20 Ways to Use ThingLink in Education

When I first learned about ThingLink late last summer, I was immediately impressed. My mind started racing about all the ways that ThingLink could be used by teachers, students and even beyond the classroom. If you’re not familiar with ThingLink, it makes images interactive. How do you make an image interactive? You upload a still image to ThingLink, and then you can add little icons on top of the image. Those icons become hyperlinks to other web media- websites, articles, videos, sound clips, and much more. Not only can you link to external content, but students can type their own responses onto an icon. I’ve embedded a ThingLink featured example by Molly below, so you can see it in action.

Now tell me that isn’t AWESOME?!

So, now that you’re hooked, what are some of the ways you could use ThingLink in your classroom? I’ve just included the tip of the iceberg below; the ideas are truly endless.

  1. Have students create one for a summative assessment in place of a typical test.
  2. Use a book cover image and have students include links about the book, characters, plot, etc. for an end of book project.
  3. Use the image of a map, and include links with information about the area, like this one, or this one, or this one.
  4. Use an image of a person or character and include links about their life and their important contributions to history or the topic being covered.
  5. Include an image of a body system and include links about how it works. For example, the skeletal system.
  6. Foreign language teachers (or ESL/ELL classrooms) could use an image of a familiar scene, like a family cooking in the kitchen, and include links to recorded sound clips about what’s going on in each part of the picture in the language being studied.
  7. Create a “getting to know you” ThingLink using a group photo and include links to teacher’s websites, bios about seniors for senior night, etc.
  8. Use it as a beginning of the year/course ice breaker by having students upload a picture of themselves and including links to content that describes them and things they like. Students can comment on one another’s published ThingLinks.
  9. Search the database of ThingLinks others have created and shared to see if there’s already something out there you can use.
  10. Create an entire lesson in one ThingLink, by including links to sound clip instructions, video content and links to assignments or quizzes.  See a great example here.
  11. Use the image of a book cover and include a video link to the book trailer to preview the book before reading it.
  12. Scan and upload an image of a worksheet, and include links to videos and websites that will help them solve the problems/answer the questions if they get stuck.
  13. Have students create a portfolio by linking to their work in all other webtools you use in class: blog posts, videos they created, scanned images or pictures of non-digital work.
  14. Depending on how big your school is, you could create and upload a map of your school. Then include a link over each classroom to information about that teacher, like their Twitter handle, class website, class LMS page(s), a written bio right in ThingLink, a recorded welcome sound clip from that teacher, etc.
  15. Create an image collage, upload it to ThingLink and then include links about each image. For example, you could create a collage of different geographic land forms like this one.
  16. Upload a picture of the periodic table of elements and include a link to a video or information about each element (or the ones you’re studying at the time). Sort of like the Periodic Videos site.
  17. Include links to videos demonstrating how to preform certain skills, like this push up example.
  18. Upload an image of your school and include links to information and videos about your school: clubs and activities you offer, your mission statement, academic offerings, promotional videos, and more. Then embed it on your school’s website!
  19. Put a twist on Friday’s current events discussion by asking students to not only find an article, but find an image that relates to their chosen event/topic, upload it to ThingLink, include a link to the original article as well as other links, videos, etc. that relate to the article and what you’re studying in class. You could even ask the students to include a link to an audio recording of themselves discussing their current event.
  20. Create instructions for a new website, device, or process like this one.

One of the things I like the most about this tool, is that no matter the project or access to technology, you can incorporate ThingLink into your class. You, as the teacher, could create one that students will use to preview/review information or complete an assignment. Students could work in groups or on their own to create one, depending on their access to technology and devices inside and outside of the classroom. If you have very little access to technology in your classroom and you still want students to create their own, you could assign individual students or groups pieces of the project to research and prepare. Then have the groups take turns adding their links to the full class ThingLink image. As you can see with how all over the board these ideas are, there are so many ways you could use this tool in an educational environment.

How are you using ThingLink with your students and in your schools? If you’re using it, please share a link to an example in the comments.

