Thursday, December 01, 2016

Looking backward and forward

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in December 2016 and is re-posted here with permission.

What was hot in educational technology in 2016 and what are some cool new things that are on the horizon for 2017?
Let’s take a look backward and forward in case you missed anything or want to start planning for some new technologies!


Virtual reality hit the educational community in 2016 with the release of the low-cost 360° cameras (like the Ricoh Theta series) and the prominent use of Google Cardboard headsets for classroom use. Discovery VR, Google Expeditions (iOS | Android), and ThingLink VR are some of the large-scale projects in this area specifically targeted for education.
In my Kathy’s Katch April column, I covered how and why educators might want to use virtual reality in the classroom. Since that time, I have spent time teaching teachers how to have students create 360° images and share these online with others. The ability to share and use local landmarks, trips, buildings, etc., with others around the world helps increase the global literacy of our students.
I have created a Flickr group where teachers and students upload their 360°images for others to transform and use. With a simple app on a smartphone, such as Google Street View (iOS | Android) to create the image and a set of low-cost headsets, students can both share and view images from around the world. I also have a page devoted to both augmented reality and virtual reality that includes successful practices and suggestions for both of these technologies.
Here is a group of 360° images I shot in Sydney, Australia this year. You should be able to scroll around the images with your mouse.


One of the most innovative new things to show up in the classroom in 2016 is Breakout EDU. If you have not participated in a Breakout EDU session at a local, regional, or national education conference, you must do it the next time you see one offered. This is not just a technology experience, but the online collaboration and sharing among the many educators using creating these immersive learning games qualifies this item for a 2016 edtech trend in the classroom.  Breakout EDU experiences have been used at faculty meetings, parent nights at schools, at all types of education conferences, and, of course, in many classroom settings. Breakout EDU games teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used across the curriculum.
Here is a video that gives you a quick idea of how Breakout EDU works. However, you really need to feel the excitement for yourself by participating in a session!


pokemongo2Who would have predicted this card game of the 1990’s would lead to a world-wide, real-time, collaborative crowd game in 2016? Everyone seemed to get caught up in this fun, outdoor scavenger hunt. It was so interesting to be part of it and finding new “friends” everywhere who would share their tips and locations to visit to gather new objects. In addition, the ability to find cool new things in both my town and in larger cities was really interesting. Did you know that there is a large Statue of Liberty reproduction in an office lobby in Boston? Or that you can find a monument to the now-defunct elevated artery in Boston?
While looking for items to collect and Pokemon to capture, and as I found these fun places, I began to think about the use of this game in the classroom. I started to take my own photos of the interesting spots I visited. I also began to look at the large database of information I was collecting in the game– the number of each Pokemon I captured, the points I received, the “power rating” of each Pokemon I had collected, and the actual time and date each event happened.
Because data literacy is one of the life-long skills we want our students to attain, having them use their Pokemon Go data and photos to write a story, create an infographic, and enter and evaluate their findings is a great way to target the data literacy skills. My August Kathy’s Katch column provides many other ways this phenomenon can be used to support teaching and learning.
The lesson I learned with Pokemon Go is not that gaming and gamification are essential to learning. My idea for the use of this particular game had more to do with using student passions to drive teaching and learning in ways we might not have thought of before.


The Chromebook finally came of age in 2016. They became a bit more powerful and speedier, their screens became easier to use for extended periods of time, the touchscreen Chromebooks allowed additional ways to input information (a big help for those that needed accessibility options), and the newest Chromebooks even began to run  apps from the Google Play Store (the apps that run on the Android phones).  I have the Asus Chromebook Flip C-100 (under $250) and it has an all-day battery life, a beautiful touch-screen that can be folded back and be used as a touch-screen tablet, and it is one of the first Chromebooks to run the Android apps.
But it is not just the hardware and software improvements of the Chromebook that have made it a choice for many schools. Thanks to the developers who create online tools, many of these powerful tools now work with the Chromebook. Since the heavy-lifting is done on the Web site’s server, the Chromebook does not need to do the processing locally, and the online tools work great!
I have a page devoted to the tools that work with Chromebooks and laptops, broken down into thirty categories such as animation tools, audio editors, citation makers, curation tools, coding tools, collage tools, image editors, drawing tools, concept mappers, podcast creators, timeline makers, video editors, word cloud generators, and more. I can find an online tool to replace almost any software that runs on a computer, thus opening up the field to the low-cost Chromebook. Getting a device for every student that is low-cost, durable, lasts an entire day without a charge, and can do almost anything is a worthy goal for schools!
That being said, I still believe that the iPad has an important place in the classroom. The simplicity and power of  single-purpose creation apps allow students to easily create a product to showcase their acquisition of content knowledge. I recommend a mix of devices in a school setting so students and teachers have access to the best tool for the job!


