Creating and Integrating Meaningful Virtual & Augmented Reality Content for Geoscience Classes

Thursday, Friday 8:30am-11:30am TSU - Humphries: 222


Ryan Hollister, Modesto Junior College
Learn the tips and tricks needed to create and facilitate an engaging, story-driven Immersive Virtual Field Experience (IVFE) that can be utilized by all students on nearly any device. Participants will briefly explore the characteristics of an engaging IVFE before spending the majority of the workshop collaboratively planning and creating an IVFE scene using local phenomenon and a variety of free or free-to-try software. Participants should be comfortable using a computer.

Recommended gear to bring:

  • Laptop (tablets likely don't have enough processing power).
  • Pre-loaded trial versions of 3D VistaPro and Agisoft Metashape (formerly Photoscan).
  • If you own a 360 camera please bring it! Several 360 cameras will be available to borrow.
  • Optional - Camera with enough memory for 200 large images and small tripod to practice photoscanning samples.

Provided Resources:

  • Pre-made local photospheres.
  • Pre-made 3D photogrammatic models.
  • Image sets to practice photosphere stitching.
  • Image sets to practice making 3D models in Metashape.


This two-morning workshop will provide participants with the framework and basic skills to create pedagogically-sound and NGSS-aligned high-resolution Immersive Virtual Field Experiences (IVFE). Participants will also leave the workshop with the skills needed to successfully facilitate an IVFE for their intended audience.

Workshop Program »


K-12 teachers, college instructors and informal educators looking to create high-resolution virtual field experiences that facilitate scientific discourse and understanding among their audiences. No prior knowledge of IVFE or photogrammetry is needed. Participants should, however, be proficient with basic computer skills.


  • Understand the purpose and value of NGSS-aligned VR & AR for learners of all ages.
  • Learn how to create and facilitate high resolution photospheres.
  • Learn how to create field trip questions that promotes scientific discourse among students and align to NGSS (goals will vary by audience).
  • Learn how to create high resolution 3D models to include in an IVFE or for use as AR specimen.
  • Discuss how to implement IVFEs in various classroom settings.


Day 1

  • Intro and quick hands-on with the Columns of the Giants IVFE.
  • Derive & understand the purpose and value of NGSS-aligned VR & AR for all learners at all levels (K-College).
  • Tools of the Trade: What equipment is needed to create high-resolution photospheres and 3D models?
  • Use pre-made local photospheres (hopefully of Mammoth Cave) to create a simple 2-stop IVFE using 3D Vista Software.
  • Apply knowledge from beginning of the day to write one or two pedagogically-sound questions for the simple virtual tour. Q's will be collaboratively discussed and refined in small groups.
  • Homework- Make some simple photospheres on your cell phone or using 360 cameras.

Day 2

  • Intro and housekeeping.
  • Place tour questions for students into IVFE.
  • Learn the basics of creating high resolution 3D models using photogrammetry.
  • Place 3D models into the IVFE tour.
  • Advice on how to meaningfully implement the IVFE in a class setting.
  • Extension: Student-created simple virtual tours using Google Tour Creator.
  • Reflections and evaluations.

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