Until it does, however, there is another way more excellent option to transport you and your students to another place: Tourwrist for iPad. If you haven’t played around with this app, you’re missing out. Furthermore, if your students haven’t played around with this app, then they’re missing out. The function of the app is just what the name implies – taking tours of far-off places with a flick of your wrist. There are some fairly well put together web-based virtual tours out there, but the quality of the 360 degree tours on Tourwrist take the concept of virtual exploration to a whole new level. Opening a tour in this app is the closest thing to actually being there.
Dude. Does This Thing Come with an Instruction Manual?
Today I had my students use Tourwrist to explore the pyramids, the Great Sphinx, and an ancient cemetery in Egypt. How was this possible? See below for a video tutorial…
As a result of using this app in class, students were ridiculously engaged, highly motivated to complete the assignment, and eagerly participated in some really fantastic academic conversation. Their assignment was accomplished in several parts. First, students watched a video clip about Egyptian religion on their iPads, then explored the Tourwrist app. They used Safari to search for credible sources of information about Egyptian religion and created a Circle Map to share their discoveries. By far, students were most excited about using Tourwrist and were able to draw a lot of really great conclusions based on what they saw. Here are a few quotes from student work:
- “I can tell that the afterlife was really important to the Egyptians, because the pyramids are huge.”
- "If I walked across the desert and saw those pyramids I would think the guy inside was very important.”
- “Those pharaohs must like themselves a lot if they built such big pyramids. It’s like saying to the world how great you are and that people should take you serious.”
As a teacher, it was incredibly fun to watch my students engage in learning with excitement and a genuine sense of curiosity. Once a few of the students had finished the assignment, they asked to go back into the app to explore other places in Egypt. They were able to tour some Egyptian homes, the inside of an Egyptian classroom, and other famous historical landmarks. I could tell my kids were excited by the quality of the conversations they continued to have; students were drawn to similarities they saw between themselves and modern Egpytian households, and loved sharing connections they made with each other.
Here are a few of their reactions that I captured with my iPhone:
Tourwrist could be easily integrated into almost any content area with any grade level, because it's just so darn engaging and fun to use. Consider trying out one of the following ideas in your classroom:
- Math: Use this app as the hook to get your students interested in solving problems involving distance and rate. Help students invest in the lesson on a personal level as a result of experiencing a tour.
- Science: Is your class learning about a particular geographic feature? Experience what it's like to stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon, gaze around Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, or look out across the Indian Ocean.
- Language Arts: Help students relate to the setting of a novel by seeing a character's surroundings in a virtual tour. Does your book's main character live in Brooklyn? Are your students living in a more rural place? Awesome! Go on a tour in the borough and watch your students gain new insight as the look around an urban setting.
- Social Studies: Feel what it's like to stand where historic figures once stood and virtually "walk" the streets of Rome with Tourwrist.
- ELD: Allow students to share where they are from with the rest of the class by locating a virtual tour that does their first language and homeland justice.
Well, it’s definitely not Bill and Ted’s phone booth, but it is remarkable. Tourwrist: An app every teacher should use. Have you used Tourwrist in your classroom? Are you inspired to use Tourwrist after reading? We’d love to hear from you, so share your thoughts by commenting.