In most countries educators have been asked to transition their classroom to the cloud, overnight. Most teachers, many now staying at home with their own children, have limited time, skills, and experience using digital tools and collaboration platforms for remote learning.
Creating online learning materials, lessons, and assignments for students does not have to be difficult, time-consuming, or expensive. This post features 10 examples from ThingLink’s Italian educator community, who despite everything, remain the most active, resourceful and creative. These educators are not only creating inspiring examples for online teaching: they are innovating new forms of online education for elementary and secondary schools. Among these pioneers are: Astrid Hulsebosh, David Del Carlo, Annamaria Bove, Ornella Cappucchini, Irene Londino, Romea Canini, Ileana Orsini, and many others who you can connect with in the ThingLink Italia group on Facebook.
1. Explain visuals with text labels
I see a picture of a pyramid, but what am I supposed to pay attention to? Simple annotations help students pay attention to relevant details in images and graphs. In the example below, teacher Irene Londino uses text labels to explains the structure of Egyptian pyramids, and video tags to give more context to the topic.
2. Explain abstract concepts with detailed descriptions
Millions of students have heard about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, but how many can explain the goals in more detail or take action to reach them? Professor Annamaria Bove from 1. Instituto Comprensivo Nocera Inferiore created a valuable resource for her students and turned the famous UN infographic into an interactive resource, explaining each goal in detail and linking to more information.
3. Explain assignments using your voice
If you like to explain assignments to students verbally, but prefer not to make a selfie video for one reason or another, Astrid Hulsebosch, teacher at the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) has a solution for you: just snap a photo of yourself, and use the ThingLink voice recorder to add your instruction to students. In this example. Astrid instructs her students on how to use Flipgrid for their assignment!
4. Art history: Introduce a masterpiece
This a good example of an interactive user-generated learning resource that can be useful for thousands of teachers. In this case, teacher Irene Londino created an introduction to Chagall's White Crucifixion, presenting both information of Marc Chagall as well as explaining details of the painting.
5. Literature: Interpret a masterpiece
In some cases, a teachers devotion to a subject brings out new forms of art. David Del Carlo, docent and teacher trainer at the The Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), is a connoisseur of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. To celebrate the national Dante Alighieri Day, David and his students from the Lorenzini high school created a digital experience of Dante's journey through Hell. Especially now, listening this in Italian, moves you to tears.
6. Read to your students
Many teachers like to read to their students. It can be challenging to keep this up on a video call over unreliable wifi, but there is an solution: you can easily record your reading on an image and send it to students as a link. In this example, high school literature teacher Ileana Orsini from Turin, Italy, created an interactive audio poster lesson introducing her students the life and thinking of the Buddha.
7. Learn vocabulary in new places
There are many ways to take language learning out of the classroom to real-world contexts. In this example, Ornella Cappucchini, German teacher and instructional technology coach at Instituto Comprensivo Rovereto Est, takes her students to a virtual house tour, moving from one room to another highlighting vocabulary in German.
8. Narrate your own virtual lesson
Even if you cannot reach all your students at the same time online, you can simulate an in-person lesson by narrating a digital learning experience, adding additional information and questions along the way using sequential hotspots. Professor Barbara Antoniel from Andrea Scotton Technical Institute in Bassano says: "This is a literature lesson on Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. My objective was to use the flipped classroom method to immerse the student in a process of knowledge discovery through narrative, sound, sensory and visual stimulation." This year, her institute won the innovative digital school prize in their province.
9. Create a virtual field trip with assignment
The next two examples would probably qualify as a new lesson format. Both use 360-degree images to create a multi-sensory learner journey though a physical place, enriched with various resources and tasks for students. In the first example, Maria Dente used Google Street View photos with illustrations, audio notes, text, photos, as well as embedded word completion games to introduce catacombs to 5th graders. The second example is a virtual field trip to a famous hillside estate, Fondazione il Vittoriale, in the town of Gardone Riviera created by professor Annamaria Bove.
10. Ask students to narrate a virtual audio tour
Teachers and students can collaborate remotely in many ways using ThingLink's shared folders. For example, a teacher can add base images to a shared folder, where they can be collaboratively edited by students. In this example, 5th grade students of Romea Canini took turns and used their actual voices to tell the legend of the Republic of San Marino, the oldest and the smallest independent state in the world.
ThingLink tutorials from the Italian educator community:
"ThingLink" by Valeria Pancucci
"Ti presento ThingLink" by Astrid Hulsebosch
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to activate a free ThingLink account for your school for the rest of the school year.