Create your own AR and VR with Google’s new features

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) apps are being used every day to entertain and educate. Last week at ISTE 2018 in Chicago, Google introduced educators to several new features coming to its creative apps that will turn students and teachers into developers.

Tour Creator

Imagine your class sharing their community with classes around the world and exploring the spaces other students live and learn in. Tour Creator makes it possible by enabling teachers and students to create their own immersive VR experiences.

Using a web-based application, creators can curate tours using footage from Street View or 360-degree cameras and add details and facts with ambient audio and narration. The interactive VR tours can be experienced on any device on Google’s 3D content portal, Poly, by following a link.

Expeditions app

Along with announcing the new tablet version of the Acer Chromebook 10, Google also announced the expansion of its free Expeditions AR Pioneer Program. With even more content and new features, the Expeditions app is now available for anyone to use on Android and iOS.

The Expeditions teaching tool was introduced to classrooms in 2016 and put to use by 1 million students over the last school year. It’s given teachers and students the ability to explore the world beyond the classroom by taking VR field trips to distant locations. It can also bring 3D renderings of objects, like a strand of DNA, into the learning space. Now there are more than 100 AR and 800 VR tours giving explorers an intimate look at famous art galleries and collections, like Da Vinci’s inventions, and taking them inside viruses and even to outer space.

Teacher programmers

If you’ve seen or played with games like Pokémon Go that superimpose computer-generated items over a player’s view of the real world, you’ve already experienced AR. Using the same technology in the classroom can make learning exciting and lets students interact with data.

Educators interested in putting AR development to work might be overwhelmed by its complexity, but Google has a way to help them learn the ropes with its free course on Coursera. In an effort to encourage more AR creators, the 15-hour course is designed to provide an easy-to-understand introduction to the technology, the features that make it work, and how to make assets feel real.

Once completed, the course promises you’ll have the skills to use Google’s tools like Poly and ARCore — Google’s platform for building augmented reality experiences — to build your own AR project.  

Photo credit: Google

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