Thinglink for Educators

Thinglink is a free, easy to use online tool that allows you to make any graphic or photo interactive. Create multiple hot spots on specific parts of your image that link to a website, video, music, text, or audio file. Thinglink education accounts lets teachers and students store an unlimited number of images. ThingLink works on all modern web browsers as well as iPad, iPhone and Android.

Follow the directions below to create a free educators account for you and your students.

 

Once accounts have been created and you have printed the initial log in credentials provided by Thinglink, you can go in and change the username and passwords of each student to match their Google Drive credentials. Older students should be able to do this step by themselves.

 

Below is a slideshow with examples of how Thinglink can be used to support classroom instruction. Click on the arrows to advance through the presentation. Additional resources can be found at the bottom of the page.

Additional Resources:

What Will You Create Today?

The biggest obstacle teachers face when trying to integrate technology is time. There aren’t very many opportunities during the day to explore new tools, think of ways to use them with the curriculum, or actually sit down to write a comprehensive lesson plan. Plus, the implementation of Standard V just adds to the already existing high levels of stress. Fortunately, higher levels of technology integration promote student choice, which means less planning on the part of the teacher. Over the summer, I worked on some computer lab posters that will help guide students in choosing the right tool for their project, and support teachers in their efforts for easier ways to integrate. I chose the theme of a graphic novel (created using Comic Life) to bring a little adventure into the computer lab. The first poster is attached to the door of the lab and asks, “What will you create today?” This represents the cover of the graphic novel. When they enter, each page of the novel gives them ideas and tools to use to accomplish their task. I encourage all teachers to bring their mobile devices to the lab each week, as adding the component of a camera adds to the diversity of projects students have as options. 

Many teachers may find this amount of freedom somewhat daunting, especially if they are unfamiliar with how to use the software, web tool or app. This provides the perfect opportunity to bring collaboration into your lessons. Allow students to work together to figure out how the tools work, and then let them teach the rest of the class. You can also utilize a QR code tutorial section where students can view videos for quick instructions. I’ve included a link below to the PDF version of the posters. There are some that are very NEISD specific, but hopefully they will inspire you to create more personalized versions for your own students. I’ve also included directions for printing them poster size.

printing poster

Thinglink Teacher Challenge 2014

One of my favorite parts about summer is the opportunity to focus on my own professional growth. Last year, I participated in the Mapping with Google Online Course. This year, I chose to learn more about one of my favorite tools, Thinglink. Susan Oxnevad (@soxnevad) facilitated a 9 week challenge for teachers to learn to use interactive images to redefine learning in the classroom. This was a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge of this platform, learn new tools to use in conjunction with Thinglink, and connect and share with educators from all over the world.

Each challenge combined the curriculum with either a digital tool or a new way of using Thinglink. I was fortunate to try out Thinglink Video, a similar platform that allows you to tag video with digital content, making the viewing experience interactive. I also learned how to use tools such as Audioboo and Polldaddy to enhance an interactive image.

The final challenge was to create a channel of all the projects created over the summer. The free version of Thinglink does not allow you to embed channels, so I’ve created a Thinglink of my Thinglinks. You can see the full channel here.

Below are links to each challenge. It will walk you through the steps to create your own interactive interpretations for each topic. Click here to view the entire Thinglink Teacher Challenge showcase.

Intro: 3 Reasons to Take the ThingLink Teacher Challenge
Week 1: Get Started
Week 2: Design Your Digital Self
Week 3: Digging Deeper Into Vocabulary
Week 4: Create an Interactive Map
Week 5: Flip It with ThingLink for Video
Week 6: ThingLink UnPlugged to Extend the Classroom Walls
Week 7: Turn it Up a Notch with Sound
Week 8: Engage Students in Informed Decision Making
Week 9: Create a Portfolio Channel

Making Posters Interactive With Aurasma

 

The days of student created posters using text and images alone are well in the past. We all know there is no such thing as the perfect app, which is why app smashing has become essential to the creation process. The same can be said for devices. Many tasks are more suited for a web-based tool, whereas others are perfect for the iPad. This year, one of my goals is to get teachers to bring their iPads to the computer lab so that students have the opportunity to “Device-smash” – using more than one device to create a student product. The above project is an example of such a task. The poster itself was created with Lucidpress, a web-based Google app similar to Publisher. Videos can be created on the iPad and then Auras (Using Aurasma) can be created by holding the iPad up to the computer screen to capture the trigger image from the poster. Interactivity is indicated in the lower corner of each image to let the viewer know which app to use for scanning. QR codes can also be used to combine additional projects such as Haiku Deck slideshows, which can be created on the web or on an iPad. The final product is not only an interactive digital poster that can be embedded on a website, but an interactive poster that can be printed and displayed on a bulletin board in the hallway. 

