360-degree media, also known as immersive media or spherical media, refers to the image or video shot by a 360-degree camera or a collection of multiple cameras. With specialised technology such as ThingLink, viewers can interact further with the media such as changing their viewing angels.
For years, multimedia has been used to support students’ learning in a variety of settings. In most cases, these multimedia are made available online and on demand for students. Prior research suggests that the use of multimedia can enhance students’ motivation and keep them engaged with course content. With technology advances, in recent years, we have witnessed a growing integration of 360-degree media into people daily life. For example, with Google Street View, the navigation is made more effective. Furthermore, an increasing number of museums are moving online with the help of 360-degree media, making their collections more accessible to the global audience. Against this backdrop, the popularisation of 360-degree media provides teachers with great opportunities to explore its integration into education. For instance, the use of 360-degree media gives students access to environments that would be problematic to explore physically (e.g. safety and privacy concerns, the logistics of getting a large class of students to a particular place). In addition, with specialised technology, students can be asked to create their own ‘hot-spots’ to identify the elements that they feel are important and to explain why.
Thanks to the rapid development of digital technology, besides off-the-shelf 360-degree cameras, we can also rely on the camera embed into our personal mobile computing devices (e.g., smartphones or tablet computers). Certain apps on these devices enable us to create 360-degree media. Once captured, the image or video can be embedded onto a webpage or within a lecturer’s Canvas course for the students’ use.
Where to next?
Lecturers may use this technology to create a more immersive experience of their own teaching contents. For example, 360-degree media could be used in a lesson about the history of the Berlin Wall, to have students draw their escape plan from the virtual location. Students could be asked to create 360-degree photos of the classrooms in which they are having practical experiences. In capturing different types of environments, they could constructively discuss the implications of such physical environments.
Tools and Tips
Borisov, N., Smolin, A., Stolyarov, D., Shcherbakov, P., & Trushin, V. (2017). The Opportunities of Applying the 360° Video Technology to the Presentation of Cultural Events. In A. L. Brooks & E. Brooks (Eds.), Interactivity, Game Creation, Design, Learning, and Innovation: 5th International Conference, ArtsIT 2016, and First International Conference, DLI 2016, Esbjerg, Denmark, May 2–3, 2016, Proceedings (pp. 256–263). Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-55834-9_30