horizonI could go on and on with the trends that I have become excited about in 2016– codingsketchnotingOpen Education Resources (OER), and design thinking are others that come to mind. But these are just my opinions. To take advantage of the expertise of a group of very smart people involved in K-12 educational technology, you should take a look at the NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: K-12 Edition.
The Horizon Report is put out each year. The panel of educators and technologists who investigate and come to consensus on the upcoming trends start off with over fifty important trends in technology that could have an impact in schools. These are narrowed down to six over the course of the creation of the yearly report. However, these trends are not thought about in a vacuum. While debating the choices, the participants are also considering these three questions.
  1. What’s on the horizon for K-12 education institutions?
  2. Which trends and technologies will drive educational change?
  3. How can these institutions strategize effective solutions to difficult challenges?
Below is an overview of how the trends, the challenges, and the developments in technology for the next five years outlined in the report all tie in together. Give the entire report a read when you get a moment!



What are your thoughts on what was trending in educational technology in 2016? What are your predictions for 2017? 

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Civil discourse in the classroom

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in November 2016 and is re-posted here with permission.

During this season of debates and political commercials, the stereotypes, biases, and negativity seem to have taken over civil discourse. As our students watch the televised political debates, read the responses on Twitter or Reddit, or view the video responses from those with an agenda, they need to understand how to value someone else’s point of view and balance it with their own thoughts and beliefs to form an opinion.


Learning how to look at things from a different point of view and how a point of view can change someone’s version of an event, can start with our youngest students. The ILA/NCTE site has several lesson plans that target point-of view.
  • Teaching Point of View With Two Bad Ants has students reading the story in small groups, analyzing the illustrations and text, comparing an ant’s view with a human’s view, and then writing a short story from an ant’s perspective. (Grades 3-5)
  • The Big Bad Wolf: Analyzing Point of Views in Texts, in addition to an opening activity where students are assigned a point of view when listening to a story, the teacher reads aloud two different versions of the traditional fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs. Using a Venn diagram, students compare and contrast the story’s events from the various points of view presented in the two books. The teacher follows-up with a reading of the The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Scieszka), which is told from the point-of-view of the wolf. Students then have to re-write a fairy tale from the point of view of an object or character in the tale, such as the pea in The Princess and the Pea or the bean in Jack and the Beanstalk. (Grades 6-8)
Discovery Education offers a video segment and supporting materials for teaching point of view for grades 3-5.
  • Point of View : “This segment presents a facts about circus master P.T. Barnum and compares two author’s points of view about the entertainer. A follow-up activity asks students to analyze point of view in a magazine article.” (4:43)


I have always believed, when responding to others in a public forum, my comments should be positive or neutral– never negative. If I have a critical response to the author of an article or post, I simply send it to them directly, whether in a direct message in Twitter or via email. I try to be constructive in my criticism and also want to have the chance to use as many characters and words as I need to to get my point across. I don’t want to get in a debate over something in a public venue and only have 140 characters to respond with!
A popular method of feedback I use when responding to my graduate students comes  John Wooden, famous college basketball coach. His coaching methodology is sometimes referred to as The Sandwich Method.

Sandwich (Color) . Clip Art. Discovery Education. Web. 10 October 2016. .

The Sandwich Method of Feedback
  1. Start with positive feedback about someone’s idea
  2. Provide the constructive criticism you want to share
  3. End on a positive note
Ashely Hurley, a professional development specialist, penned a useful post in 2014 titled “The A-B-Cs of Giving Feedback to a colleague“. She provides examples and methods of how to keep the feedback accessible and action-oriented, how to focus on the basic information, and connecting the feedback to the content. Ashley also includes links to additional information about feedback. Even though this post is about teachers giving peer feedback, the same tenets can easily be applied to support students during student-student feedback.
Debating is a form of targeted feedback and there are some great resources for those who wish to debate, whether in person or online, and do so with clarity and purpose. I love this strategy from Marco Witzmann in an article about how to become a great debater. The article goes into much more depth than the following, but the main components of the strategy are:
  • State: use clear wording in one short phrase, stating your point
  • Explain: Use the word because to explain why your point is valid.
  • Illustrate: Use examples to illustrate your point and make the audience identify with your arguments
Students can learn about this strategy and then, while re-watching a political debate, keep a tally on how well the debaters did in each of these three areas. Was their main point understood? Did they explain why they took that stance? Did their examples help or hinder their presentation of their main point?
Simon Frasier University, located in Canada, offers this concise overview of how to debate which includes the basic debating skills of style, speed, tone, volume, clarity and eye contact as well as the content components of the argument including the case and the rebuttal. Again, once students understand the parts of a debate, they can dissect a political debate using this information as a starting point.

