At the November Museums and Computer Network conference, I marveled at the different ways museums around the country are using 360 videos with their visitors or in their education programs. To highlights these different applications, I started this limited series of interviews – same questions, different institution – so we can look for patterns.
In our fourth in this series of interviews with museum staff around the country about their use of 360 videos, this time we hear from Katy Noelle Scott, Digital Learning Manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who is not just offering visitors 360 videos but supporting youth to use the aquarium to make their very own.
Katy, when did you start exploring 360 video (and if that’s not what you call it, what’s the term round your ways)?
We started exploring 360 images and video shortly after Google Cardboard was first released about three years ago.
What is the content you are working to put into 360 videos?
As an educator, my goal is to have students create things to communicate their learning. So we work with teachers and students to leverage free and low-cost tools to create their own 360 images and tours. We have students use their own phones (or one of our department’s iPod Touches) to capture 360 images of an exhibit or outdoor space they connect with. We then support them in connecting multiple student images to create their own 360 tour of a place, such as the Aquarium.
What goes into obtaining and editing the footage?
For students and teachers, they can simply use their smartphone or iPod Touch. They can use the free app Cardboard Camera to create an almost-360 image with their own narration. They can also use the free Google Street View app to create full 360-degree images. After their images are created, they can export them into Roundme to connect the images into a tour of the space.
In addition to these options, we have also had students in our on-site teen programs use our Ricoh Theta S and GoPro Fusion cameras to capture higher quality images and videos.
Who is the 360 video designed for, and where will they encounter it?
Some teachers are creating 360 tours for their students, to better prepare them for field trips. This is especially helpful for students with special needs. Students create the tours to share with their peers, other classes, other teachers, and their families.
What are you hoping 360 video will help you or the museum to achieve?
The mission of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean. All of our education programs are designed to help students connect with the natural world. We know that one way to do that is by helping students develop a strong connection to outdoor spaces in their own communities. We hope that, through curriculum like “A 360 Sense of Place,” we can support teachers in helping students develop such connections. We also hope that students who create such tours while on a field trip to the Aquarium will be able to maintain a connection to our exhibits, even when they’re back in their classrooms.