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ThingLink helps Studeo Diversify its Interactive Learning Materials

Kyla Ball

Finnish e-learning publisher Studeo has created a rich set of learning materials for school students. They combine quality content and pedagogical solutions, using the best of learning technology. The versatile e-learning environment incorporates ThingLink to create interactive images. Maps and timelines are made more vivid by adding tags containing information about different cities, videos or soundscapes from around the world. Students are given the chance to revise and test their learning by playing escape room challenges.

Studeo – supporting learning

Studeo is a Finnish publisher of e-learning materials, founded in 2013. The company publishes learning materials across almost all subjects from primary school to upper secondary school. Studeo’s learning materials are used by over 80,000 students in over 90% of Finnish upper secondary schools. Around 200 teachers and textbook authors are involved in creating the materials. 

Studeo’s Publishing Director Sanna Sillankorva and Publishing Manager Jessica Salminen-Saari are responsible for content development and lead the content production team. Both are qualified teachers – Sanna in literature and Finnish, Jessica in maths, physics and psychology.

They both appreciate that the digitalisation of schools has been a challenge for many teachers. Studeo aims to ease this transition by making digital materials as accessible and user-friendly as possible. Their approach is to design solutions with pedagogy and their users (teachers and students) constantly in mind. Studeo resources are created from the ground up, focussing on pedagogical solutions that combine the best of technology and quality teaching materials to create new ways of using and accessing content.

Studeo's evaluation view
Screenshots of Studeo’s Evaluation View

Building interactive content with ThingLink

Studeo’s learning materials make use of a variety of digital applications and platforms that enrich the learning materials. They have used ThingLink to create interactive images, escape games, and other resources.

Interactive images provide a solution when teachers need to create images that are clear and easy to read, but still contain enough information. The Finnish Literature timeline in the Studeo Literature teaching resources is a great example of such a successful solution. The picture itself is clear, visually appealing and provides the student with an overview of the subject. The ThingLink tags allow the student to explore the timeline in more detail and find background information and examples. It is clear to students that they can find additional information directly in the image, in the correct context. Sanna and Jessica say that students have given positive feedback on the timeline.

The Finnish Literature Timeline is an interactive image that provides the user with additional information by clicking on the tags (Learning material: Finnish Literature Timeline, Native Language and Literature 9).

Studeo has also made use of ThingLink transitions to create a whole world around the skills students have learned. In Jessica’s upper secondary school Advanced Maths escape game, students get to test their skills with an engaging game. In the story, a zombie virus has invaded Finland and the main character, Samina, goes on the run. The story unfolds by solving mathematical problems. For example, the harbour gate shown in the picture below opens when the user has calculated the equations correctly. Jessica says that the game is primarily designed to motivate students to review what they have learned and to combine and apply their knowledge through a challenge.

In the upper secondary school advanced math Escape Game, students progress by solving challenges while reviewing what they have learned (Study material: MAA5 Functions and Equations 2, multiplication tables)

The escape game is built using ThingLink’s new Scenario Builder, which allows content creators to create branching stories that unfold based on player choices. Jessica says that creating the game was very straightforward and that the new visual interface makes the content creator’s job much easier. A webinar for teachers at Studeo on the use of the escape game as a teaching tool has been held and the game has been very well received. The game is already being used in a few secondary schools and will be rolled out more widely in the autumn.

The interactive images can also be accompanied by sound, which has been useful for creating a vocabulary for learning Swedish, for example. The student can listen to the Swedish pronunciation instructions in the vocabulary, where image, text and audio work together to support learning. You can listen to the pronunciation as many times as you like and seeing the picture and spelling while listening supports your memory. The students have really enjoyed these challenges.

You can listen to the words in the picture vocabulary, which supports learning. (Learning material: picture vocabulary, Sweden 7: Tillsammans mot framtiden)

At Studeo, ThingLink has also been used in interactive maps, for example, where students can explore US cities in more detail by clicking on tags. 

Students will learn more about cities by studying the tags. (Learning material: interactive map (English 7: Sparks). 

Positive feedback and further opportunities 

Sanna and Jessica report that ThingLink has been a well liked interactive addition to the learning materials. Textbook authors have appreciated the ability to use tags to add additional information directly to the images. Teachers and students have also given positive feedback, as the interactive images activate and engage the learner. They can reflect and recall what they have learned and then use the clues hidden in the tags to check whether they have remembered the correct pronunciation of words, for example. Multichannel learning is also supported by the ability to combine images, text, audio and video.

“ThingLink images are a great way to present information. The image can hide something: the student can first reflect on the image itself and then look for more information.”

Sanna Sillankorva and Jessica Salminen-Saari, Studeo

Jessica also notes that ThingLink’s interface has become clearer over the years and that it is easy to create different worlds with the scenario builder. The ability to create content seamlessly has therefore inspired the Studeo employees to think of new ways ThingLink could be used in the future. 

Using the conditional transitions tool, map images could serve as a gateway to entire virtual worlds: for example, clicking on the city of San Francisco could take you to visit the city, see the sights, listen to local guides introducing the city, or even practice ordering at a local café. The scenario builder could be used to create more game-like stories that unfold based on the choices made by the learner. For example, the user could decide what the main character in the story would say next in a café conversation, then see how this would affect the reply.  

Combining ThingLink into Studeo’s educational resources creates a huge range of pedagogical possibilities, across different subjects. We look forward to seeing Studeo’s future learning materials, which will allow students to explore the content in a really immersive way!

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