On the 21st of July, the first in a series of online interviews with experts in the field of VR, AR, 360°, and other innovative digital technologies took place for VR Learning HUB members and other interested individuals. We had the amazing opportunity to talk to Bruces Pales, CEO of the platform 360 Cities. The platform, which was founded in 2008, has been curating and licensing high quality, fully 360° interactive panoramic photos and videos.
As our HUB members and we have experienced, for example in the webinars on Thinglink, 360° photos and tours can be an incredibly valuable tool when it comes to immersive and interactive teaching tools in the classroom. However, as a teacher, it can sometimes be quite a challenge to find the materials you are looking for when building such a virtual tour or an interactive lesson plan in general.
Therefore, the main question for this interview was how 360 Cities can help teachers from all over the world with this problem. The amount of available material at 360 Cities is not the problem: they have more than 400.000 360° photos and a large number of videos as well since they started curating the latter a few years ago. The problem is the availability. The business model of 360 Cities, either licensing fees per photo or an API partnership, is in general not a good fit for teachers.
360 Cities for Schools
Therefore they have just launched a separate website: 360 Cities Schools, that caters to individual teachers. The website is currently in its alpha-phase but is able to offer a wide range of services as creating material, collaborative creating, or ready-made guided tours with lesson content. Also there is a teachers guide available to get those started who are still new to this type of material.
However, this interview was certainly more than a one-way sales pitch. Bruce emphasized that since they are currently in the alpha phase, input from teachers and school is more than welcome. Therefore, the online brainstorm session with HUB members was valuable to all people involved. From scenic design for theaters to training students on the autism spectrum on realistic work environments to language acquisition, everyone had their unique view on the possibilities the material on 360 Cities offered.
The interview concluded with the notion that there is a digital divide yet the internet can work as a democratizer. People can have access to the same information, if only they know where to look for it. 360 Cities is trying to make their content as accessible as possible, to enable all those who want and need it with this type of technology in their education. As Bruce states: “We see ourselves as enablers, we have the technology and the experiences, but we love to hear feedback because it inspires us”.
The interview is available to all those interested for free and can he accessed here, on our YouTube Channel!
Do you want to get started and learn how you can use Virtual Reality for education and training within your organization? Then the VR Learning HUB is the right platform for you.