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

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E-waste Recycling Poster Contest for #Digcit Day

As part of our school-wide Digital Citizenship Day on February 24th, all science classes had a research/poster contest (special thanks to one of our science teachers-Lauren Wulker- for the idea!).  The students were given a reading prompt and some guiding questions over the weekend and returned to DigCit day on Monday to talk about responsible disposal and recycling of electronic waste. The end goal is that the top poster(s) will be displayed somewhere in the building with a place to recycle electronic products like batteries and cell phones.

ewaste digcit contest

Students were able to team up with a couple of their classmates or work alone on their posters.  They were also allowed to create a poster on any material they wanted- poster board, electronic, etc.  Most chose to create theirs on an actual poster board or paper.  They were displayed in the library and teachers came in Tuesday and Wednesday to vote on their top three favorites.

I was so impressed by the results!  The following pictures are just the top 4-5 posters from each teachers’ classes.

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The top three winning teams received a pizza lunch from LaRosa’s.  And the winners are…(drum roll please)…

How do you promote the responsible disposal and recycling of electronic waste is your school?

Tech To You Later!
Katie

Backwards EdTech Flow Chart

I’m a very visual person, so naturally I’m drawn to charts, diagrams and anything that I can look at and understand.  I’ve made a couple other charts to help people pick technology tools based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and web tools by category.  I’m particularly proud of this new chart that I’ve been working on for quite some time!

Backwards EdTech Flow Chart

Click this image for the full version!

I truly believe technology enhances the classroom, but I never think it should be used just for the sake of using it.  This is another visual I created to help teachers select the right technology tool for the job. I hope it helps you think backwards (or rather the “right” way) to think about selecting a technology tool to use in your class.

It starts by asking what you want students to do, and then you pick a goal, such as explain a concept.  Follow the diagram until you either reach a list of tech tools to help you or your students complete this task or you reach a prompting question, such as “do you need them to do this verbally?” Based on your yes or no answer, you’ll finally come to a list of edtech tools.  All the tools found on the web are hyperlinked.

If you’re not a visual person like myself, scroll to the second page that is just a list of the goals  and all the corresponding links (no prompting questions).

For this, the Bloom’s and the web 2.0 by category chart, visit my website!

What tools or goals would you add to the chart?

Tech To You Later!
Katie

Collaboration in the Classroom: Teacher PD

The second session of my Lunch & Learn series took place today.  It was the session I was most looking forward to in the whole series- Collaboration in the Classroom: Tools for Student Collaboration!  This session focused on Google Docs, Linoit, Skype and Wikispaces.

As always, I began with a pre-survey of teachers’ current use.  I asked for three pieces of information to plan the 50 minute sessions.

  1. Describe what collaboration looks like in your classroom.student collaboration
  2. What tools do you currently use for student collaboration?
  3. What do you hope to get out of this session?

I made word clouds in Tagxedo out of the first two questions, which I included in the Prezi for the session to share their responses.

collaboration in the classroom teacher pdBased on feedback from the first session, I wanted this session to allow more time for teachers to get their hands dirty and use the tools.  So I started out with a brief introduction, and then had them dive right in!  I had Tablet PCs set up all around tables, each labeled with the tool set up and signed in on that machine.  Beforehand, I had created multiple accounts to be used during this session (three accounts for Google Docs to simulate three students, etc.), so we didn’t have to waste time creating accounts, logging in, and getting set up.

Teachers had about 20-25 minutes to explore the tool in front of them with a few other people in their group (“tasks” for each tool are listed at the bottom of this post under each tool). I walked around to help groups when needed, but for the most part teachers were really able to just dive right in and start exploring. There was even a person across the library, so the Skype group could actually practice Skyping.

We came together for the last 15 minutes of the session, and I asked each group to share what they had found out about their tool.  I filled in the blanks to make sure the big points were touched on.  If I had more time I definitely would have rotated each group, so they could have all tested each tool before coming back together to share.  So far, the post-survey responses seem to be in agreement that teachers would have liked more time on this topic and they all learned something they will apply to their classes- YAY! I heard a lot of “let’s meet to set this up for my class…,” which is music to my ears!

I provided resources for each tool in our PD Course in Schoology for reference at a later time.  I’ve included some of that info below (with the exception of links to our practice examples).  I also gave teachers all the test account log in information, so they could play around with it on their own if they wanted to do so before diving in and setting up their own accounts.

