-by Patricia Merlino
If you are from a region where oysters are harvested locally, then you are aware of an “r” in the month. An “r” has meant the availability of freshly harvested oysters ready for your consumption. However, the “r’s” in the words “virtual reality also means an opportunity to harvest teacher-created projects with Thinglink Virtual Reality for consumptions by your students.
In 2012, I discovered Thinglink. My approach was that of student-created projects. It was not until I joined my first teacher challenge that I became aware of utilizing Thinglink for teacher-created content in lesson delivery. I created several interactive curricula enriched projects for grades six through eight. With the evolution of Thinglink into Virtual Reality and Teleport 360, I have moved into a more engaging yet, more challenging aspect of assembling teacher-created content into one package.
Finding Connections to Curriculum
Our school has participated in the Promoting Oyster Restoration Through Schools, (PORTS) program through Rutger’s University. Students have created field guides as digitized flip books, and used Thinglink to label oyster parts and add information. Not every student has been able to visit the oyster restoration project and lab. Thus, the idea of a virtual field trip using Thinglink VR became a starting point for a new lesson.
The first challenge is always finding an image that is not copyright protected from Google Maps and one that represents the area. It is a help if you, the teacher, has been at a location. I had a sense of the area and found an image on Google Maps. I use Pano Fetch, a Chrome Extension, to download images in the perfect equirectangular format without resizing.
The idea was a customized lesson relevant to the Northeast Region of the United States. As part of my research, I became aware of the many oyster restoration projects throughout our country. Other classroom teachers can expand the region of study to restoration projects pertinent to them. Students create their own online historic timeline using Timeline by Knightlab.
A good starting point is to consider existing curricula and how it can be adopted into a Thinglink VR project! Your lesson will already have a Guiding Question. Most likely, there are some online resources you may be using for a lesson. These can be incorporated into a Thinglink VR Project. Then, it’s a matter of expansion into a unified project with additional resources chosen by you. Google Apps work great with Thinglink VR if you want to add a pre-test or assessment, embed Documents, Slides, or Sheets.
There is much to be harvested in the classroom through the use of Thinglink VR.
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About the Author
Patricia Merlino is a middle school technology teacher at Assumption Regional Catholic School in New Jersey. She has been a highly active ThingLink Certified Educator for many years, as a Digital Citizenship Certified Educator and a Symbaloo PD Pro.
“Thinglink has dramatically changed and challenged my instructional practices in both delivery of projects and student engagement.”
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