Author Archives: Certified Educator

Certified Educator
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.

Developing Digital Literacy with ThingLink: Aligning to Common Core Standards

The American Library Association’s digital-literacy task force defines digital literacy as “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”  Digital literacy is an important skill that incorporates many Common Core Standards. As an Elementary Technology Teacher, I am always looking for ways to creatively incorporate content standards and digital literacy into my lessons.  Immersive stories engage students in learning content and improve students skills in digital literacy, reading informational text, and writing. Creating virtual tours with ThingLink is an ideal medium for developing digital literacy skills and addressing Common Core reading and writing standards.

The specific digital literacy and communication standards I planned this unit to address were from Common Core and the ISTE standards for students: 

Preparing for the Project

Fourth graders study Colorado history in their social studies classes. As an extension of these studies, students in my technology classes will explore a ThingLink I created on Leadville (below) in order to understand how Leadville (and much of Colorado) has changed over time. This ThingLink also serves as a model for the projects students will create later in the unit. I have decided to use the Icons of Depth and Complexity as a tool to ask students to reflect as they explore the tour I created and to help students to identify important historical points as they create their own tours. This will help students go beyond surface level understanding and think more critically. As I created my ThingLink tour, I used a story map to help organize my thinking.

Student Project

After exploring and discussing the Leadville ThingLink 360°, I plan to have students select a city or town in Colorado to research. They will research their selected city or town, evaluating many digital resources and integrating information from multiple sources in order to write about how their town has changed over time. Students will use primary source photos as the basis for their analysis of how their town has changed over time. Students will use the same story map template as they plan their ThingLink.

The research phase of this project addresses the following standards:

Specifically, students will be asked to examine primary source photos to infer details about various time periods. They will then be asked to sequence their photos to see trends and understand how their city or town had changed over time. I am excited to see how using these additional lenses helps students to think critically as they create their own ThingLink tour of a Colorado town.

To create their ThingLink, students will either use Google Street View to find images or take their own 360 photos of their town using the Ricoh Theta cameras we were able to purchase through grants from Donors Choose, CenturyLink and Innovative Education Colorado. After uploading their 360° image to ThingLink, students will create tags with primary source images of their town in different decades.  With the recent update to ThingLink students are now able to record their own audio. Students will create audio narration to include in their virtual tours. Creating their own project addresses additional writing and speaking standards.

In addition to the Common Core reading, writing, and speaking standards, this project also addressed the Colorado State Standards for History and 21st Century Skills and Readiness.

As a teacher, I love tools that I can use to create interactive lessons for students and also allow students to create their own content. ThingLink is one of my favorite tools for this type of thinking. I’ve used ThingLink with third grade students as they explore Colorado habitats and life zones and with fifth grade as students study the human body. ThingLink is amazing for helping students to explore time and place as they develop reading, writing, and speaking skills needed by Common Core Standards.

About the Author

Michelle Eckstein, Elementary Technology Teacher | Peak to Peak Charter School, Lafayette, Colorado

michelle eckstein certified educator

Michelle Eckstein is a ThingLink Certified Educator and Elementary Technology Teacher at Peak to Peak Charter Schoo, in Lafayette, Colorado. She has been in teaching elementary schools for over 10 years and has a Masters in Gifted Education from the University of Connecticut and endorsements in elementary education, gifted education, and instructional technology.  Michelle loves seeing students authentically engaged when they are creating with technology.

You can connect with Michelle on:

 

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How do You Thinglink?

by Patricia Merlino, ThingLink Certified Educator and Trainer

Six years ago I first discovered ThingLink. There was only one way to ThingLink with interactive images.ThingLink has come a long way. Now, there are multiple ways toThingLink. Interactive images expanded with many new features, Google integration, and an extensive library of icons. Thinglink 360 combines virtual reality images with interactivity making an immersive experience even more engaging.  ThingLink video combines with interactions as viewers watch transforming passive to active learning. The question of “How do you Thinglink?” is certainly one to ponder. There are options.

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Don’t Sweat It! Diving Into Thinglink 360

by Andrew Fehnel

I have been lucky to be a part of the Thinglink Certified Educators community for a few years now and every year I see the creativity of this group ratchet up. It can be intimidating to see what others have created and then think: how can I possibly do something like that? What I’ve found is that Thinglink 360’s ability to create engaging and immersive presentations does not take years of practice or a degree in nuclear science. In fact, the ability to create material using the editing tool is accessible to all ability levels.

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Use ThingLink 360/VR to Make Connections in Your Community

by Tai Preuninger

ThingLink’s 360/VR media editor has allowed us to create virtual tours around our community. Students in grades K-3 learn about different jobs and roles of people in the community, like police and firemen. Local firemen gave us the grand tour of their station and gave us expert information to include in our tags that we embedded in the images. In this ThingLink, students can take a 360° ride in a fire engine, see actual training videos and visit places like the gear room and inside of an ambulance.

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An Immersive Approach to Learning About Medieval Allegories with ThingLink 360/VR

by Licia Landi

Italian ThingLink Certified Educator Licia Landi has created a ThingLink 360 tour to help her 10th-grade students develop a new approach to Medieval allegories by actively engaging them in the learning process through immersive storytelling. Explore this interactive 360 image and be sure to click the book icon to learn more about the learning goals for this project.

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360/VR Tour of Colorado Life Zones using ThingLink

by Michelle Eckstein

Through project-based learning, students used 360 cameras, ThingLink 360/VR and a variety of multimedia tools to create virtual reality tours of Colorado. Students built knowledge by actively exploring actual ecosystems and discovering the landforms, animals, and plants that live in the -ecosystem. They then used ThingLink 360/VR to show what they had learned. ThingLink 360/VR was the perfect tool for both delivering content and having students show what they had learned.

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Using Virtual Reality in Lessons

by Susan Gaer

Whether you teach English language learners or adult secondary education learners, you need to think about ways to integrate technology into the lesson. There are many technology integration matrixes, such as SAMR, TPACK and The Technology Integration Matrix from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology. However, all of them have in common the fact that integration is more than substitution of one technology for another. I have developed a lesson as a model of this type of integration. It creates an online model using Google Docs, Google Forms, and Thinglink along with audio and video. I hope that this model is something that other teachers can build on to make their own highly integrated lessons.

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Using ThingLink to Spark Debate

by Mona Voelkel

Thinglink allows students to explore different worlds and take on different personas as they explore that world.

Unleash the possibilities of Thinglink 360 by crafting learning experiences that allow students to gain information about important issues, filter that information through a shifted perspective and then build on that learning to bring about change.  This allows for the embodied virtual experience to lead into real-world journeys of empathy and social change.

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Using ThingLink for Figurative Language

by Amy Pietrowski

ThingLink is one of my favorite apps, and I have been using it in different capacities for several years now.  Labeling pictures and maps made so much sense to me as a social studies teacher. We downloaded Civil War images from the Library of Congress and added several media assets from sites to sounds. As a technology teacher, we labeled feet with our digital footprints and created tours of our school with ThingLink 360/VR. But now, as an English teacher, I had to do a little thinking…. What would be the best use of ThingLink in the Language Arts classroom?

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Connect YOUR Experiences with the Curriculum Using ThingLink 360/VR

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By Christine Danhoff

Building Relationships

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.

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