Sunday, November 14, 2010

Virtual Reality: SketchUp, PhotoSynth, Google Earth, & Google Lit Trips

When I was little, I loved watching movies with special effects that took me into worlds I could never really visit, such as a man’s blood vessel in Innerspace or a bowl of Cheerios in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.  Now, I can explore infinite locations through virtual reality while just playing around on my laptop. 
In a classroom, virtual reality enables students to virtually visit and explore locations from the past, present, and future; examine all parts of large and small items; understand processes; and participate in imaginary worlds.  Though it may seem simple to just explore Quick Time’s virtual reality cubes, there are many more virtual reality resources available outside of “the cube.”  By using free virtual reality resources and tools in classrooms, the challenge of economic access are decreased.   Additionally, students are able to create, share, and view projects using common technology tools, free downloads, and user-friendly interfaces.        
Free Virtual Reality Web 2.0 Tools
English Classroom Use
by Google
A 3D modeling program which allows users to easily create and share models. 

Construct a model of a setting to express a particular mood.
by Microsoft

A photo program which allows users to create 3D models and modelpoint clouds from digital photographs.

Write a detailed description of a location, person, animal, or item.
Google Earth
by Google
A 3D globe which allows users to zoom in to specific locations and create customized trips.
Take a “lit trip” to visit real places locations referenced in literature.

In my classroom, I have used virtual reality in Google Earth to create Google Lit Trips.  I learned to create these trips through a training facilitated by Google Certified Teacher Jerome Burg a few years ago.  While creating a Google Lit Trip, the teacher identifies a series of locations relevant to a piece of literature, such as cities a character traveled through.  Then, the teacher adds relevant details to each location: descriptions, photos, videos, and links.  After saving the Lit Trip, the teacher can take students on a virtual exploratory journey which flies through a predetermined path in Google Earth.  Constructing the trips is time-consuming, but a collection of teacher-made trips is available at Jerome Burg’s Google Lit Trips website ( 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Google Sketchup-Google sketchup give more help in Cave Maps.