Creating Digital Breakouts Using ThingLink 360/VR

This ThingLink Certifed Educator guest post, by Dan Gallagher was originally published on his own blog, A Tech Perspective… or something like that.

Last June, I wrote a post about my ‘Escape the Classroom‘ first attempt at a digital breakout. After that 360° ThingLink received some attention, I collaborated with Susan Oxnevad, Director of Education at ThingLink, to offer a webinar on utilising this feature for teachers to create their own (read the posting on the ThingLink for Education Blog). The webinar took place on Tuesday, February 28. Below is the Google Slide presentation from the webinar as well as a video recording.


Create a Lock with a Google Form

Creating a digital lock can be easy through Google Forms, which offers lots of possibilities. Embedded is a video I recorded showing how to create word, number, or the same method can be applied to directional locks. By creating a short answer question, setting it to required, and using data validation a simple lock can be created.

Best Tips & Tricks for Building Your Own

  • Want arrows (←↑→↓) or other symbols for your locks? Check out
  • Want to include audio directions? Use Voki (download the video and upload into the ThingLink VR/360° tag) or AudioBoom (add as an embedded item to the ThingLink VR/360° tag)
  • Want to include a YouTube video, but don’t want the suggested videos or want to trim it to show a small clip? Use (add the URL as an embedded item to the ThingLink VR/360° tag)
  • Want a link in your caption for an image? Type the text in brackets [] followed by the link URL in parenthesis ()
  • Want to have your participants automatically prompted to ‘Make a Copy’ of a Google item (Doc, Sheet, Drawing, etc.)? Use this trick nicknamed “Force a Copy”
    • Step 1: Set your item to ‘Anyone with the Link’ Can Edit
    • Step 2: Copy the actual URL of the item
    • Step 3: Replace the word “edit” (and anything after it, in the case of Google Sheet URLs) with the word “copy
    • Step 4: Use the new URL and create a link as described in the bullet point about brackets & parenthesis

Advanced Features & Extras

Depending on how involved you want your Breakout to get, you can utilize some different Google Sheets add-ons to make items more advanced. A couple of add-ons to look at are:

  • autoCrat – merge data collected into a Google Doc template and then email to the participant; great for a successful completion certificate
  • copyDown – ensures any formulas in row 2 of your Google Sheet are copied into the ‘inserted’ row of data when a Form is submitted; great for setting up =IF() formulas
  • formMule – utilizes conditional triggers for sending different customized & personalized emails to participants; great for sending “success” or “still locked” emails

Join the ThingLink 360 Breakout Challenge

Click this link to sign up! I look forward to learning beside you and exploring your creations.

Explore the ThingLink 360°/VR from the Demo

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Certified Educator
Patricia Merlino is a Middle School Computer Teacher at ARCS in New Jersey. We are very happy that she is also longtime, talented ThingLink Certified Educator who has shared her expertise with our community many times over the years through webinars and Teacher Challenges. Patricia is also a Digital Citizenship Certified Educator and a Symbaloo PD Pro. Follow @pmmerlin on Twitter.
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