A couple of weeks ago an app caught my eye which looked like it could be very useful as a stimulus for writing. Panorama 360 cities (£1.49) allows users to upload their own panorama photos of places all over the world. Within the app, children can bring up these beautiful images and explore every inch and angle of a particular setting. Here is an example:
Children can also create their own panorama style photos but I think the real potential for using this app in the classroom would be as a visual stimulus to inspire locational writing.
While this is a great app for free, I do believe it has now returned to full price. So an equally enjoyable and useful resource to use would be Google Street View.
From an iPad children can investigate Google street view within the Google Earth app however this is limited compared to the version through a desktop PC. An example of one of the Google Street images can be seen here:
I am forever using and promoting Alan Peat's approaches to developing writing in the classroom and this article from his website provides some perfect activities to help develop children's writing of settings while linking to these types of pictures. You can read the article here.
So next time you are wanting the children to really develop the setting within their story, use a panorama photo and inspire them to explore every inch and immerse themselves in the setting.