With the sad news that Google are retiring Tour Creator on 30th June 2021 we look at some alternative solutions when working with students and teachers to create VR content.
Expeditions Pro (Coming Soon)
Expeditions Pro is a replacement for Google Expeditions and Tour Creator. While we have not seen Expeditions Pro in action yet, they plan to offer the ability to export Tours (from Tour Creator), upload them to Expeditions Pro and edit then - so it sounds like this could be a great replacement if you are looking for Tour Creator and Google Expeditions functionality.
Google Earth Projects
Google Earth allows teachers and students to create projects, marking locations and adding text, photos, and videos to complete stories. You can select 360 panoramas from Streetview, creating a series of images that form a tour of a location.
Includes the full Streetview Library - giving access to similar images to those found in Tour Creator.
Shows the location of each 360 panorama and creates a flythrough between each location.
You can add text and additional images to an information box
Projects are saved as files in Google Drive, so they can be shared and submitted in Google Classroom.
You cannot add your own 360 panoramas.
You cannot view the panoramas in VR.
Text and images are added to a single box, you cannot label the panorama (as you would in tour creator).
Thinklink allows you to add content to images, videos and 360 media. You can upload your own 360 images and add text, media and labels to the images.
You can add a wide variety of content to each image (including images, videos and embedding content from other sources).
You can create link together images to create interactive tours.
Free accounts for teachers (and educational pricing for schools).
Includes a library of images that can be copied and edited.
No access to StreetView Images
RoundMe is described as a hassle-free 360 VR publishing and panoramic tours authoring platform. You can upload your own images and add hotspots (which can contain text and images). You can also add Audio Hotspots to your panorama.
Depending on the tour you want to create (and the privacy options of your tour), there may be some costs involved in using RoundMe.
Has similar features to Tour Creator (with Hotspots that can be added to a panorama and Audio).
Users can upload their own images.
No library of images to build tours on - you would need to capture your own images.
There may be some costs involved (depending on the level of privacy / if you want to embed your tour).
360 Schools is an an immersive 360° / VR education platform designed for use both inside and outside the classroom. It has a library of images, that can be shared to Google Classroom or embedded in a website (like the one below).
They are developing Guides Tours - explaining that a Guided Tour Editor is on the way for students and teachers to create their own tours - which sounds like this might become a suitable alternative for Tour Creator once this launches.
Panoramas can be shared directly to Google Classroom and embedded on a website.
Large existing library of images.
Can be viewed in a VR Headset.
Guided Tours (the ability to create on the platform) has not yet launched.
Andrew Caffrey is the CEO at Canopy, a team of educational technologists who help schools to use digital technology to enhance teaching and learning. He is a Google Certified Innovator and Trainer.