Sunday, March 31, 2019

8th Grader, Paige, Sharing The Story Of Her Grandpa With Virtual Reality, ThingLink and MERGE

Last week, we rolled out our new AR/VR program at Van Meter with over 100 new MERGE headsets and cubes.  It was an awesome day. I will share this experience and logistics of our program in the next blog post. 

At the end of the day, one of our 8th grades, Paige, came and found me asking for help.  She wanted to do a virtual reality project about her grandpa who had been in the Vietnam War. She has old photographs, letters and even a newspaper article about how he won a Purple Heart. 

After talking with Paige about her vision for the project, I suggested that we look into.... 

According to the site, ThingLink’s image interaction technology helps students become fluent in using digital media to express themselves and demonstrate their learning. With ThingLink, teachers and students can easily create interactive infographics, maps, drawings, and engaging 360 documentaries in a classroom setting, at home, or on field trips.

ThingLink is one of my favorite digital tools and apps. I have used ThingLink a lot with students, but never have used 360 images in the virtual reality mode.  I recently learned about this and was excited to give it a try, learning along with Paige. 
She took the idea home, along with a few pointers and ideas, and created an awesome project sharing the story about her grandpa using ThingLink. 

You can use your curser in this post to look around Paige's ThingLink.  Paige's project here, at this link too.  
When you click on the different numbers, you will see that she added all of the various artifacts she had collected about his time in Vietnam.  I love how she included a letter to her grandmother, 
a photograph of him, 
a newspaper article and a few other things. It meant a lot to her to be able to put this digital story together using ThingLink. 
Later that day, Paige and her classmates got together to share their projects.  She had checked out MERGE headsets from the library and had them all ready to go for them to put on to view her ThingLink project. 
It was so neat seeing Paige present her story in such a special way.  
Paige shared, 

I felt that this project really helped me to express my creativity, MERGE headsets were a super cool and fun way that I was able to present my project. I felt very excited while creating this project because no one I know has done this before. Overall it was fun to make and MERGE was a great way to have my classmates stay interested and interact with my project. 

Way to go, Paige!  I can't wait to see what you do next with this and other augmented and virtual reality experiences and projects.  And I can't wait for you to teach others at Van Meter about using ThinkLink and virtual reality too. 

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