Google Docs
What to do:

  • Edit the email document
    • Use the chat feature
  • Add info to spreadsheet
    • Find sum and average years of teaching experience
  • Add a slide to a presentation
    • Make a comment on a slide
  • Create new Google Doc
    • Share it

Google Drive home
Google Docs in Plain English
Google Docs Tour
Tips Every Teacher Should Know About
Google Drive/Docs Help
Sync Google Docs with Schoology

Linoit
What to do:

  • Post idea for using Linoit with students or coworkers
  • Send post by email
  • Post a picture or video

Linoit Home
Sign Up for Linoit
Linoit How To
Tips, Tricks & Ideas for the Classroom
50 Ways to Use Linoit in the Classroom

Skype
What to do:

  • Video call other Skype Team
  • Do a Mystery Skype
    • Use the location in the Mystery Skype folder to answer questions
  • Find a lesson or guest speaker from the Skype in Edu website you could use/bring to your class

Skype in Education
How Do I Join Skype?
Download Skype
See Skype in Action
50 Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

Wikispaces
What to do:

  • Participate in the discussion on the home page
  • Access team page and add to the table
  • Make a new team page
    • Add “Widget” to new page
  • Edit About McN page
    • Add a fact
    • Make a comment

Wikispaces Home
Wikis in Plain English
50 Ways to Use Wikis
Wikispaces Help
Getting Started with a New Wiki

To check out the Prezi that describes and highlights each tool, click here.

What do you think of this format?  How have you used these tools in your class?

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

Bloom’s Revised Technology Taxonomy

Working in a 1:1 tablet PC school, I am always trying to help teachers find new tech tools to use in their classrooms and enhance their (already great) lessons.  I stumbled upon some great resources, which inspired me to create my own chart of tech tools/web 2.0 verbs based on Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy levels.

My chart includes some software/programs that are loaded on students’ tablets; it is not limited to only web 2.0 tools. A few great resources I used to help compile my chart include Web 2.0 How-To for Educators by Gwen Solomon and Lynne SchrumPhillippa Cleaves’ Prezi, and my personal favorite: Kathy Schrock’s Bloomin’ Apps.  If you’re an iOS school or an Android school, make sure you check out Schrock’s guides!

Blooms Taxonomy Apps

At our faculty meeting this afternoon, I plan to break everyone up into six groups (one for each of the taxonomy levels). Groups will be given five to ten minutes to investigate one of the tools on their assigned taxonomy level.  Afterward, each group will summarize the tool and how it could be used in the classroom for the entire group. I plan to write a follow up post about how the PD session with faculty went over.

Download my Blooms Tax Apps chart with clickable links.

Tech to You Later!

-Katie

Play on Pawn Stars: Classroom Activity

For my first idea post, I’ll go back to my roots: Social Studies.  This idea was inspired by the popular History Channel series, Pawn Stars.

If you’ve never seen the show, I invite you to check it out.  It’s about a family in Las Vegas who owns and runs a pawn shop. Aside from the family rivalry humor, the show frequently pulls in field experts to analyze pawn-hopeful’s items. Each expert gives a brief history about how the item played a role in the time period it is from. You’re getting a lot of information without realizing you’re getting a history lesson. See the short video clip below. 

 

This could be a great concept for students to model in any given history unit before, in the middle, or after the unit has been covered.  Pair students in groups of two to three. The teacher could assign an object, or the students could each pick a different item after doing some research on the time period being studied. 

Students could re-create the item as an art project, or simply use a mock item or drawing in the real item’s place. Once the item has been determined and created, students would then film their own three to five minute video clip modeled after Pawn Stars. An “expert” will arrive at the scene to describe the item in more detail, while tying it in with topics and events that were covered (or to be covered) throughout the history unit. 

 

“Making history come alive in the classroom can be a challenge, but creating video documentaries encourages students to learn about the past.”

Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum in Web 2.0 How -To for Educators

This activity hits many, if not all, levels of Blooms Taxonomy. Students must analyze and evaluate which item(s) from the given time period had significance to the outcome of events, the value of the item today, remember facts about the item and the time period/event, create their own version of the item and a video, understand a series of events or the role the given item played, and apply the knowledge they’ve gained to the final production they create. 

If you want, you can even post the videos to a class website, YouTube, TeacherTube, or any other video sharing site. Let parents and others within the school see the fabulous work your students created.

If you do this activity, or some other rendition of it, please share your video links in the comments section of this blog post- I’d love to see some final products!

Tech To You Later!

-Katie