Category : Virtual Reality

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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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 + Nearpod: New Virtual Reality Experiences for English Learners

We are excited to share that ThingLink and Nearpod have partnered to bring new experiences to language learning! Nearpod’s new lessons “Virtual Reality for English Learners” uses ThingLink’s technology to take students on interactive virtual tours to familiar environments in the community that engage and motivate students to learn. Nearpod’s goal is to “provide the most realistic medium in which language learning becomes meaningful and responsive”.

For example, the “At the Ice Cream Shop” lesson takes students to Lulu’s Ice Cream Shop in Florida. Students can explore the shop from both the customer’s and the shopkeeper’s perspective, and learn the key vocabulary to describe things they see.  Icons created with ThingLink’s 360 photo editor indicate a point of interest that contains a closeup image, a written word, and audio feedback.

The lesson includes opportunities for students to get to know other cultures by exploring ice cream from around the world and share their own knowledge through a combination of formative assessments. Students also get to hear from Luisa, the owner of the ice cream shop and an English Learner herself. “Every lesson includes a story from an English Learner. We want students to see themselves in these success stories and know that the hard work they’re putting in is worth it!”  shares Mari Lasnetski, Director for Nearpod EL.

To celebrate the partnership, ThingLink users can get a 15% discount on Nearpod’s Gold licenses using the promo code NP-THINGLINK. Similarly, Nearpod users can use the code VR4EL to get 15% off ThingLink’s Teacher Premium account!

Download the a free example lesson.

More information about Nearpod EL solution.

Create your own virtual language tours with ThingLink Teacher Premium.

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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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Using a 360 Image to Tell an Immersive Story for VR

pedagogy and ideas from the designer and facilitator of The ThingLink Teacher Challenge

The 5th Annual ThingLink Teacher Challenge is up and running! If you haven’t joined us yet, this is a great time to start. The early adopters are making their way through each of the published activities and we are excited to be collecting results to share.

We started our introduction to ThingLink’s 360 image editor with a familiar topic, telling a story. Walk into any classroom in the US, and you will find a teacher with a story map, storyboard, or planning guide, and an instructional method. We’ve learned that our students write better and they create better multimedia projects when they have a plan. For creating your first ThingLink, you will appreciate the plan to save you a lot of time, especially when recording.

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Get Ready for the 5th Annual ThingLink Teacher Challenge Webinar

ThingLink Teacher Challenge 4 Steps

We invite educators from across the globe to join us in our powerful, self-paced, online professional development designed to explore, create, and share immersive 360 stories on the go! Sign up for our kickoff webinar to learn more about how you and your team can participate in the learning. Our PD is designed to put some extra fun into your summer adventures as you engage in learning through constructive play, document your experiences, and tell your own immersive stories with ThingLink. It’s time to get ready for the 5th annual ThingLink Teacher Challenge Webinar.

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Sign Up for the 5th Annual ThingLink Teacher Summer Challenge!

We invite educators to take the 5th Annual ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge. This highly popular, self-paced professional development opportunity provides educators with the tools and support needed to create engaging, interactive 360/VR lessons and student projects.  Learn to shift student learning from consumption to creation this summer by joining the ThingLink Teacher Challenge.

We will officially launch the learning on June 11th with a webinar. Then participants can take their time and progress through the activities at your own pace.

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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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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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