In 2015, 826 Valencia —an organization that helps under-resourced students develop their writing skills—won a Google.org Impact Challenge grant to expand their programs in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. After receiving the grant, 826 turned to a group of volunteer Googlers to figure out how to use technology to amplify students’ voices. The result was a story about a “planet ruled by love,” written by young students and told through a new medium—virtual reality.Second and third grade students from the San Francisco literacy nonprofit 826 Valencia recently wrote a story about a planet ruled by love. In this 360-degree film, check out the world the students imagined, illustrated through Tilt Brush and turned into an immersive experience.
Each week, local second- and third-grade students gathered at the Tenderloin center. Together, they wrote a story, each contributing a few lines, about a planet ruled by love. Simultaneously, a local artist illustrated the world they were describing using Tilt Brush. The technology was, quite literally, bringing new dimensions to their writing.
On the planet ruled by love, houses are made of marshmallows, school goes up to grade 30 and people can always act like themselves. Flying taco trucks make regular appearances. Back on Earth, the students excitedly talked about seeing the details they had imagined come to life (“I wrote that!”), laughing at the story they’d written together, and then on occasion, reaching out — trying to touch the image in front of them, as if it, too, were as real as the sixteen-foot treehouse in the building on the corner of Golden Gate Avenue.
We believe that Virtual Reality has the potential of bringing humans together like no other tech that has come before. This warms our hearts.