ThingLink Brings Interactive Virtual Reality to Schools

Virtual Reality is about to find it’s way into schools and classrooms with a new layer of interactivity from ThingLink! ThingLink VR will allow educators to create an affordable interactive learning environment to immerse students in learning experiences like never before. ThingLink is evolving from image and video annotation to 360 content, which gives educators a larger canvas to create virtual learning experiences.
"We want to make mobile VR an engaging platform for storytelling and learning." -Ulla Engestrom, founder and CEO of ThingLink

About ThingLink Virtual Stories

Students wear VR headsets and an iOS or Android phone to explore a ThingLink virtual story. They navigate through an interactive learning experience by turning their head and aligning a pointer to a ThingLink tag to explore details more closely. Pointing to a tag allows users to watch a video, view a photo, or read more about a location within the 360 content. In addition, tags collect data to measure student engagement within the learning experience

An Affordable and Accessible Option

It has been predicted that 2016 will be the year when Virtual Reality goes mainstream in Education, largely due to affordability. The only equipment needed to immerse students in a ThingLink VR learning experience is an Apple or Android mobile device and an affordable headset. Playback is supported without the need for a special app. Use of affordable equipment is a factor that can help level the playing field for many students.

ThingLink Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Since Higher order skills such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking are best learned at the human level, educators can redesign face-to-face instructional time to embrace the VR experience. 

One implementation strategy is to utilize a flipped-classroom approach, allowing students to explore virtual lessons online using their mobile devices outside of the classroom. When they return to the brick and mortar learning environment they can bring common experiences with them so they are prepared to collaborate, solve real world problems, and create. This type of engaging homework might just put an end to those worksheets, as the restructured learning environment sets the tone to maximize classroom instructional time.
Those who are hesitant or unable to extend this type of learning beyond the classroom walls might choose to implement interactive VR learning experiences through stations built into the differentiated classroom. It's fair to say that students immersed in interactive VR learning experiences are likely to stay on task and become stakeholders in their own learning while the teacher works directly with other students through small group or 1-1 instruction.
Think about the possibilities for educators across all grade levels for using VR technology to engage students in topics by offering a deeply immersive sense of location and time. This technology allows users to experience a situation like they were really there by making connections with the brain.

Imagine the Powerful Possibilities

There are many powerful possibilities for using interactive VR content in the classroom. The tool will allow students of all ages to jump into action, as well as engage in real-world learning experiences. One of our first projects at ThingLink will be to create virtual tours about sustainable urban systems that can be shared among city officials around the world.

Learn More & Sign Up

To get a glimpse of ThingLink’s VR editor and sign up for the Beta version, to be released in March 2016, please visit the ThingLink VR demo page.

Great Ways to Use Google Drive Slides

It's always a pleasure to host webinars with the Simple K12 team, and this was especially true on January 30th during the highly-attended free Google Day of Learning! Here are the Slides I shared to demonstrate Great Ways to use Google Drive for Student-Driven Learning Projects. Find additional Google resources on the Google tab at the top of this blog.

EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit Resources

I had a fabulous time presenting at the EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit in sunny San Diego yesterday. 

It was inspiring to be around passionate educators with exciting ideas. It was refreshing to be surrounded by crisp air, bays and palm trees.

The innovation summit combined an iPad Summit with a Google Summit. This made the conference highly appealing to me since Google Apps is most highly used tools in my toolkit.

Of course, my favorite way to use a Google Doc is to embed it into a ThingLink. Combining these tools allows educators to design powerful student driven learning experiences that include assessment and differentiation. Use of interactive images can help promote visual literacy and encourage writing skills that require students to write clear and concise summaries of information. Best of all, to create a ThingLink, users construct knowledge as they create. Anyone who has ever created a ThingLink will tell you they certainly learned a lot by creating one. Simply, creating a ThingLink makes you smarter!

Explore the Powerful Possibilities of ThingLink + Google Apps

Explore this interactive slideshow channel to access the resources shared at the EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit. Tap the icons and use the arrows to navigate and explore the powerful possibilities of combining ThingLink with Google Apps!