Sunday, June 14, 2015

Google Tour Builder

This past Thursday I went to a day long technology-driven staff development hosted by the county I work in. Attendees went to a general session and then got to pick four different sessions led by teachers/LSTCs/etc.
One of the things I learned about while I was there was Google's "Tour Builder" (still in BETA).
It is a application in which you kind of merge a map with a story.

Google Tour Builder interface
You start by creating a "new tour," then beginning pinning locations onto a google map. As you pin each location, a "slide" will come up on the lefthand side of the screen (it looks very much like Powerpoint thumbnails). You can customize the pinned map view by zooming in as much as you want, keeping the map zoomed out, or even do a street view. Then you can add text and up to 25 images or videos (with captions) for each location pin.
If you know how to use google maps and powerpoint... it's pretty much a no brainer (you can easily figure it out). If you need help, google also offers a support page.

The session presenter was coming at Tour Builder from a language arts perspective (writing about different places).. but I couldn't help but think about all the possible art history possibilities.
What if you could present to your kids (or even have them review the material on their own - maybe with an iPad?) art history in a more interactive way? You could show them locations where certain art pieces were being made (or movements were happening) and they could see those locations in relation to each other. You could pin the geography of major turning points in a particular artist's life! What if you had students create their own tours about the major influences in their lives or in their favorite artist's life?

Anyways.. I got pretty excited about it and decided to start creating my own "tour" of my favorite artist's life (obviously Wassily Kandinsky). While I still haven't finished my tour, I still wanted to go ahead and share what I have so far with you!

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY KANDINSKY TOUR!
Once the page loads press the "Play fullscreen" button.

What do you guys think? Can you see the potential in this application? :)

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