Thinglink just announced they will once again facilitate a self-paced online summer teacher challenge. Every year that I participate, I learn new and innovative ways to utilize one of my favorite tools. This summer will focus on the use of their premium 360/VR feature. This is the perfect opportunity to try out this amazing platform for only $25.00 (normally $125.00). Below is an example of an interactive 360 image focusing on Science vocabulary.
Check out this post on their blog for more information about upgrading your account and signing up for the challenge.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I obsess over certain tools I love. Thinglink is probably number 1 on my list and it just got even better! Last year, I participated in the Thinglink Summer VR Challenge and was introduced to their new 360° tag editor for making 360° images and VR content interactive. This particular feature of the platform is only available if you have a Premium Educator account. When I provide professional development opportunities for my teachers, I usually do not recommend purchasing individual subscriptions because I know that the money comes out of their pockets. This is one exception.
Thinglink is not just a tool. It is a supportive community designed to provide teachers with rich, interactive experiences that engage learners and immerses them into worlds they may not possibly be able to experience otherwise. When I see teachers and students using Thinglink to annotate content that demonstrates understanding of concepts, they are giddy. Seriously. Giddy. One of my favorite bloggers, Richard Wells (@EduWells), recently published a post about the impact of virtual reality in the classroom and how it can encourage empathy.
Below are the Thinglink current pricing options.
I recommend starting with the free 14 day trial so you can see for yourself how easy it is to navigate the interface. If the out of pocket cost is not an option, try approaching your campus administration or PTA/PTO for funding. Many campuses have even used allocated grade level or department funds.
One thing I struggled with as a new user of this feature was learning about 360° images, specifically where to get them and how to make your own. I’ve tried several apps and continue to go back to the same one: Google Street View on my iPhone. Here are the simple directions:
Create photos with an iPhone (Won’t work with an iPad because it won’t save to camera roll)
- Open the Street View app .
- Tap Create +.
- In the bottom right, tap Camera .
- Take a series of photos.
- At the bottom, tap Done .
- Your 360 photo is stitched together and saved in the “Private” tab on your phone. The photo is also saved on your phone (unless you turned this setting off).
- Publish your 360 photo on Google Street View (you can blur faces or identifying information if needed)
Upload Image to Teleport 360° app on your iPad
- Open Google Street View on your iPad.
- Navigate to your public image and save to your camera roll.
- Open Teleport 360 and tap on Upload Media
- Tap Photo Library and tap on your 360 image
- Tap edit and start tagging using text, images, audio, video, embed html, or transitions
Here’s a quick video to show how easy it is to use:
If you would like to take your class on an immersive learning adventure to a specific destination, check out the photo pool from the Flickr 360 Equirectangular Group. Many photographers have given permission for their images to be used. Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) also has a wealth of information and resources on the subject of virtual reality. Also, within the app itself is a growing collection of their own 360° image library.
Check out the Spotlight Speakers 17 Channel created by Susan Oxnevad (@soxnevad) to see examples of how educators are using this tool to support instruction.
There is a new “Featured Lesson” section on Rock the Lab home page that will change every month. I’ll provide 2 different lessons that have a monthly or seasonal theme. This month we celebrate Black History with different types of multimedia content appropriate for all levels. K-2 students can explore videos, text with audio, and books from Capstone to learn about various African-American Leaders. 3-5 students will engage in the HyperDoc Learning Cycle process by researching 3 different African-American heroes of their choice. I would love to feature lessons created by other NEISD educators, so please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to submit a lesson.
Last week I attended TCEA 2017 in Austin and am currently working on a blog post to share my reflections. In the meantime, I stumbled upon this amazing resource created by Ron Burke (@MistaB10). His Twitter pic alone is worthy of its own blog post. Ron curated a plethora of technology challenges that allow teachers to explore new tools, choose tasks that are of interest, and provides examples of authentic integration. Where has this dude been all my life? Seriously. Check out his other interactive images here.
As the end of the year quickly approaches, I often reflect on what I have accomplished and what I would like to set as my goals for the new calendar year. This year, you may have noticed I did not publish as many posts as I normally do. This is largely due to the fact that I have been working on 2 other websites. I’m happy to say they are both complete and now it’s just a matter of updating them with fresh content to replace older apps and software. I decided to showcase some of the new lessons and ideas that are now posted on these sites.
