ThingLink launches Virtual Reality Lessons App For Education

We are excited to launch VR Lessons, our first virtual reality content app. The app is designed for elementary school students, their teachers and parents.

A SK12 Free Google Day of Learning!

Simple K12 is hosting a free online Google Event on Saturday April 23rd starting at 10:00 am EDT. This day of webinars promises to be filled with great ideas for using Google for teaching and learning. It will be a great day packed with amazing educators eager to learn and share, some in their PJ's! 

Digital writing with Google Docs has been one of my favorite teaching strategies for a long time,  so I am excited to be hosting a session to help educators Improve Writing Skills with Google DocsLearn more about this webinar and sign up on Simple

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!

EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit is Here!

I'm looking forward to presenting at the EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit in San Diego on Tuesday of this week. The conference promises to bring together talented educators who are trailblazers. This sounds amazing to me and I eagerly await the opportunity to learn, grow and connect with educators at this EdTech event! 

Explore a Powerful ESL Project

This week when I met with a talented colleague, Deanna Otten, to collaborate and design a lesson for her ESL students, we hit the jackpot! 

Deanna shared a video project she was working on in which students created iMovies on an iPad to narrate stories and share experiences they had over winter break. As you will see, each of the students did a fantastic job of writing, illustrating and narrating their short stories, and Deanna put the work together to create a delightful iMovie. We both agreed that the next step would be publishing.

3 Ways to Embrace ThingLink EDU in the New Year

Happy New Year to All!
ThingLink EDU has continued to grow in 2015 to include more than 1,000,000 edu users. Along the way we’ve developed some pretty great ways to use our amazing tool to transform teaching and learning. Please explore 3 Ways to Embrace ThingLink EDU in the New Year. We hope you will get inspired to try one of these ideas in the classroom this year!  Read more on the ThingLink Blog for Education.

Kicking off the New Year with Design Thinking

Over the course of the past 7 years I've been weaving a web of digital tools to support teaching and learning, and that work is documented on this blog

I began my journey into the use of digital tools for teaching and learning through blogging in March, 2009 and have thoroughly explored a substantial number of tools along the way. I've added the most flexible tools to my own digital toolkit, which has grown into a collection of tools capable of supporting powerful learning experiences. As I reflect on this learning journey, my mantra remains the same, I Blog to Learn! 

Seasons Greetings ThingLink Style

Explore this amazing NASA Photo of the Day that has been annotated with rich media tags to help you learn more about Christmas Pluto. 

Happy Holidays and Happy Tagging!

Design Thinking for Communication

I've created an interactive image to introduce a method for combining the best features of popular apps to embrace visual literacy, powered by an iPad.

ThingLink Live & On Demand: Digital Differentiation

Many years ago I began building a digital toolkit of resources for using technology as a tool for differentiated learning. At that time I was lucky to discover ThingLink as well. My toolkit quickly grew into a powerful model that has remained current and useful over time.