Are you looking to create your own Virtual Tours and Expeditions? Do you need to view tours in Virtual Reality mode? ThingLink is the perfect solution for the task. This post provides you with an overview of ThingLink’s virtual tour creator as well as helpful tips and tricks to create your own immersive experiences.
Over the last 10 years ThingLink has grown to be one of the world’s most popular rich media tech tools for creating visual learning materials and experiences. Over 8 million people have registered a creator account, and over 350 million people are learning with ThingLink every year. In 2016, ThingLink was the first company to make virtual tour creation accessible and affordable for teachers and students.
The popularity of the platform success is down to ever-improving functionality and simplicity. As digital media usage becomes more sophisticated, ThingLink has responded with rich media tags, in-tag controls, enhanced VR player controls, accessibility features and improvements to tour transitions.
This unprecedented year has seen soaring demand in education for both virtual visits and online learning, from K12, through higher education and beyond to professional development. The outstanding examples educators are producing have shown how interactive virtual tours can help meet the changing requirements 2020 has brought. With ThingLink these educators have risen to and gone beyond the challenges.
At every level, context is key in creating content that keeps your learners engaged. Using ThingLink with 360 degree images to create Virtual Tours and Expeditions immediately creates an immersive experience which enhances and reinforces the learning journey. This is all the more important when students are today joining the classroom from diverse separate locations. Adding in their ‘social presence’ to tours, educators have been able to remain connected to their learners.
Lessons from Lockdown: In-context learning with the University of Central Lancashire
When Covid cancelled a medical school’s in-person workshop, ThingLink provided the solution for a realistic scenario where students pieced together individual data to diagnose and create a patient management plan.
Read more about the success of Dr Jones’s approach to enabling her students to not only relate to the realistic content but develop their observational skills.
The built-in security, sharing and simple functionality of ThingLink means that it can also become a collaborative tool for your learners. Students can create their own ThingLink content as a way to present research and information. The clone function easily allows them to edit your example with their own content.
See below and hear how Stirling High School’s pupil-led team introduced students to the school’s new one way system, part of their response to Covid-19.
Icing on the cake! What extra functionality does ThingLink bring?
- Increase accessibility - text in tags can be opened in Microsoft’s Immersive Reader
- Explore and use 360 images from our ready-made library of images and tags
- Embed a huge variety of content types in tags - including videos, GIFS and carousels of images, as well as external apps
- Add your own custom icons for branded or personalised tours
- Add your voice/ other audio directly to other content in the tags in the browser - no need to record on another app.
- Check comprehension or add an additional level of security with conditional transitions between scenes - users can only progress through the tour with the correct answer or password.
- Select your tours to be Private or Unlisted tours - keep sensitive content private or share it with your group, class or organization or make it public and searchable
- Use your 360-degree tours with Virtual Reality VR Headsets such as Google Cardboard.
- Replace your 360 backgrounds! If your image needs to change you can switch them out and tags are retained.
- Share to your Google Classrooms with our designated feature.
Go Further with ThingLink!
Mix up your media. One of the challenges with Virtual Tours and Trips is the access and viewer’s understanding of the layout. The solution is to be able to use a combination of images and 360 media to take the viewer through a journey, from start to finish, for example start with a video or map ThingLink. ThingLink creations can be made from flat images and video, 360 images and even 360 video, with the Tour Tag you can link any combination of ThingLinks, no matter what base media they are. Example here from Midlothian Council in Scotland. Scene Selection and Search Many successful virtual trips start with a map or legend image and then enable the viewer to hop from scene to scene. Click on the square icons to bring up the scene selection.
How to Create a ThingLink
Head over to thinglink.com/edu and create your free teacher account. ThingLink creations start with the blue create button. Click CREATE and then select what kind of content you'd like to upload.
Capturing 360 images for ThingLink
If you don’t already have 360 degree images you want to use, remember you can take your own! You can find a guide on capturing 360 images with your smartphone here. If you have a 360 camera, that's even better! Check out this article on how you might need to convert your photos before you can upload them to ThingLink.
ThingLink and Virtual Reality (VR)
ThingLink 360 degree images and videos can be viewed in virtual reality (VR) mode. This article provides an overview of controls, limitations and certain specifics of creating and viewing ThingLink with VR kit such as Google Cardboard. Sharing ThingLinks to Google Classroom or embedded in a Google Site which can be clicked on to view in VR mode are just a few of many ways to share with a class.
As well as contacting us if you have any questions, please join our communities and connect with ThingLink Educators. We are incredibly proud of our groups, how they embrace ideas and share, they will only be too pleased to welcome you.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org