Category : Featured Schools

Featured project: POKE vocational college brings virtual tours to learning in Microsoft Teams

POKE vocational college has made virtual tours an integral part of their learning environment in Microsoft Teams. This example shows how they are used to increase flexibility in learning and to develop future skills.

Pekka Ouli works as an eLearning specialist at POKE vocational college in Finland. He is one of the early adopters of virtual tours in vocational education, integrating them both to teaching materials as well as student presentations. 

Image: Pekka Ouli from POKE vocational college is an active MIE Expert

Like many other vocational colleges, POKE accepts new students around the year. They come from different cities or countries, and many have previous experience from working life. The increased demand for flexibility and easy access led Pekka to start building a digital learning environment in MS Teams that would be accessible to students 24/7, from school or from home. Here, they could find materials for the different programs and degrees, participate in discussions and get feedback for their work. Being one of the early adopters of 360 degree media technology, virtual tours and their creation with ThingLink became a natural part of this environment.

“In our case, ThingLink is part of the basic toolset that students get when they begin studying at POKE. We train them to use Teams, ThingLink, and Adobe  Students typically learn these tools very fast.”

Video: POKE vocational college collaboration space in Microsoft Teams Mobile app incorporates ThingLink to give students access to virtual tours from their mobile phones.

Orientation to physical working environments

Several areas of technical education contain specific knowledge about the physical space where the work is done. This knowledge is difficult to share without visiting the place in person. For example, if you study to become an emergency room nurse, orientation in the space is an important part of the training.  The same logic applies to other areas such as construction engineering.

At POKE, virtual orientations to the school campus and different working environments are accessible both from the MS Teams desktop and mobile applications. These orientations may be created by teachers or learning specialists such as Pekka or by students themselves. 

“Micorosft Teams is our home base for all materials, but it is great that when our students use ThingLink to create virtual tours, these tours can also be shared with external partners on other platforms and websites, or as stand-alone VR experiences.”  

Image: A tour to the biotechnology campus by students of the POKE Digilab

360 degree storytelling as part of the curriculum

Another use case for virtual tours in vocational training has to do with learning relevant future skills.  For example, at POKE one of the general course modules in ICT studies is called “Future technologies”. In this course, students learn to use VR and AR technologies through various projects. An example of this kind of project was a collaboration with the city of Äänekoski: over 1000 people contributed to building Äänekoski in Minecraft.  To showcase this project to people who did not have a Minecraft account, the POKE students used 360 captures annotated with ThingLink. 

 Image: A 360 capture of a virtual city in Minecraft was annotated with ThingLink and shared on multiple platforms to showcase the collaborative project

In a collaborative project with the city, POKE students created virtual tours from different locations and places that are popular tourist attractions in the city of Äänekoski. These tours were made accessible in the various info points for tourists using VR glasses. Another group of students is currently exploring the use of virtual tours to familiar places in occupational therapy.

Image:A patient in occupational therapy is exploring a virtual tours with students from POKE vocational college

Summary and results:

POKE vocational college uses Microsoft Teams as their digital learning environment, and virtual tours of real-world working environments are a part of this environment. For example, virtual tours to the campus or to physical working environments such as the emergency room and construction sites are provided as course materials in the different learning modules. These tours are accessible on both desktop and mobile devices.

All students are equipped with the same tools from the beginning of their studies. 360 degree virtual tour creation is taught as a future ICT skill, any student at the vocational college has access to this course module.

Results:

  • Increased flexibility for students in different locations to access course materials and turn in assignments on any device
  • Improved access to physical locations (e.g. emergency room, construction site) via virtual tours
  • A new option to develop contextual knowledge of a real-world environment in the cloud
  • Ability to share materials to multiple platforms and invite collaborators to view students’ work.

Inspired by Pekka’s example? Contact our team for more information at education@thinglink.com or say hi to Pekka on Facebook.

 

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Change & New Perspectives at FAMU: A Look at their new 360/VR Lab

FAMU ThingLink 360/VR Lab
by L.Michelle Salvant and Dr. Kelley Bailey

Wow! What a semester! At Florida A&M University, it’s been all about change and seeing things from a whole new perspective. For starters, we have a new president, this semester Dr. Larry Robinson became the 12th president of the University. Go Rattlers! We also have a new Head Football Coach, Willie Simmons, who had been away from the city for about 20-years, and has happily returned to make an impact on a field he calls “home.” Change and new perspectives has also made a difference in how we view things at FAMU, especially when it comes to using Virtual Reality/360 technology. This semester, we established a dedicated lab inside the FAMU School of Business & Industry for producing Virtual Reality Content using Thinglink 360/VR.

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Explore Place-Based Learning with Clemson

Today’s image of the week is an example of a seamless way to power place-based learning. Interactive Rocks & Minerals of the Carolinas was created by Clemson University student Benjamin Kelly as part of a story map project in Kelly Lazar’s course at the university. The project is available online in Clemson University’s Bob Campbell Geology Museum.

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360 storytelling in early childhood education: a case example from the Kellarpelto preschool in Finland

The students of the Kellarpelto preschool in Eastern Finland make regular visits to a forest nearby. Inspired by another project called “Teacher’s Forest” at the University of Eastern Finland, some of the teachers at the Kellarpelto preschool had decided to try creating 360 images in a group of 13 students between ages 10 months and 2 years.


During the time we have developed the new 360 editor, I had not heard of use cases in early education, so I was thrilled to get an opportunity to connect with teacher Kati Roivio from the Kellarpelto preschool to learn more about their project. Here is a summary of our discussion:

U: What made you try 360 images instead of regular images?
K: Looking at regular images from our walks and activities is something that children can easily do on the iPad screen, but 360 images gave us a new kind of opportunity to go back in the forest, move there “with the finger” and touch the “spots” on the screen to hear sounds. Images became alive.

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FAMU Certified Educators Spark Thinglink 360/VR HBCU Campaign

FAMU MBA Candidate and Entrepreneur, L.Michelle Salvant says she was first introduced to Thinglink 360/VR while researching ways to effectively and easily tell stories in 360 and publish them to the web.  For her, ThingLink 360/VR was the best solution and offered an even greater advantage for those using VR for education. “I soon began to think of ways to introduce ThingLinkVR to others in the community where I serve. My alma mater, Florida A&M University, was one of those at the top of my list,” said Salvant.  

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