DiscoVR Beyond Expeditions: Virtual Reality Creation in Libraries

DiscoVR Beyond Expeditions: Virtual Reality Creation in Libraries: VR is a fantastic tool, but it becomes even more powerful when you use it for creation with students. At her session at AASL 2017, Katie McNamara shares tools and ideas for bringing VR creation to your students.

In her fantastic session at AASL 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona, Katie McNamara laid out how to utilize virtual reality as a tool for creation with our students. She shared tools and ideas and led participants through creating their own 360-degree images (with their phones!) that they could then manipulate.

Katie generously shared her slides with links and images to projects her students have created.

First off, why VR? Katie explained that VR can create shared experiences for our students. It can allow them to share their world and experience the world of others. But we need to move beyond VR experiences as consumption. We need to use programs and tools where kids can create. The following three tools do just that. :)

An environment that one of Katie’s students created in CoSpaces


CoSpaces (https://cospaces.io) is a tool for creating interactive virtual environments. It can be used on phones or iPads via the app, and on the computer via the website. You don’t have to have a virtual reality viewer to use it, but it does have that functionality if you want it. It has two versions: Maker is free, Edu is paid and offers more controls.

Katie offered several great project ideas for using CoSpaces at your school:
  • Recreate events from book
  • Create what you think the world will look like in ten years
  • Create your ideal school
  • Use the coding aspect to incorporate computer science (can code different objects you add with Blockly)

My Google Streetview image of the conference room

Google StreetView

Do you own a smartphone? Did you know that you can use that phone to take 360 photos that you can app smash? Neither did I, and it’s pretty awesome. You’ll need the Google Streetview app (available for free in the Apple App store, and automatically installed on Android phones). As you take the photo, you move your phone around and follow the orange dots. Eventually, you take enough photos to create a 360 image like the one above.

Follow the orange dots to create a 360 image

One all the images are stitched together, you can view the almost seamless image on your phone. You can also download the 360 image to your photos or text the file to your gmail address. Then it’s on to app smashing.

Participants making their images

Participants making their images


Round.me is a website that allows you to upload a 360 image (i.e. the 360 image we just created) and add annotations. These information dots can contain labels and more information about what is seen in the image.  Once your creation is done, users can look around and learn more.  Check out this one of the school farm that Katie’s students made.

Check out this shared Google Doc for ideas submitted by session participants on how to use Round.me

If all this has you wanting to learn more about virtual reality, be sure to check out the #ARVRinEDU chat (Wednesdays at 6PM PST) and hashtag.  Katie also recommends following Jaime Donally for more great ideas.

Author: Diana Rendina

Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory, an independent 6-12 school. She was previously the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and learning space design and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace and is the author of Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.

Categories: AASL National Conference, Blog Topics, Community, STEM/STEAM

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1 reply

  1. This is great information! I have not tried Round.me, but going to now. We have used Thinglink’s 360 options and it has worked well.

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