Author Archives: Ulla

How to get a ThingLink Teacher Challenge Certificate: Create a digital portfolio of your work

We have one more week left in the ThingLink Teacher Challenge, and some of you have asked if it is possible to get a certificate for completing all the activities. Yes, this is possible! The final task collects your work in a digital portfolio and completes your ThingLink Teacher Challenge 2018!

This is what you need to do to receive a certificate:

 

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An Imaginary Interview with Lev Vygotsky on Immersive Storytelling and Learning

The theme of our Teacher Challenge 2018 is “Immersive Storytelling”. Many of you have asked what does it mean, and how does it connect to learning. Here is a playful conversation starter on the topic based on my presentation at the Festival della Didattica Digitale earlier this year. It is an imaginary interview about immersive storytelling and learning with Lev Vygotsky, one of the pioneers in developmental psychology and the founder of sociocultural theory of learning. The key point of the post is this: Naming or describing real or imaginary relations between objects in our field of perception using multiple forms of language awakens intellectual processes fundamental to learning. This explains the potential value of technologies like ThingLink and the reason why you should take the ThingLink Teacher Challenge this year!

A note about this imaginary interview: Even though the thought of this presentation emerged spontaneously, it’s clear that Vygotsky’s work and the sociocultural theory can provide valuable tools for understanding the impact of immersive technologies to learning. I warmly welcome comments and further discussion on the topic, as I continue to work on longer explanations and examples on each point.

Q: Let’s start with some of the key concepts. How would you define ‘storytelling’?

V: Storytelling is a logical form of thought. It is an analytical process including perception, labeling, organizing, categorizing real and imaginary objects and their real and imaginary relations in speech.

Q: What do you think immersive documentation technologies such as 360 images and videos can bring to this process?

V: 360 degree media and virtual reality are cultural-historically developed tools that mediate our relationship to the world in a new way. They expand the possible fields of perception transcending space and time. Perception precedes other psychological functions.

Q: What does this mean for a first grade student who at school attends to virtual reality classes across the world?

A child learns to speak by singling out and categorizing meaningful objects in their field of perception. If the field of perception expands beyond the child’s physical environment, so does the development of other psychological functions.

Another point to consider is language: we all perceive the world through our speech. Learning to use multiple forms of speech for expressing relations in real or digital environments expands our cognitive capabilities.

Q: Let’s talk more about expressing those relations and making them visible. How do you see the function of labels or annotations in images?

V: Labeling creates new structural centers to perception. Guiding attention, they can support the internalization of new concepts and meanings.

Q: How does this relate to immersive storytelling?

V: Immersive storytelling can be understood as an activity through which students use language to visualize relations and meaning in 360 degree digital environments.

Naming or describing relations between objects in our field of perception using verbal or visual language awakens intellectual processes fundamental to learning.

Q: Would you say immersive storytelling is a form of creative play?

V: That is a possible interpretation. Play is a psychological process through which we create an imaginary situation or place, reflecting or separating objects and their actual meaning, or creating new meanings. The ability to digitally create and modify situations and environments can be understood as a form of play, opening a realm of spontaneity and freedom, connected with pleasure.

Q: Can robots help us learn? Is AI already the More Knowledgeable Other?

V: The More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) refers to anyone or anything who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. If a robot with artificial intelligence can function as an MKO and support our problem solving, it can expand our Zone of Proximal Development.

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ThingLink Teacher Challenge Week 3: Designing a Virtual Audio Tour

What is a virtual tour or an immersive story?  A virtual tour takes the viewer to a real or imaginary location or place that is captured in a 360 image or video.  A tour that consists of multiple images typically has 1) a theme and 2) a storyline that defines how and in which order the images connect to each other.

Starting from documenting student projects at the school grounds to traveling around the world, here are examples of the most common 360 tour themes from ThingLink users:

  1. Documenting a student project
  2. Documenting a field trip
  3. Introducing your school or library
  4. Introducing your community or neighborhood  
  5. Introducing your country
  6. Creating a tour around the world
  7. Creating a virtual lesson for students
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ThingLink Expands to Building Future Schools with Finnish Education Experts

ThingLink has just announced a new service for educational institutions and governments on international markets.  Leaning on the Finnish education system and school culture, the new service focuses on holistic curriculum and school planning utilizing immersive learning technologies.

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ThingLink GDPR Compliance


The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in full effect as of May 25th, 2018. We at ThingLink have clarified our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service to let you know about your rights under this new regulation. Please read and familiarize yourself with them, as you will need to accept them before you continue to use ThingLink.