Discovery Education, in their Spotlight on Strategies collection, has several great activities that target both point of view and debate.
  • Essentially Speaking “is a teaching strategy that provides a structure for students to prepare for a debate after encountering a new piece of media or collection of information. Students identify their key points and evidence that supports them before arguing one side of the debate.”
  • Tug of War “is a teaching strategy that develops students’ abilities in the arts of deliberation and debate. To create a tug-of-war activity, students are placed in two groups to argue opposing sides of an issue, using reasoning and evidence.”
  • 3 truths…1 Lie “is a teaching strategy that helps students focus on the key takeaway of a particular concept. Students will create three truths and one lie, based on the digital selection.”
  • Gone Fishin’ “is a teaching strategy that allows students to practice presenting their opinions in a respectful and productive manner. Students are given deep and debatable questions and small groups have informed discussions in front of the rest of the class.”


Of course, in order to understand someone else’s point of view or dissect a debate, students need to know how to listen. It is too easy to get caught up in wanting to respond and interrupt with your own opinion. Learning how to listen is a practiced skill and Discovery Education offers resources to help students attain this important skill.
  • Listen Up “is a teaching strategy that encourages students to either watch or listen carefully…Students switch roles between viewer and listener and assist each other in putting the pieces together to understand a piece of media.”
  • Developing Your Listening Skills: In this 1:53 video segment “Slim Goodbody gives examples of how to become a better listener. He also explains that when you are a good listener you hear the meaning and feeling behind the words which lead to better communication.” (Grades K-5)
  • Active Listening: “This 4:11 segment presents a short piece about Monument Valley and discusses active listening techniques.” (Grades 3-5)
  • Communication Skills: “Through a series of role-plays, two students resolve a conflict by using active listening skills and I statements.” Grades 6-8 (7:33)
  • Becoming a Better Listener and Communicator: This 3:09 video segment provides tips the important communication skill of listening. Grades 6-12
Other good lessons plans I found dealing with active listening include:
  • Active Listening: “Students practice active listening by paraphrasing what they hear.” Grades 3-6
  • Are you listening?: This lesson plan takes students through two different ways to listen. Grades 7-9
  • Social Skill- Active Listening: This is a 23-page packet which teaches students about active listening and has them actively listening during both the lesson and in real-life situations. Grades 9-12

These practical skills of thinking about point of view, learning how to deliver critical feedback, and the process of actively listening to others are important as our students grow to be the voters and leaders of the future!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Observation and self-reflection in the classroom

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in October 2016 and is re-posted here with permission.

On the Discovery Education in Action page, Discovery Education has been showcasing educators from around the world as they use Discovery Education services such as Discovery Education Streaming and Techbooks to enhance teaching and advance learning in a meaningful way. The Discovery Education in Action project allows educators to step inside the classrooms of these master teachers and watch their strategies and methods for use of the Discovery Education tools.
These videos can be used in a number of ways to enhance classroom instruction. In a study group or professional learning community, educators can dissect the lesson and methodologies used in the videos and come up with ideas for use in their own classroom when using Discovery Education Streaming or Techbook.
Administrators can view the online lessons on the Discovery Education in Action site and evaluate them as if they were doing a walk-through or formal lesson evaluation in their own school or district.
In addition, students in teacher education programs will be able to assess these lessons and adapt/adopt them for their own teaching practices and for student-teaching. Here is some research to support teacher education students using video to develop reflection skills.
Come learn more about Discovery Education and from great teachers who will share their info, tips, and resources at the Discovery Education Fall VirtCon 2016, Discovery Education in Action,  to be held online on October 22, 2016 from 9 AM – 1 PM ET. Participants can ask questions of the live presenters whose content will focus on learner agency, supporting literacy through content standards, STEM, and professional learning. Register today!


