Category : Teaching Tips

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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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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Explore 360/VR Field Trips

We are pleased to feature a growing collection of ThingLink 360/VR Field Trips, created by our talented community of educators. We hope you will embed these interactive resources into a safe place so you can watch them grow and stay updated! Note: The resources will also have a permanent home on this blog, find the tab at the top.

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Experience Chicago with ThingLink 360/VR

Explore a Channel of  360/VR Images Created by ThingLink Certified Educators

 

ThingLink Certified Educator BadgeWe are pleased to kickoff Season II of our Friday Featured Guest Posts with a story by Andrea Poglayen, a ThingLink Certified Educator who works as a Technology Integrationist in Mundelein, IL.  We hope you enjoy learning about how she and her team transformed a  7th-grade project with ThingLink. 

“Using Thinglink has changed my curriculum.  Not only have I been able to create interactive lessons, my students and teachers have been able to use Thinglink as extensions of their learning to share with others.”

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Image of the Week: Understanding Perspective

Understanding perspectives & points of view can be challenging. Providing students a means to creatively capture the essence of perspective can unravel the meaning of it. Our image of the week comes to us from a ThingLink educator: Garth Holman.

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Image of the Week: Tagging an Animated GIF

An animated GIF is a great way to show a process. Tagging the animation can enhance the learning/explaining of each step. Our image of the week comes to us from a talented ThingLink Certified Educator: Laura Moore.

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Image of the Week: Bringing Media to a Graphic Organizer

Sometimes a movie clip, an image, or an audio track can explain a point or idea better than our words. Graphic Organizers, on paper, can be limiting in this regard. Our image of the week comes to us from a great ThingLink educator: Brandi Argentar.

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Image of the Week: Celebrate Constitution Day

The Constitution of the United States was adopted on September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today, public schools incorporate celebrations of the history of the US Constitution. Our image of the week comes to us from the amazing, Certified Educator: Jodie Johnston.

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Image of the Week: Embedding 360/VR Images in a Map

Students are returning to the classrooms with the start of a new school year; some were fortunate to travel. As a teacher, part of our mission is to introduce students to a wider world view than what they may have seen.  One way to virtually introduce them to places we have traveled to is to embed 360 images into a standard ThingLink image of a map. Our image of the week comes to us from Juha Salminen.

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