Category : Certified Educators

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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ThingLink Teacher Challenge June Update

The ThingLink Teacher Challenge is going strong at the end of June. If you haven’t joined us yet, this would be a great time to get started! We’ve launched 3 activities to date. Participants will find they can complete all three of them in about 2-4 hours, depending on your experience level, and the depth of the activity you design. Here is a summary of resources to help everyone stay on track during this self-paced PD opportunity in June and July.

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Join Us in Immersive Storytelling Across the Globe

Tell Your Story on the Go!

We invite educators from across the globe to join us in the 5th Annual ThingLink Teacher Challenge. This free, online, self-paced,  professional development will help educators learn to explore, modify and create immersive 360 stories on the go! It promises to be a tremendous learning experience, packed with the power of our and expertise from our talented community of ThingLink Certified Educators. We hope you will join us for the best PD of the summer!

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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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Join Our ThingLink 360/VR Bootcamp in MA with Kathy Schrock

We invite you to join our upcoming ThingLink 360/VR in Education Bootcamp with host Temple Mitchell and special guest, Kathy Schrock, for a powerful day of learning on May 12, 2018, at UMass Dartmouth’s Kaput Center for Research and Innovation. We hope teams of innovative educators will join us to explore the powerful possibilities of shifting learning from consumption to creation with interactive 360 images. We are thrilled to have Kathy Schrock lead us in a 360 image capture expedition and we are looking forward to working with innovative educators in the area to build expertise in using interactive 360 images in education.

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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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Our ThingLink Journey at FAMU…Now A Tour And A Film

The Rattler

For the past year, Florida A&M University has been working with ThingLink to lead the charge among HBCUs in exploring the uses of 360/VR in the classroom and beyond. And as the interest around campus continues to grow in this area, so does the school’s influence in creating dynamic 360/VR content to impact lives everywhere.  This month, FAMU released its first official Virtual Reality Tour  which was inspired by a 360-Experience created using ThingLink last summer. 

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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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How to Find & Cite 360 Images with Kathy Schrock

Join us for a close-up look into finding and using 360 images with expert and ThingLink Certified Educator, Kathy Schrock. We’ll learn where to find 360 images for reuse and how to license them and use them to create your own ThingLinks.

Live @7pm EDT or sign up to watch OnDemand

RESERVE YOUR SPOT!

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