Since attending a Creativity workshop with Tim Rylands at ASB Unplugged 2012, I've been interested in using panoramas to inspire stepping outside of the classroom - at least in a a virtual sense.
The first of a few resources to help with this is Autostitch, the gallery of which is here. With Autostitch you simply input the pictures you've taken and it automatically detects the overlaps and stitches them together in one seamless panorama, which can be navigated with your mouse or keyboard to turn up to 360 degrees. Unfortunately, the demo software is only available for Windows at the moment, but you can still make use of those in the gallery.
CleVR also offers a free service for stitching pictures. The great thing about this site is that you can embed the results into websites, blogs and wikis when you're done. Again, no specialist equipment - other than a digital camera - is needed and the results can be impressive. What's more you can "add interactive hotspots to your panoramas. These let viewers click areas in the panorama for more information. They can display notes, photos or video. They can also be used to link panoramas together into a full virtual tour."
Airpano offers 3D panoramas to move around and explore. I would have embedded one but as soon as I tried, the audio played automatically. Check them one for yourself here.
Photosynth is yet another online platform for creating static and interactive panoramas that can be shared a number of ways including by embedding. There is a comprehensive public gallery available if you don't have the time or means to make your own.
- There's no substitute for the real thing, but if you can't take your class to a place of interest let it come to you via an interactive panorama; projected or displayed onto a whiteboard with the lights dimmed, learners can be transported to another place entirely - let their imaginations soar
- As a prompt for creative writing, use one of the high res panoramas to zoom in on a smaller object of interest in the background; as you pan out ask learners to note the detail that is added before looking left, right, up and down to complete the picture and the subsequent writing
- Learners can create their own panoramas to accompany projects on places or topics; add audio and text to create interactive webpages to engage audiences on almost any subject
- If you're a bit of a techie - immerse learners in a fantasy world of their own creation; use the background panoramas for green-screen shooting