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Crafting a ThingLink 360 for the Breakout Challenge

Crafting a ThingLink 360 for the Breakout Challenge

Patricia Merlino, ThingLink Certified EducatorWe are pleased to feature a Friday guest post by Patricia Merlino, a longtime, talented ThingLink Certified Educator who has successfully completed the ThingLink 360 Breakout Challenge. We hope you will read Patricia’s story about her experience with the Breakout Challenge, and sign up to watch her share this activity during our upcoming webinar to Celebrate the ThingLink 360 Breakout Challenge on 3/30/17.

“Thinglink has dramatically changed and challenged my instructional practices in both delivery of projects and student engagement.”

Crafting a ThingLink 360 for the Breakout Challenge

Breakout challenges utilising virtual reality, enriched with various media types, and interactives can make any subject more immersive and engaging for students. However, crafting a breakout challenge is like cooking a holiday meal. There is much preparation and thought (the creative process) and tools and skills (technical) for it all to come together before everyone comes to the table to enjoy the meal.

Crafting a ThingLink 360 Breakout Challenge Story

The creative aspect of crafting a Thinglink Breakout challenge begins with a topic and a place. Choose a narrow, specific topic in a content area of your choice. Once you have identified a strand in your curriculum, the search for a “location” or where you believe your story can take place is the next step towards a more concrete idea.

When you have a match, you begin to research. Your research may include more information for yourself to build your story. Because the breakout underpinning is based on a story, you need a story setting that includes a suitable VR image and background information about it. This information becomes part of your story.

I wrote my story first. Every story has a plot (point in time), a problem (reason for the breakout), and at least one character who must solve the problem. For mine, I knew that Ben Franklin was a friend of the King of France and hung out with him at his Palace of Versailles. The story is resolved when your students unlock the answer allowing your character to escape!  I was ready to write my story.

After that, there is research for student materials.  I began to search for online materials that included websites, images, music, icons, and video. These are the components of a Thinglink Breakout. At this point, I did not know what my breakout questions would be. Once I found suitable resources for my grade level, I proceeded to write the breakout questions and prepare the planning sheet and form in Google.

The Technical Aspects of Crafting a ThingLink 360 for the Breakout Challenge

Finally, I was ready to proceed with the technical aspect of creating my Thinglink VR. There are many deliverables and skills before you can begin your Thinglink VR.  If you want a screenshot of your websites, how is one taken on Windows or a Mac? How will you create your podcast? Will you record it with software or online? Who will host your Podcast? Are your Google Docs shared properly? How do you change the colors on a Google Form? How do you validate data in Google Forms? Where do you find lock images? Add an image? How do you insert them into a form? How do you crop an image? Resize an image? Find that VR image in the 2:1 ratio? What’s does 2:1 even mean?  How do you get those links to work like Dan Gallagher did?

You may already have some of these skills and experience. If you are using Google for Education, a little more will be learned. For others, you will learn for the first time. Focus on one deliverable at a time and get it right. Move on to the next. One after another and the technical prep is done.

Become a Master Chef in Crafting ThingLink 360 Breakouts

Once you create your first Thinglink Breakout, with all of the components, you will become a Master Chef. Sign up for the upcoming webinar to Celebrate the ThingLink 360 Breakout Challenge for some sweet tips and tools to create a Thinglink Breakout of your own!

Helpful Resources

Sign up for the ThingLink 360 Breakout Challenge

If you would like to create your own ThingLink 360 for the Breakout Challenge, the first step is to sign up through this form. You will receive an email with directions for joining Dan Gallagher’s #TL_Breakout group, which will allow you to inherit his ThingLink Premium Teacher features and create your own Breakout.

–>Sign up for the ThingLink 360 Breakout Challenge

Join our Upcoming Webinar Event to Celebrate the ThingLink 360 Breakout Challenge

On March 30th we will be celebrating and sharing the success of the first round of teachers to complete the ThingLink 360 Breakout Challenge. We will be exploring their activities, learning some tips and tricks, and awarding badges. Please join us live on 3/30 @ 6pm EDT or watch the archived webinar on demand.

–>Join our Sign up to join our upcoming webinar event live or on-damand.

How to Build a ThingLink 360 Breakout

Dan has created several tutorials to help participants get through some of the harder parts of locking forms and more. We’ve popped them into interactive images and published them in an earlier post.

–>How to Build a ThingLink 360 Breakout

Questions About the Breakout Challenge?

–>Contact Dan via Twitter @gallagher_tech or send an email to support@thinglink.com.


We are dedicated to providing our education community with inspiring ideas for teaching and learning with ThingLink through this blog. We hope you will read more ThingLink Certified Educator guest posts and subscribe to receive weekly updates highlighting our featured content.



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ThingLink Certified Educators are a connected group of educators who are passionate about leveraging the power of ThingLink for teaching and learning. These talented educators work to explore, share, and teach others about great ways to use ThingLink in the Classroom.
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