ThingLink's remote learning tips and Q&A for Microsoft Office users

Posted by Ulla-Maaria Koivula on Mar 10, 2020 6:48:08 PM
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Interactive videos, posters and virtual tours can be powerful instructional tools that help teachers and students work together remotely using not only text-based communication, but also voice, video, and images. 

This Q&A summarizes how Office 365 schools and campuses can integrate ThingLink to new routines and best practices for distance learning.

What does ThingLink offer for Office 365 users? 

ThingLink is a visual learning platform for schools and campuses that supports blended and remote learning practices improving accessibility and quality of learning materials. Our main offering for educational organizations consists of three main components: 

1. An easy authoring tool for creating visual, accessible learning materials including interactive videos, posters, and virtual tours.

2. A secure user authentication framework using Microsoft logins.

3. A scalable, secure hosting environment on Azure with an option to connect to customer's own cloud service account.

See below an example of a Microsoft Teams image annotated with the different Office 365 resources.

How does ThingLink support remote learning?

Educators can easily and quickly annotate instructional videos, screenshots or posters with hotspots containing further information, audio notes, links, questionnaires, video and other resources from the web.  For example,  as a teacher you can record a video lesson or create a virtual tour, upload it on ThingLink, and use the ThingLink editor to highlight key concepts and vocabulary with text notes, photos, and links.

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Students can use ThingLink to document their projects and assignments using multiple forms of media (text, audio, images, video). For example, students can keep a study journal by taking photos of their work, and record audio notes to reflect their observations and progress.

How does ThingLink and Teams help me work with students who have accessibility requirements?

Hearing the teacher repeat instructions for assignments is important for many students. Using ThingLink, teachers can record voice notes to several areas in an image, a screenshot, or a poster. The image with voice notes can be shared to students via a Teams Channel or as a Teams assignment.

ThingLink also supports Immersive Reader. This means all text descriptions in images, virtual tours, infographics, and videos created come with an integrated reading tool and automatic language translation capability.

The immersive reader icon appears automatically in the upper right corner of a text tag. 

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What's the best way to get ThingLink? Do I need to involve a principle or superintendent? 

If your school already uses Office 365, we recommend signing up to ThingLink via Microsoft Teams.  ThingLink education account is free for individual teachers, and new users signing up via Teams automatically get a 14-day free trial of the Premium Classroom account. 

1. Find ThingLink from the Teams store.

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2. Sign up using your Microsoft login.

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If you are a school principal or a district official looking to purchase several ThingLink Classroom licenses, you can visit AppSource, Azure Marketplace, or contact us at education@thinglink.com  to activate an organization account with further administration and collaboration features.  

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Do you have a support library or other materials that help educators explore ThingLink features? 

Welcome to ThingLink is a shared PowerPoint that can be used to introduce ThingLink features and use cases to colleagues. ThingLink support library contains articles about the different features and integrations with other services.  You can also search content made by other teachers by typing keywords in the search box. For example, Roger Gunn and Robert Deemer have created wonderful collections of composers linking to a YouTube video of their music and a Wikipedia page.

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Other helpful resources:

Using ThingLink with Microsoft Teams (support article)

10 ways to support learning with ThingLink and Teams (video)

ThingLink Education Community on Facebook 

Topics: distance learning, remote learning, Office 365, Microsoft Teams

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