There are many ways teachers and administrators can self-reflect in a school setting. Janelle Cox, in a TeachHub blog post, offers a few suggestions for collecting information for self-reflection.
Self-reflective journal: After each lesson, simply jot down feelings and reactions about the lesson and also include observations about the students. This can easily be done in a paper notebook or with a journaling tool such as Penzu which is available online and for both the iOS and Android operating systems, syncing the information between the online tool and the app.
Student observation: Having students complete a simple survey with their thoughts about the lesson can provide valuable information for the teacher, too. This can be a paper survey that is handed out, or students can enter information into a Google Form or SurveyMonkey online survey. Here is one sample survey which has students evaluating teacher performance.
Peer observation: Having a peer observe a lesson can provide useful information for self-reflection. A peer observation can be one of two types — a whole lesson observation with a follow-up discussion about objectives, materials, student engagement, classroom management, and effectiveness — similar to one an administrator might complete. The second type of peer observation is one in which the two educators meet ahead of time, identify a certain component of teaching or learning for observation, and follow-up with a targeted discussion about this one component. An example of these specific components would be wait-time, mentoring, asking higher-order thinking questions, or anything else the teachers wants to work on.
Video recording: Video recording is probably the method that works best for both observation and self-reflection. Instead of having a peer review the lesson, the educator can simply video record the lesson and self-reflect and self-correct while viewing the recording.
There may be other times when a teacher is just interested in reflecting on his/her speaking and questioning skills in the classroom. An audio recording, rather than a video, can be just as useful in this case. One audio recording app that allows unlimited recording length, is the iRig Recorder app, available both for iOS and Android. The teacher can just press record and carry the smartphone around or put it in a pocket, and the entire lesson can be recorded!
Jordan Catapano, in a TeachHub blog post entitled “A technique for self-reflection: Video recording“, offers a short list of questions educators can ask themselves while viewing a recorded lesson.
  1. How loudly do I speak?
  2. Do I get off track at all? How often?
  3. Do I do anything annoying or distracting with my voice, gestures, posture, etc.?
  4. How clear are my instructions for activities?
  5. How clearly do I communication the big ideas in a lesson?
  6. Am I interacting with students effectively?
  7. What are students doing as I am speaking?
  8. Does my method of instruction seem appropriate for the content and goal I have in mind?
  9. How much time do I spend talking about things that don’t need to be talked about?
One way for teachers to internalize these questions and practice self-reflection is to view other teacher-recorded lessons. These can be found on the Discovery Education in Action site, in the video section of the Teaching Channel site, and by searching on YouTube.


One way to record a lesson is to simply set up a camera or smartphone on a tripod and record the entire lesson from a fixed location. At first, students will be painfully conscious of the camera and either try to avoid it or “ham it up”. However, once a camera has been in a classroom for a period of time, it becomes “invisible” to the students.
One of my favorite instructional videos for learning the basics of how to successfully video a classroom lesson comes from the Teaching Channel titled Using Video to Improve Practice: Video 101. Richard Hart, a teacher and TV reporter in the area of media technology, provides tips that are applicable to any video creation. He talks about camera location, how to hold the camera and stop any shaky movement, panning and zooming, and how to effectively record audio. This great video, found on the Teaching Channel, showcases a teacher who uses this simple method to record in her classroom. For those that want additional specifics on more formal recording of video in a classroom, this working white paper by Daniel Kilburn offers additional information and a more technical overview of the process.
There are new technology devices that can provide a better classroom recording experience for reviewing by teachers and administrators. The 360° spherical panoramic cameras, like the Ricoh Theta S, can be set up on a tripod in the center of the classroom and will record everything in all directions for up to 25 minutes. Below is a 360° video I took of a BreakoutEDU session at iPadpalooza in June of this year.  Notice you can drag the video in any direction with your mouse or finger. Imagine being able to see what went on behind you while you were teaching!

The toolkit for taking these videos includes the camera, a tripod, a smartphone and, if you want to view the finished product in virtual reality mode, a Google cardboard head-mounted display.