Rock the Lab
Rock the Lab is a website I maintain for student use. All of the lessons support Texas TEKS and follow the NEISD Scope and Sequence. It took me a year to build, but I finally have all 4 nine weeks complete. Most of the activities utilize free tools, but some require a subscription or license to paid content/software such as Kidspiration or Discovery Education. Every school year I pick out a new tool or website over which to obsess, and this year it was HyperDocs! I’ve tried to incorporate as many as I could in each 9 weeks and the feedback from students and teachers has been very positive. Check out some of my favorite lessons below:
- Kinder- My 5 Senses Google HyperDoc and Learning Coins Web Based
- 1st Grade- Text Features SMART Notebook
- 2nd Grade- Landmarks HyperDoc and Water Cycle Thinglink
- 3rd Grade- The Pumpkin Patch Google HyperDoc
- 4th Grade- The First Texans Google HyperDoc Digital Storytelling with Epic Citadel Sutori
- 5th Grade- Figurative Language Thinglink Video and Attitude of Gratitude HyperDoc
Schoogle Your Content with HyperDocs
As I stated above, my obsession this year has been HyperDocs. I learned about them last year through Matt Miller’s blog post and never looked back. I love them so much that I decided to abandon my fear of public speaking and present on the subject at TCEA in February. I created a site to share what I learned this summer during the HyperDoc Bootcamp, and to house my growing collection of examples created by myself and the HyperDoc community.
Click on the arrows at the bottom of the home page to navigate through the content. Start at the beginning if you are new to HyperDocs or skip straight to the examples if you’re ready to implement. I hope you will be able to attend my session on Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 5:00-6:00.
Dare I say, Thinglink is still my number 1 go to tool for student created projects. This year they introduced a new feature that supports 360 images. I was fortunate enough to be able to create content for their new iPad app. Students can explore 360 images and interact with multimedia content to learn about different places or concepts. 2 of my lessons are now featured within the app: Earth’s Forces and Remember the Alamo!
Creative Writing Challenges
This year I’ve chosen creative writing as an instructional focus. Here are some HyperDocs that have a seasonal or monthly theme.
PD in Your PJs
Can’t come to a training? No worries! Below are links to resources that provide you with anytime, anywhere, self-paced learning.
- SeeSaw: Student Driven Digital Portfolios
- Google Classroom
- App Smashes and Flows
- Hour of Code
- Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
- Schoogle Your Content with HyperDocs
Goals for 2017
What does 2017 look like? At the rate things are changing, I have no idea yet. When you’re in this profession, tools are being developed at the drop of a hat. One thing I have learned is good teaching will never change. I think that’s why I fell so hard for HyperDocs. It’s not about the platform or the device. It’s about sound instruction that allows the student to engage with the content. Therefore, my goal for 2017 is simple…best practices.
*UPDATE* HSTRY is now known as Sutori
I’m so excited for HSTRY’s latest update, real-time collaboration. It’s perfect timing, as digital collaboration and communication are my top 2 goals for all of my campuses this year. I started using HSTRY’s amazing interactive timeline platform back when they were still in beta. And yes, they are the reason that I have memorized the HTML code for formatting text and inserting links. They’ve come a long way and now it’s easier than ever for students of any age to create engaging linear presentations.
It was difficult narrowing down my ideas on how to use the collaboration feature. Data results from last year’s district technology survey identified digital writing as a needed area of growth. HSTRY’s integration with Google sign in, the ability to add a variety of digital content, and intuitive interface are the many reasons why this tool is perfect for the task. Last year I wrote a blog post featuring a few integration examples, so I have chosen Digital Storytelling with Epic Citadel as my “test” lesson. After introducing students to the app, they can make a copy of the template and then work collaboratively to finish the story. I’ll make sure to share the finished student products when complete.
Please visit their blog for more information on this new feature.
It’s summer! This time of year always gives me the opportunity to learn new skills, explore new tools, and collaborate with new people. Once again, I am participating in the Thinglink Summer Challenge. We will be exploring a new feature they recently added that allows you to upload and annotate 360 images. This is a great way to create engaging and immersive experiences for students. My first attempt was a virtual field trip to the Alamo that provided students with a guided tour and interactive activities that taught them about the significance of the battle during the fight for Texas Independence. I’ve created a channel to showcase the submissions from various Thinglink Expert Educators and teachers from around the country. I will continue to add on a weekly basis, so please check back often for more Thinglink inspiration. Make sure to join the Thinglink 360 Facebook page and visit the #Thinglink360 feed on Twitter. As Susan would say…Happy Tagging!