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May 17th celebration: A Virtual Field Trip to Norway

To celebrate the Norwegian Constitution Day, we decided to send a special greeting to our dear Scandinavian neighbors who are almost as happy as the Finns.  With love, we put together this virtual 360 degree tour to the stunningly beautiful land of fjords and fells. The tour starts from Laedal, goes through the longest road tunnel to Bergen, then takes a ferry to North, and ends up at a Constitution Day celebration party after a quick visit to Oslo.

Now, the only thing missing from this tour are the people! Do you have a story or memory from Norway? Here is what you can do:

a) Open the voice recorder on your phone and record an audio clip telling a special memory or story from Norway 

b) Open the ThingLink editor, clone any image from this tour to your own account, and make your own version of the trip! Add audio clips, notes, music, photos, videos, or anything you like –and share it onwards!

If you don’t have a ThingLink account yet, check out our new Premium Teacher plan!

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New Deals on ThingLink & Ricoh Theta


We are happy to share that ThingLink users can now purchase Ricoh Theta cameras with a partner discount code that gives 15% off any new purchase on the Ricoh US website. This means $30 off on the Ricoh Theta SC, and $60 off on the new Ricoh Theta V.  

Individual teachers and schools can use ThingLink and Ricoh Theta 360 camera to:

  • Take 360 images with students during field trips
  • Upload 360 images from computer hard drive or tablet directly to ThingLink editor
  • Easily add notes, audio, closeup photos or videos to 360 images
  • Copy and edit thousands of 360 presentations and tours created by other teachers
  • Embed interactive 360 images on any website
  • Directly record narration to 360 images on iPads

Planning for the new school year? ThingLink’s new starter account for schools ($500) lets teachers try 360 photo editing at $1/user. Sign up your school today and get started with immersive storytelling on thinglink.com/edu!

 

 

 

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Upcoming: Five Major Product Updates

We have very exiting news: in the next couple of weeks ThingLink is launching:

  • a new Premium teacher plan
  • a new school package
  • a new student management interface
  • a new version of the image editor, and
  • a new mobile creation experience.

Here are the main highlights for each:

A new Premium Teacher plan: all features for one classroom

The new individual teacher plan includes all features such as 360 editing for one classroom (35 students) at $35 per year. The plan will be available for new signups already this week! Read more about who should sign up or transition to the new plan. 

 

A new school package

Our new school starter package at $500 includes 500 accounts for use by teachers or students. This means new teachers in a school can now try ThingLink at much lower price ($1 per user). The school plan is designed to grow throughout the adoption phase, with the option to purchase additional accounts in increments of 250, or professional development on demand.

A new student management interface

The new interface offers more flexible ways to manage students and groups for individual teacher and school accounts. For example, teachers and school admins can now easily add more students to their account and see how many students have signed up. The new interface is available for teachers on Wednesday, May 2nd. 

New ThingLink editor

This new streamlined editor supports flat and 360 images with the same feature set. It features a new selection of layout templates for different types of content, which makes the creation flow faster and easier. The new editor will be available to our beta users users in May and all users in June.

 

New mobile creation experience

In addition to a new look and feel, the mobile editor supports direct audio recording to camera images. The iPad version that will be in the App Store in May, will support  audio recording to 360 images as well!

 

This is a lot to digest, but we believe these new features, packages and improvements will make ThingLink the most flexible and affordable immersive storytelling tool to improve digital literacy skills.

In the next weeks we will be writing about each feature in more detail based on the questions we get. We would like to invite you to join the discussion about new features on the ThingLink Education group on Facebook!

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Immersive learning for higher education

The challenges and opportunities for new technology integration at a large college or university are different than at an elementary school. Schools are bigger, shared facilities are crowded, students are quick to learn new technologies on their own, and research plays a bigger role. After my recent visit to Clemson University, I started putting together a list of use cases and applications for immersive learning for higher education. This list is work in progress, so feel free to email comments or additional suggestions!

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Guess Where In The World Are You with ThingLink’s 360 Holiday Game!

Happy Holidays!

Perhaps the best gift of the season is to be able to enjoy spending time with family and friends. To help you enjoy this special time, we’ve created an interactive guessing game for the whole family to play together.

Guess What is a 360-degree guessing game where players need to determine where they are, or what they see, within 30 seconds. In this version of the game, you are guessing where in the world are you. Try it with friends and family, and see how many cities each of you gets right!

Guess What

If you happened to get a 360 camera from Santa Claus and you are looking for a great way to use it, we have a little activity for you:  You can build your own 360 guessing game. All you need to do is put together a channel of 360 images on ThingLink, and email it to us at social@thinglink.com. We will feature the best guessing games from around the world on our blog and newsletter!

At ThingLink, we are big fans of the idea that immersive storytelling brings people together. We think you will agree when you explore Guess What.

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