Another new technology tool that can be used to record a classroom lesson for both observation and self-reflection is Swivl. There are two main components of Swivl– the Swivl “robot” that follows the movement of the teacher and a small, handheld, wireless device (called a “marker”) that is carried to both have the Swivl robot follow the teacher and for recording audio. Swivl is best used with a tablet versus a smartphone, and the software is available for both iOS and Android. The recordings can be saved to a cloud service to share with others, or they can  be kept private for self-reflection. There are a few options for additional accessories, like a wider view camera that attaches to the tablet and additional software for creating presentations and lessons with Swivl.
Here is a short video overview of how Swivl works.
While viewing the recordings from Swivl, the teacher or administrator has the opportunity to leave time-stamped comments for the observation results or self-reflection thoughts. Multiple teachers can leave comments on a single recording, so Swivl would also be a nice support tool for a PLC that is focusing on improving teacher practice.
Do you have ideas and thoughts on other observation or self-reflection techniques? Do you take advantage of these methods or others to self-reflect on a regular basis? 

Thursday, September 01, 2016

iOS utility apps for the classroom

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in September 2016 and is re-posted here with permission.

As you begin another school year, I wanted to share some of my favorite iOS apps and utilities. Many of these tools can be used by you as you develop lessons and units, and by students as they utilize the resources found in the Discovery Education collection.
I do my best work in coffeeshops. Besides being a lover of good coffee, the background noise in a coffeeshop is not distracting to me. It actually acts as “white noise” and helps me concentrate on the task at hand, whether I am reading an article, grading papers, or creating a presentation.

coffitivityWhen I cannot get to a coffeeshop, I have found an iOSAndroid, and online app called Coffitivity, which provides you with the soundtrack from a morning crowd, lunchgoers, and university students at a coffeeshop. It truly is as good as the real thing! Only the latte is missing!

whitenoisefreeStudents might benefit from a background noise generator, too, when they are writing, producing, or reading. White Noise Free (available for both iOS and Android) includes 40 sounds that students can combine, save that mix, and even record their own background loop and combine it with the sounds included in the app. The sounds included run the gamut from an Amazon Jungle to an air conditioner to a vacuum cleaner, and many more! The app also includes a clock so students can keep track of time.

padletWhen students are downloading image assets from Discovery Education, oftentimes they are working on a small-group project. If everyone has an iPad and the iPads are new enough to be able to AirDrop, it is easy to share these assets to the person in the group that is curating the items. There are a few other ways I like to use, too. I often create a public Padlet page for students to upload and download assets from/to one another.

flickThere is also a great app called Flick. which is available for iOSAndroidWindows Phone,  MacWindows, and Linux devices. This app allows users to seamlessly share photos, notes, contacts, and documents between any of these platforms. Flick. is a great solution for a BYOD initiative or a classroom with a mix of devices. Users simply put an asset on the stage and “flick” it to another device.

hanxwriterStudents love to try out different keyboards for their iOS devices. Tom Hanks, the actor, is a huge typewriter fan. He created an iPad/iPhone app called Hanx Writer which comes complete with the clackety sounds of a traditional typewriter as well as the return key to start a new line of typing. The Hanx Writer will have them typing out essays in no time! The completed typed paper can be shared in any number of ways.

Sometimes you want to have a random choice generator in the classroom. Decide Now! allows you to customize the items on this spinner wheel. You can add student names, classroom tasks, choices for research projects, etc. The number of labels on the wheel is unlimited! You can even import labels from a list on your iPad’s clipboard. The “carnival wheel” clacking sound and choice of color schemes are included. Try Decide Now! Lite to test out the features before you buy!

Another handy item to have in the class is a count-down timer. As a teacher, you can use it to keep the class on task and students can use it when working in groups to limit discussion lengths or as a prompt when presenting. The Presentation Timer app is as simple as it comes, but includes the important component of being able to set up to three reminder bells during the time period. This would come in handy for me when I am running workshops, too, since I am always giving the time remaining for the participants’ projects!

Having Word, Powerpoint, Excel and the iWork suite on your iPad is great, but one of the limitations of the iPad versions of these tools is the limited number of fonts. I purchased the AnyFont app and am able to add almost any font to the iPad!  The fonts get added from a Mail attachment or via  iTunes file sharing. Here is a brief overview of AnyFont from the creator. As you can see in the image below, I installed several hand-written fonts to use when sketchnoting!

