How does this help open up Environmental Science?
- 360° images are more immersive and interactive than static images that capture only part of a scene. In addition to being more engaging for learners, the 360° field of view enables them to place features of interest into their wider context.
- Immersive 360° imagery captured in the field at ground level (as opposed to from satellites or drones) can be used in many different ways. Examples include: preparing students for real fieldwork; follow-up to real fieldwork; extending real fieldwork by allowing virtual comparisons with similar or different environments elsewhere, or the same location at different points in time (e.g. to observe seasonal changes, or changes over longer periods e.g. glacier recession and landscape change). These are benefits to ALL students, but they are particularly valued by those with disabilities – seen and unseen.
- 360° photography is more realistic and accessible than computer-simulated environments because the latter can be expensive to produce, and higher specification devices are normally required to view these resources. 360 cameras are relatively cheap, and easy to use.
- For all the above reasons, 360° photography provides tremendous potential to bring the outside world into schools, colleges, universities and people’s homes at relatively little cost.
Are there any barriers to learners?
- Photography-based approaches are problematical for those with visual impairments
- Internet-connected devices are required to view these resources. Typically the bandwidth is similar to using Google Street View.