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MOPIC VIRTUAL MUSEUM PROJECT BRINGS HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS TO LIFE

An interview with ThingLink Certified Educator Karsten Steiner, a passionate iPadagog and music teacher from Åland Islands and the author of “Motion pictures at an exhibition MoPic” on iBook.


“As a music teacher I’ve been inspired by Modest Mussorgsky’s famous piece “Pictures at an Exhibition” in which he describes his friend’s paintings in a musical way. This gave me the idea to contact my colleagues in different countries and create a virtual museum that gave old pictures a new life, with help of film, theatre, new art and digital technologies.”

What is the Mopic project?

MOPIC is a digital history museum for students, made by students. It was done as a two-year ERASMUS project in collaboration between four countries: Lithuania, Catalonia (Spain), England and the Åland Island (Finland). During the two years, each country organized a one-week long creative workshop, the results of which were documented for the virtual museum. The students from the participating countries were between the age of thirteen and sixteen, 8th and 9th grade. Altogether, the project involved directly and indirectly over 1,000 people.

Together with my colleagues, we organized the project into six phases:

1: TEST RUN WITH TEACHERS (CRITICAL)

In the beginning of the project eight teachers came together for a week to think about the learning goals and desired end results for the project.

2: FINDING HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS

Next step for each student group was to discover three interesting local historical projects and the stories behind them. For each project, students had to find images, photographs or archeological materials. These pictures were the start for three virtual  project rooms in each countrys’ exhibition space. To keep all materials in one place the groups used Padlet.

3: ART WORKSHOP IN ÅLAND

The historical pictures inspired the first workshop in Åland, during which  students they learned

different ways and techniques to create new art based on the local stories.

4: MUSIC WORKSHOP IN CATALONIA

This workshop gave students an opportunity to interpret the collected materials with music using creative instruments like water bottles, Makey Makey kits and GarageBand.

5: THEATRE WORKSHOP IN LITHUANIA

Here, students chose a photograph that they wanted to bring to life by acting in front of a green screen. Students learned to design and sew their own costumes and apply theatre makeup to finalize their historical character.

After this workshop all countries had the needed materials for their own virtual museum room. The tools for organizing the different tasks and sharing the materials included Trello, Dropbox, and Google drive. The students communicated with each other using Facebook groups and Flipgrid videos. The virtual museum was created with ThingLink.

6: VIRTUAL TOUR CREATION WORKSHOP IN ENGLAND

Finally, each of the country teams collected their materials from the previous workshops and combined them into a 360 degree virtual experience using ThingLink. The local stories came together in the MOPIC exhibition that gave the audience an option to use VR headsets and walk through the museum experience in each country.

What kind of learning goals did you set for the project?

As much as the end result, we were interested in the journey leading to it, and getting answer to questions like:

  • What did the students want to learn about their own local history?
  • What can historical photos tell us about our present?
  • How can we use our knowledge about history to build something new?

These questions opened up great opportunities for students to learn about:

  • Research methods for making art inspired by different materials and role models
  • Creative expression in making music, acting, masking, and costume design
  • Use of digital tools for filming, interviewing, audio recording and green screen
  • Visit other countries and learn about their culture
  • Communicate in English, socialize and have fun together

What is the value of the 360 degree presentation of project results?

The additional value of 360 viewing is the experience of being inside the virtual museum world and to be able to focus and walk around without distractions. For students, it also gives a new kind of opportunity to be an active part of the production and the whole educational process. Both students and teachers got an opportunity to extend their creativity, social and digital skills.

What comes next?

I am very grateful for being able to bring so many different professionals together with the students and everyone was open to  learn from each other! The students feel very proud about the outcome of the project and many of them got unforgettable experiences and friends for life.

Going forward, I hope that Mopic can be an example for learning and collaborating in multi-cultural environments, and that in the future I will have the possibility to work with more schools from different countries. In fact, I would like to invite any school, no matter what grade or level to try this out! I’m welcoming every new idea with open arms, please feel free to contact me at karstensteiner@me.com!

 

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ThingLink Brings Virtual Tour Creation to Microsoft Teams

This year started with great product updates and partner news. Last week at BETT London we announced an integration with Microsoft Teams. This means users of Microsoft Office 365 software are now able to create and view interactive images, videos and 360-degree virtual tours in the Microsoft Teams environment.

ThingLink Virtual Tour Creator in MS Teams

A virtual tour is the slideshow of tomorrow

Everyone today knows how to create a slideshow, and soon every student will know how to create a virtual tour. Similar to a slideshow, a virtual tour is a tool for documentation, storytelling, self-expression and collaboration.

“Immersive and 360-degree experiences have the potential to greatly improve learning outcomes because they help students process information faster and maintain deeper engagement in the curriculum,” said Dan Ayoub, General Manager for Mixed Reality Education at Microsoft Corp. “By bringing ThingLink’s technology into collaborative platforms like Teams and eventually into their assignments process, educators will have an unmatched set of digital storytelling tools to inspire great discussion and creativity in their classrooms.”