undecidedEver spent time in your class looking for a coin to flip or cutting up drinking straws into different lengths to have students take a turn or decide on something? The Undecided app includes six decision-making utilities– up to 6, six-sided dies, a coin for coin flipping, a spinner, a straw pull,  the “rock, paper, scissors” option against another student or the computer, and a random number generator. You can also try out the Undecided Lite app, which includes some of full-featured utilities of the paid version, to see how it worksundecidedsample

aww-iconA useful online utility that works perfectly with the iPad is the AWW (A Web Whiteboard) tool. For no cost, it allows you to create an online whiteboard, share it and work on it collaboratively with students. The finished project can be downloaded as an image or shared via its URL. If you purchase a subscription, the boards can be saved. One other great use of this app is for creating sketchnotes from any device, but it can also be used for brainstorming, a ticket to leave, or any number of activators and summarizer activities as found in the Discovery Education Spotlight on Strategies (SOS) series!

screenshotterI take tons of screenshots in order to get an image into my camera roll, and the Screenshotter app is a great app for any iOS user! Every time you take a screenshot, the Screenshotter recognizes it. When you open the Screenshotter app, you are presented with the image for every screenshot you have taken. Once you select the ones you want to move, you are prompted to create a folder in iCloud (or use one that you already have created) and move the images to that folder. Or, once the items are selected in the app, you can also use the iOS share button to AirDrop the images, email them, Tweet them, and send them anywhere you have access to on your device.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 9.11.57 AM Jul 24,One of the iOS apps I depend on is IF by IFTTT. This is one app in a suite of four available from this creator. (The others are DO CameraDO Note, and DO Button.) IFTTT is short for “IThis, Then That”. The IF app allows you to create connections (“recipes”) between popular apps you already use. Some of the apps that you can connect together are Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram, Twitter, Gmail, Tumblr, Craigslist, Evernote, YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, Pocket, LIFX, Square, Best Buy, eBay, Etsy, Automatic, littleBits, Scout Alarm, Misfit, UP by Jawbone, Withings, Reddit, Digg, ESPN, Pushbullet, and 190 more! There are also ways to to connect your iOS device to your Fitbit, Nest Thermostat, and Philips Hue, among other physical devices.
The IF app is very useful for students as they are collecting assets to use in a project. There are hundreds of already-created recipes they can use and they can also create their own from within the app. Some of the recipes I use include–
  • When I post to Twitter, send the tweet to a Google Spreadsheet
  • Email me any Tweets I favorited in the previous week as a digest at the end of that week.
  • Control my WEMO lightbulb with my Amazon Echo.
When I open the IF app, I am also presented with some recommended recipes I might want to use, as seen below. Students can automate many tasks and curate information from various social media and commercial sites in a single place to make it easy for them to keep up with topics they are exploring or are personally interested in.

There are hundreds of useful utility apps and tools available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPad Touch. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Creating a 360° image with a cell phone

I have been experimenting with different phones and apps for creating a 360° spherical panoramic image. Below are my recommendations. In addition, once your students or you create a 360° image, please ask to join my Flickr group, 360 Images for Schools, Creative Commons-license your image so others can use it, and upload the image to the Flickr group.


360 Panorama app for iOS
I have found the $1.99 360Panorama app works the best for the iOS devices. If you take your time, and make sure to move your feet carefully as you take the images you need to take, the resulting spherical panoramic image will work great with a Google Cardboard viewer or online at ThinglinkVR,, or Facebook. You may have to resize the image to a 2:1 resolution (i.e. 1000 pixels by 500 pixels) via an image-editing app for some hosting sites. In your image-editing app, just pick to not constrain the current resolution before resizing.

You can also use the Google Street View app on iOS and save the resulting spherical panoramic image to the iOS Camera Roll. You don’t have to put it up on a Google Map.


 Of course, Google Street View is a good option on the Android phones, too. Again, you can decide to save it to the Gallery on the phone and not share it on Google Maps.

The Nexus phone came out with a camera app (Google Camera) that included a spherical panoramic image as a built-in option right in the camera app itself.

Choices for the use of the Google Camera

It is possible to install this camera app on an older Android phone with at least the v.4 operating system and it will not replace the existing camera…just add an additional one. And it does not require rooting your phone!

The instructions can be found on this page, the video or on this page. (Do this at your own risk! However, it worked perfectly for me on both an HTC One with Android 4.4.2 and a Samsung Galaxy 5 with a newer operating system.)

Remember, if your Android phone does not have an accelerometer and gyroscope, it cannot create a photosphere. The less-expensive Android phones do not usually have these built-in hardware features, and you should check your cell phone manufacturer's full specifications to determine whether it does.

Don’t forget to share your 360° images with other educators and students via the 360 Images for Schools Flickr group! And, take the time to look at the resources on my AR/VR Web page.