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Dean Street students make Woodstock a virtual Google destination

The “Groundhog Day” film may have introduced Woodstock to Hollywood, but some Dean Street Elementary students have put Woodstock on the virtual map.

 Fourth- and fifth-graders in Katie Jacobson’s dual language class recently participated in a Google Beta project taking 360-degree photos of their school and the Woodstock Square for a Google Expeditions virtual reality tour.

 Tracy Jacobson, Woodstock Community Unit School District 200 enrichment coach, said the district has had a strong relationship with Google who approached her with the idea of allowing students to create their own virtual reality space.

 In mid-March, Google FedExed her a box with a 360-degree camera and tripod. They also had some virtual reality software and a number of mobile phones purchased through an Impact Grant from the D200 Education Foundation.

 “We had two weeks from start to finish — from reading the manual to I have to submit it tomorrow,” Tracy Jacobson said.

 There are more than 750 points of interest in the Google Expeditions app. Thanks to the Dean Street students, Woodstock is now one of them.

 “The theme is ‘Love Where You Live,'” Tracy Jacobson said. “The kids were supposed to put together an expedition about why they love where they live."

 Students took 360-degree shots of their school, which was built in 1921, making notes about the separate boys and girls entrances from that time period. They also took the camera to the Woodstock Square to film a panoramic view including one of the mural next to Woodstock Classic Cinema.

 In addition to the photos, they typed in information of historical significance about Woodstock and the various points on the expedition.

 On Thursday, April 19, students were able to strap on their virtual reality headgear and view their own work for the first time.

 “The look of excitement on the students' faces when they first saw their 360-degree photographs and research published today was priceless!” Katie Jacobson said. “What an amazing opportunity to get the chance to collaborate on and create their very own Google Expedition to share with the world.”

Photo of teacher opening package      Photo of students looking at laptop

Photo of students in front of mural      Photo of tablet

Photo of students using 360 camera      Photo of Dean Street teacher with student