By Christine Danhoff
How many times do you reference or share your personal experiences with your students? If you answered quite frequently, then you’ll find creating with ThingLink 360/VR will help your students not only connect with YOU, but also with the topics you are teaching about.
As educators, we are constantly finding ways to build relationships and connections with not only our students but with our community. By utilizing personal 360 images and uploading them into ThingLink, I am able to share places I have visited with my students. These images can spark curiosity, discussion, and engagement that is so important to building relationships with our students. Students can further explore the lesson text, audio, images, videos, and activities all within one 360/VR image, which extends the communication and connection.
I chose one of my personal 360 images to connect students to a place that I had visited and used this image as a teaching tool to educate students about plants and trees. As part of our standards, we teach students about parts of plants, how plants change over time, and how they can look different in certain seasons.
While on vacation this past summer, I used the Google Street View app to take a 360 photo of Crater Lake in Michigan. I then uploaded this photo to ThingLink 360/VR to add the content and resources for students to explore and learn more about.
Creating an Interactive Experience
Since the students are Pre-K and Kindergarten students that are just learning to read, the use of the recorded audio was very helpful so they could see and hear what the caption stated under each picture. In addition, being able to add video and music to the lesson can help students remember the content better. I wanted to build a truly interactive experience for the students, so I also included a 360 video that they could interact with inside this 360 image!
The assessment piece was a drag and drop activity using Google Slides for students to label the parts of a tree based on what they had learned throughout the lesson. Students could also do something similar using Seesaw to draw and create their own tree, adding labels and voice recording. All these pieces built into one 360/VR image made this activity truly more engaging than just hearing or seeing pictures of trees.
Continuing the Engagement
ThingLink 360/VR holds so many possibilities to connect the teachers’ personal experiences and the curriculum they teach each day! The excitement, engagement, and interaction that takes place while students are exploring and discovering new topics within ThingLink 360/VR goes beyond just showing students pictures and discussing them. Students can explore and discover at their own pace as well as discuss their experiences, what they know, what they have seen, and what they have learned.
Teachers and students can continue to open up the doors to their classroom by talking about and sharing their 360/VR images with the community so they can experience learning in a different way. The relationships and connections that are built between teacher, student, and community can then continue to grow!
About the Author
Christine Danhoff is a PreK-12 Technology Integration Specialist for Genoa Area Local Schools in Genoa, OH. She also has experience as a classroom teacher, Title I teacher, library media specialist, and technology teacher. Christine has always enjoyed sharing and helping others integrate and learn about the latest technology. She is a ThingLink Certified Educator, Google Certified Educator, Common Sense Media Educator, Flipgrid, WriteReader, and Seesaw Ambassador, EdPuzzle and DBiCoach, as well as a Breakout EDU Trainer. She is excited to continue networking and sharing through a regional summit her district started last year in Ohio – G-Tech Summit. Connect with Christine @cmdanhoff on Twitter.
“Thinglink provides interactive and engaging experiences for ALL learners, from Pre-K to adults.”
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