Awesome Features But Needs More
Community Review for VR Lessons by ThingLink
My overall opinion about this project as a teaching tool is that, as a tool, it is great for student interaction because of the variety of medias you can imbed in the links, in addition to the fact that students have to get up and turn around to get the full 360 degree view. In terms of usability, however, it is not yet very flexible because of the limited number of settings they have to offer in addition to the fact that you cannot add your own lessons. This app could definitely stand to add a wider variety of destinations and allow educators to create and add their own lessons and destinations. As an educator who has a lot of curriculum to cover, it would definitely be beneficial for me to incorporate the VR Lessons by Thinglink app in a way that addresses what I am already teaching. I would also be a bit more forgiving if the app didn't cost $4.99. With a somewhat steep app price, there should be more than 19 destinations. I would not recommend this app just yet, but depending on how many destinations they add to the app, I probably would a little farther down the road.
How I Use It
You would use this product in your teaching to give students 3D experiences of places you would not typically be able to take them. You cannot, however, create your own lessons with your own 360 or panoramic pictures. For that, you would have to pay for the most expensive Thinglink membership and do this through their regular site.
What worked with this app for my class was the easy to use, interactive interface. All students have to do is select a place to go. For example, they could choose to explore Alcatraz Island. Once they choose a destination, they hit "play" and from there on can interact with a 360 degree view of the island. Within the panoramic image are imbedded links to web pages, videos, and more images. Students can simply click on each link to view the information. The great thing about this feature is that audio can also be imbedded in the links which reads what is written there for students who struggle with reading.
What didn't work for me, as a teacher, was the fact that I could not add my own lessons to the app. Additionally, due to the app being almost brand new, there are a very limited number of lessons. As someone who wanted to use this app to expand the experiences of my students, especially during social studies, I did not feel like there were enough options. I assume that as the app becomes more popular, they will add a wider variety of destinations.
Here are the "places" you can take your students, so far, using this app:
The Great Wall of China
An Arctic Habitat
A Yellow Submarine
A Helicopter Ride
Coniferous Forest in Winter