FVvr (Fort Vancouver Virtual Reality)
This project started back in December 2013, when I visited the fort with a colleague to think about some possible projects. During the visit we walked around with the sun shining and the wind howling. We wanted to get out of the wind and back into the past. Unfortunately, many of the buildings were locked and inaccessible. That night I was exploring Mount St. Helens on Google Maps and Earth. I discovered users could share their 360º photos on Google Maps. I tried to upload one that I had taken that past summer when I was at the summit of the mountain, but it wouldn't load. I found that you had to use the Google Photosphere app (now Google Street View) in order to do this.
After a bit more searching I came across the Ricoh Theta M camera. This camera allowed the user to take a photosphere with the click of a button rather than having to use the Street View app and take 30+ pictures that get stitched together. I got really excited about the possibilities this new camera could have. When I got back from winter break I showed my principal, Christina Iremonger, the camera and she she "Let's get one!" After purchasing one, I started to play around with it taking pictures and videos while hiking around Mount St. Helens and Multnomah Falls. I started to load pictures to Google Maps, and knew that somehow we could make our own Google Street View tours.
Enter the Fort Vancouver. I knew that I wanted to do a local history project where our students explore our local community. Fort Vancouver was the perfect fit. I started to think about the students making the tour so that we could share our history with the community and the world. I began speaking with Tessa, and her colleague Greg, about the idea and they got excited about the possibility of partnering with our iTech students. We held off on trying to crunch it into last school year, which ended up being a great thing.
As I planned the project over the summer, Ricoh came out with a more superior camera and the Holobuilder web app came out. These two advances would enable the students to create a far better product than we would have had. A product that allows for virtual reality using a viewer like Google Cardboard or View-Master. I created a sample street view tour, showed Tessa and Bob at the fort, and the wheels were in motion. My colleague, David Midkiff, and I planned the project around teaching the students to think like an archaeologist, along with enhancing their research, writing, speaking, and technology skills.
What you see here are the results of a tremendous amount of work by all of our 7th & 8th grade Washington St. History students. We hope you enjoy it!
- John M. Zingale