lucky enough to take part in their Pioneer Program and it really was a brilliant day for the children, obviously enhanced by the whole headset experience.  The 360 video/VR genre has obviously moved on but in terms of iPad/tablet use, rather than headsets, these are still the best options I have seen.  Please let me know if I have missed any! 

After writing about AirPano recently (you can read that here and @ICTEvangelist's post here) I started to look for more options in terms of 360 videos, virtual reality and virtual tours.  @ICT_MrP recently wrote about using Star Wars 360 videos to write like a Jedi (here) and I think they are a brilliant way to engage children and inspire their creativity in terms of writing.  We always tell children to imagine they are there; this is the easiest way to do that.

However there are some limitations if you want to use an iPad or if you don't have a class set of Google Cardboard headsets!  So this list contains apps which are iPad friendly, free and don't require a headset or signup.  I've tried to put together the most user friendly but also most effective apps I have used so far.  Please let me know if you have used any apps I haven't mentioned!

Kolor Eyes 

This app has so much real-life content and is very easy to use.  Choose a 360 video and then move your device around as though you were using the camera to see all around you for a truly immersive experience.

Google Spotlight Stories 

As the name suggests, this is more narrative based.  This app showcases 360 video stories rather than just settings/experiences.  There are 4 to choose from when you begin but by far the most interesting (for me at least!) is the film Help.  The app is rated 9+ on the AppStore and this particular story is definitely more suited to UKS2.

The video shows an alien crash landing before causing all sorts of destruction.  It really is all action and so inspiring in terms of children being able to describe what they can see as well as add to the narrative.  It really is a great tool and these screenshots don't do it justice. 

360 video 

Another great 360 video app with multiple real-life options, such as touring Christ the Redeemer, skiing or riding a roller coaster.  

Epic Citadel 

Probably the 'original' app in terms of a virtual world that you can just explore and look around without a storyline or characters getting in the way.  

I think almost every school with iPads has seen this app and used it to inspire writing but it still stands out today due to the freedom as well as the quality of the graphics.

The following apps are very similar to Epic Citadel and work in much the same way. 


Similar setting but slightly darker.  Explore and wander around as you take in the sights and immerse yourself in the surroundings. 

360° Tour for Skyrim 

Some great views here which you can explore via a 360 video tour.

Epic Zen Garden 

Slightly more limited in terms of wandering around but still a good app with lots of potential for descriptive writing.  

Aquarium VR 

This app allows you to sit at the bottom of the ocean and watch various sea creatures pass you by. 

You also have the option to hear more information about each fish by simply 'gazing' directly at it.  This could lead to some great non-fiction writing too. 

Dino Park VR 

Another virtual reality walkthrough of a land filled with dinosaurs.  

The graphics aren't as impressive as some of the other apps on this list and it definitely isn't as expansive but it's still a fun and engaging idea that works well. 

Lexus Virtual Drive

Experience a race in a Lexus from the relative comfort of the passenger seat! 

As well as being a nice advert for Lexus this app gives you the chance to experience the excitement of a race.  There are not many options here but it definitely does what it says on the tin and does it very well. 

Sphere Vision 

Similar to Kolor Eyes but the video quality isn't as good and there aren't quite as many options.  However it is still deserves a mention here and there are some interesting videos available. 

So there you go!  As I said earlier please let me know if you feel there are notable apps that I have overlooked.  These are just the ones that I/my class have enjoyed using.


Monday, 4 April 2016

FaceFilm - blend and morph faces!

FaceFilm allows you to blend and morph images of faces together and create videos in the process.  

Simply select the images you want to morph and then watch as the faces blend together.  It really is that simple, but the results are brilliant. 

You can adjust the blend very easily by using the sliding bar to get the look you want.  Alternatively you can select several images and watch as one morphs into the next.  

You can also add music before saving the blend as a video or even a GIF.

There is so much potential for using this app in the classroom.  You could use it to inspire character descriptions, write stories about shifting from one character to another, blend children's faces with babies or adults to travel through time, demonstrate teamwork and togetherness or empathy in PSHE and so much more.  So there you go!  Please let me know if you use FaceFilm with your class - it really is a lot of fun.