Bear with me. I know I have touched on this before. In fact, I touched on this not too long ago, but I now things have changed. Now, the big guys have shown the world (or at least a good chunk of the United States) how VR can change the face of journalism. If you don’t know what I am talking about you can begin to read about it here (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/21/business/media/the-times-partners-with-google-on-virtual-reality-project.html?_r=0) or here (http://www.engadget.com/2015/10/20/ny-times-vr-app-google-cardboard/) or just search “New York Times Google Cardboard” and view any of the top 20 results. I will sum it up for you: The New York Times included a Google Cardboard VR viewer with the November 7th weekend paper. A Google Cardboard VR viewer is a fold out device that turns your smartphone into a basic virtual reality viewer, letting you see 3D and 360-degree videos. The times also debuted an app that works with Google Cardboard as well as a new journalism film that is fully immersive, or at least its 360 degree video.
The future of students learning via 360 degree VR films is not far away. Its now! No longer must you purchase a thousand dollar VR headset, or even a hundred dollar VR set, you can get one free in the newspaper! If you were not lucky enough to get one you build one with instructions from here (http://www.google.com/get/cardboard/get-cardboard/). What really gets me excited is this: The View-Master. Yes, that View-master. The red plastic goggles with the circular disks. You remember those right? You would insert the disc into the red goggles, pull down the trigger and you would see a grainy photo? View-Master has released an updated version, one that works with Google Cardboard. You still get the plastic goggles, but now you slip your phone inside and that operates as the VR screen. You still get the little discs with photos. But now you look at those discs and they become 3D images of landmarks. Click on one of those landmarks and you get inserted into a 360 Degree VR experience of that location. Amazing. The View-Master also works with all Google Cardboard apps.
You want to make a 360 VR experience for your students? Simple. Use the Theta 360 Camera that I talked about in my earlier post, load it into Youtube as a Cardboard Video, then students only need to visit that video using the View-Master (or any Google Cardboard). You want to step up your journalism game? Take the Theta along on your next assignment, get footage of each location. Let viewers visit the locations while your story is played on top.