Below are more details about the integration!

Interactive images in MS Teams

ThingLink’s editor in MS Teams works the same way as on ThingLink.com. Educators and students can easily enhance images and videos with points of interest containing text, audio, video, and links. Here is an example of adding a link to Wikipedia.

Sharing thinglinks to Teams conversation

Interactive images and virtual tours can be created directly in Microsoft Teams, and they can be shared to Teams conversations. From ThingLink’s sharing tab, just copy a Teams deep link and paste it to Teams conversations.

Teachers can create engaging learning materials for students

ThingLink is especially useful in the education space because it lets teachers build interactive, visual learning experiences that are accessible in the cloud. These multimedia presentations can be most helpful to develop vocabulary and contextual understanding in technical education, science and social studies. The best is teachers can search and modify existing lessons for their own use!

Students can document their learning and practice media literacy with ThingLink

Students from elementary school to college can use ThingLink to document their learning with interactive maps, infographics, videos, presentations and virtual 360-degree tours. Here is an example of an interactive video that contains how-to instructions for creating animations using basic shapes in PowerPoint. Going forward, students’ ThingLink assignments can be evaluated using the new Teams grading tools!

Microsoft Office 365 users can get a free 14-day access to ThingLink’s Premium teacher via the Microsoft AppSource marketplace. Sharing ThingLink images is supported in Microsoft Teams and OneNote. Editing is supported in Microsoft Teams. New uploaded images and videos from Office 365 users are saved in Azure. We can’t wait for you to try the new integration and let us know how it works for you! If you need any help in activating ThingLink for your school or district, please contact us at education@thinglink.com!

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ThingLink’s New Tour Creator Supports Multiple Forms of Interaction and Media

Thousands of educators use ThingLink for creating visual learning materials, virtual lessons, and interactive presentations that may include several types of media. This is why many have requested the option to create transitions from a regular 2D image (for example, a floor plan) to a 360 image (a 360 photo of a classroom) and back.

We are excited to share that this is now possible! Here is a brief summary of ThingLink’s new Tour Creator:

1. Support for multiple media formats
ThingLink is the only platform that supports transitions from one interactive media type to another. This means you can have a base image or a poster that transitions to a set of 360 images or videos, and maybe back to the base image. This way a virtual tour is not limited to only 360 media, but it becomes a multimedia presentation on small and large touch screens that can include multiple paths for navigation and content discovery.

2. A selector that shows all your media
No need for copy-pasting links! The new editor pulls all your previously created media into an image selector. This means you can now select the next scene for your tour with one click. If you want to add a new image, the image selector also offers an upload option.

3. Several content templates for best mobile experience
To make your images look great on any device, ThingLink’s Tour Creator features multiple content templates from plain text annotations to various combinations of text, images and embedded content. In addition to the tag arrangement, you can design a custom color scheme that will apply to all points of interest.

4. A custom text label for transition
To give your viewers an idea of the next scene in your tour or presentation, you can add a short text such as “Go to the library” or “Back to start”. Labeling will help distinguish transitions from content icons.

5. A large selection of icons + custom icon upload
To make your tour visually attractive, ThingLink offers hundreds of preloaded icons in various colors. In addition, Premium users can upload their own icons directly inside the editor.

6. New privacy options for organization-only viewing
Organization account holders can now set their content in “My organization” viewing mode, in which case their presentations and tours will not show up in ThingLink search. Only members of the same organization can access content created by its members. This is an important feature for many schools, eLearning service providers, and corporate training organizers.

To see ThingLink’s Tour Creator in action, watch this video from Andrew walking through the different features!

Switching to the new editor
The following months will be a transition period during which you will experience both the old and the new editor depending on which editor has originally been used for creating an image. Eventually all images and tag types will convert to open in the new editor. Going forward, all new features such as collaborative editing 360 video will be available in the new editor.

How to access the new editor and the Tour Creator?
Make sure you have selected “Use New ThingLink Image Editor” the Interface settings under Account settings. This gives you access to the new editor.

We look forward to seeing your work, please keep sharing your projects to the ThingLink Education groups on Facebook and Twitter!

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News: ThingLink Now Supports LTI!

ThingLink now supports LTIWe are very excited to announce that ThingLink has just added support for LTI! Learning Technology Interoperability (LTI) is a protocol that lets learning management systems such as Canvas, Blackboard, Schoology, and Moodle easily integrate external tools into their platform.

With ThingLink’s new LTI integration, onboarding students is easier than ever. Schools and districts will now have the option to seamlessly register student and teacher accounts directly through LTI, eliminating the need for manual registration using invitation codes. Read more details about how to connect to ThingLink through your LMS.

Included in all ThingLink school and organization accounts, LTI is the best way to make ThingLink accessible to a large group of users. Questions about how you can use LTI with your school account? Contact us at education@thinglink.com!

 

 

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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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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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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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Introducing our $35 Premium Teacher Plan for New Users

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 is available for new signups. Read more about who should sign up or transition to the new plan. 

UPGRADE TODAY

 

 

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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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