Talk about immersive experiences… The new Thinglink VR editor gives you and your students the opportunity to interact with 360-degree images and (coming soon) video. I thought I would give you a sneak peek of the image I will be discussing during the Interactive 360/VR Image Slam on Thursday, June 2nd. Sign up to view live at 8:00 pm EST or to receive a copy of the webinar in your inbox. You can also participate in the ThingLink Summer VR Challenge that begins on June 26.
Click on the video below to view the webinar that walks you through the image above (51:00). Check out all of the other great panelists for even more ideas on how to utilize 360 images.
Explore this updated Bindr collection for even more inspiration.
Smore has launched a new collaborative community called The Educator Hive. This awesome space allows you to share your flyer templates and adapt others as your own. The navigation makes it easy to sort by type of resource (presentation, newsletter, assignment, etc) to find exactly what you need to support classroom instruction. You can duplicate a flyer that you like, which copies a modifiable template into your account. You will need to have an educator’s account in order to have access to this community.
You’re tired. You should be. Fortunately, there are plenty of educators willing to share lessons and resources you need to keep students engaged and learning until the very last day of school. This happens to be an exciting time in our country with the upcoming Presidential elections and Summer Olympics. It’s the perfect opportunity to embed current event themes into review activities or end of the year research projects. Matt Miller from Ditch That Textbook has created some amazing end of the year review activities with an Olympic theme. He utilizes Google Drawings and Kahoot and gives detailed explanations as to how the review games work. Visit his blog post to read more.
PBS Learning Media created an entire site dedicated to teaching students the process of U.S. elections. It includes information outlining debates, an interactive map that shows the amount of electoral votes allotted to each state and the current location of the candidates, and virtual field trips to important destinations in Washington D.C.
I’ve added both of these resources to my list of End of the Year Tech Ideas that you can view below. Let me know in the comments section if you have a great lesson or resource to add to the list.
Showcasing student work is a vital part of the content creation process. I’m constantly looking for the easiest way to curate examples or have students submit work without having to login to yet another account. My usual go-to tool is Padlet, however, sometimes it does not play nice with some of the tools I work with. Here is a specific example:
Recently, Sherry Philippus, librarian at Northwood Elementary, had her 4th grade students create Vokis on Lone Star Legends. She needed a way to embed them all in one place, but Padlet would not embed or link to the original Voki. Bindrs is a website I discovered about a year ago when looking for a way to curate Thinglinks along with a written description for each example. When I tested embedding a Voki in a Bindr, it worked perfectly! I’m including a quick video showing how to make it work. You need to make sure to check the box that says “Use HTTPS to embed in a secure page.”
It would be wonderful if there were that one perfect tool that was compatible with all online platforms, but alas, it still eludes me. Here are the ones I use on a regular basis along with some comparisons of what I think are the most important features and examples. Hopefully this will help you match the perfect tool with your project.
Some additional information on the chart above:
- Logging in for elementary students can be very time consuming and distract from the content of the lesson. If a website does not offer the ability to sign in with their district Google account, it’s a deal breaker for me. I say move on and find something else.
- HSTRY, one of my most favorite sites ever, has new features in development. Here is what Thomas Ketchell shared with me the other day, “We will have collaboration integrated by the beginning of the next school year and hopefully the embedding of other content will be ready sooner than that over the next couple of months. You will be able to embed iframes and resources such as Thinglinks and Google Slides to a timeline!” I’m a happy girl.
- I included uploading files in my chart, however, with GAFE (Google Apps for Education) this feature may not be as necessary as some of the others.
The final grading period is here and Rock the Lab is open for business. All of the K-5 grade level buttons have been flipped over to the new lessons that support the 4th nine weeks grading period. All lessons follow the NEISD scope and sequence. If you are not a teacher within North East, check them out anyway. You might be able to use some of the lessons located in either the current or last 9 weeks. Just click on “9 Weeks” in the main navigation toolbar at the top. I will be working on the rest of the lessons over summer break. Many of the activities require student accounts, so please check out the teacher section of the website for tutorials. Please let me know if you have any questions or need in person assistance.
May the lab be with you.