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826 Valencia: Bringing students' voices to life

What happens when you bring together the limitless potential of kids’ imaginations and the power of technology? 826 Valencia, a literacy nonprofit and grantee, collaborated with a team at Google to bring their students’ writing to life—virtually. After their second and third grade students wrote a story together, an artist illustrated the world they had imagined using Tilt Brush, a VR tool that creates 3D brushstrokes. The end result? An immersive journey to an undiscovered planet ruled by love.

More about 826 Valencia

826 Valencia is a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to helping under-resourced students develop their writing skills and helping teachers inspire their students to write. After receiving an Impact Challenge grant from, 826 collaborated with a group of volunteer Google employees to figure out how to use technology to amplify students’ voices. The result was a story told through virtual reality, where students' writing transformed into a 360-degree world.

We tapped into Google’s creative brainpower to incorporate technology into our programs and the way our kids tell stories. In terms of VR, we think of it as a 21st-century version of storytelling. VR allows viewers to experience a story in a way that builds greater empathy, context and understanding. Plus, loved watching our students experience their story through Cardboard and reach out to touch the homes made of marshmallows and the families spending time together. It was magical.

Lauren Hall - 826 Valencia and Google

How we did it

  • Tilt Brush and HTC Vive were used to paint a VR world imagined by students. The final 360 experience, shared via Google Cardboard, immersed students in their own creation.

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