Tag Archives: thinglink

3 Virtual Reality Tools for the Classroom

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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Virtual Reality (VR) has long be seen as the realm of science fiction. However, VR has been making a big splash in education and, with a low price point, is entering the classroom quickly. Here are three tools that you can use to bring Virtual Reality into your classroom.

Google Expeditions

Last year, Google announced Google Expeditions, a system that brings educational virtual reality into the classroom. While you have to be a partner school to try it out, you can use the same features in your classroom with Google Cardboard, a smartphone, and cardboard compatible apps. For example, students can hunt for dinosaurs in their own Dino Park, take a virtual tour of the National Parks and Museums with VR Tours, or learn about the brain by playing InMind. You can even create your own Virtual Reality experiences using an Android Phone or Tablet with Cardboard Camera

ThingLink 360° & VR Editor

This year, ThingLink introduced its own 360° and Virtual Reality editor. It allows users to create annotated and “touchable” 3D experiences, check out this demo below:

https://www.thinglink.com/mediacard/784836856347885570

This is a great way for students to create content to demonstrate their learning. For example, on a field trip, they could record the environment and annotate the vegetation or animals that they see. These ThingLink VR experiences can even include multimedia.

Nearpod Virtual Field Trips

Nearpod VR and Nearpod Field Trips allows you to send students on “virtual field trips” right in your classroom using the Nearpod learning platform. Students can visit the Roman Colosseum, the Great Barrier Reef, or the Great Wall of China (just to name a few). This is a great way to add context to existing learning experiences. Many of these Virtual Field Trips are free, just browse their content catalogue.

These three tools are just a handful of new applications coming into the classroom to enhance student learning using virtual environments. Now students can not only consume, but create Virtual Reality content and share it with others.

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Interactive Imagery: Blogging with Students & Thinglink

My school uses edubologs as our primary blogging platform. Just a month ago, they announced a massive upgrade that, much to my eagerness, included activation of the Thinglink widget. Thinglink is an online tool that allows you to create dynamic, embedded images out of your own images. As such, you can take a stagnant image and create a dynamic, multimodal project.

We are finishing up the American Civil War in my U.S. History Class. The Civil War was the first, broadly documented war in American History. There are repositories of tens of thousands of images through the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and various other private and public institutions. Thus… my students had a project. They were assigned to find a meaningful image (not necessarily of a famous individual or event, but an image that had purpose) and to expand upon that image using multi-media. The image must be properly cited and and license-free (if you would like to learn more about finding license-free images for your classes, see my post: “Find Free and Legal Images for your Classroom“).

They then had to post this image on our class blog along with a brief paragraph highlighting why they chose this image as well as demonstrate critical assessment and thought in curating content to embed. In other words, don’t just throw together a bunch of links on an image. This allowed students to explore Digital Literacy in conjunction with performing individualized research on the Civil War. They then presented these projects to the class.

This was an excellent, creative project for students to stretch their intellectual muscle in conjunction with a creative element. Now, unfortunately, thinglink does not work on my own blogs. However, here are some great examples of their work along with links for you to check them out!:

Railroads & Steam Engines

Civil War Amputation

Map of Civil War Events