Richard Wells, author of iPad 4 Schools, created some beautiful guides that walk you through making an aura using Aurasma. For additional ideas on making your classroom interactive, visit the Interactive Classroom Experience.

i4s-appsmashing-004school-aurasma

Tool of the Summer: Bulb

I’ve been a busy little bee this summer creating PD classes for the new school year. One of the tools I’m using to gather my resources is Bulb. Oh, how I love this site! Bulb allows you to organize content into collections, making it very easy for the user to separate content into different sections. I like it because you are not overwhelming the participant with lots of information at one time. This also makes the perfect tool for flipping lessons or collecting work for student portfolios. You can learn how to get started by visiting their Bulb for Teachers and Students.

I’ve seen many differentiated resources on the Internet lately and decided to make one for an App Smashes and Flows class I will be teaching in August. I created a Bulb with 6 different sections. The idea is to introduce the concept of App Smashes and Flows, explain the differences between the two, and then allow the participants to choose their tasks based on their comfort level with the iPad. Bulb is the perfect tool for this purpose. 

app smash and flow

I’m not the only NEISD fan of Bulb. Sue Carlson, NEISD Instructional Technology Specialist, also used Bulb to curate her resources for our district’s What’s New in Office 2013? professional development course. Sue was able to create separate pages for each of the different software titles within the Office Suite. Participants are able to return to her Bulb for quick reminders, if needed.

Capture
Check out some of my other PD courses I’ve created using Bulb:

Narrated Digital Drawings

It’s that time of year again when teachers and students are reflecting on the learning and growth that has occurred over the past year. One way to share learning experiences is to create a narrated digital drawing. There are several tools out there to help you accomplish this. If you are looking for a web-based tool to use in the lab, abcya has a nice paint tool that doesn’t require a login, which is perfect for elementary. There are several iPad apps that can also be used during stations time such as Drawing Free or Drawing Box. Once students have completed their drawing, it can be saved to the camera roll or exported as a jpeg to your class Dropbox account. Apps such as Fotobabble, Adobe Voice, or Videolicious can be used to record the narration that describes the drawing. Below you will find an example of a narrated digital drawing of the water cycle. I used the abcya paint tool and Fotobabble. I chose Fotobabble for its simplicity and embeddable function. This is a great way for students to reflect on learning and a wonderful keepsake for parents.

Using Padlet to Collect Student Products

Mrs. Seddighzadeh’s, 1st grade teacher at Canyon Ridge Elementary in San Antonio,  recently had her students complete a descriptive writing project using a combination of tools. After reading Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak, she had her students design their own “wild things” using buildyourwildself.com. This is a free website from the New York Zoo Aquarium group. Students can create models of themselves in a very artistic storybook style and add cool monster features such as claws, fangs, or dragon wings. Once their artistic masterpieces were complete, students were tasked with writing their own descriptive paragraph using long and short sentences. Mrs. Seddighzadeh then used Padlet as a way for them to submit their work. You can view the full size wall by clicking here.

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 7.30.34 AM

Here are some additional examples of how to use Padlet to support classroom instruction. The video at the end of the post will demonstrate how to create your own wall. If you have a great example of using Padlet, I’d love to see it. Please leave a link in the comment section below.

padlet-ideas

App Flows Template via Graphite

I have been obsessed over the past few months with the concept of app-smashing, the process of using, or “smashing”, different apps together to complete tasks and create rich student products. Organizing the way in which I present an app smash to teachers is something I have been struggling with, so I was thrilled when I stumbled upon Graphite’s App Flow Template and lesson bank. Kelly Mendoza does an excellent job of comparing app flows and app smashing in her post on Graphite,

If you’re already using App Flows, our interactive lesson-planning template on Graphite, you might be curious how app smashing and App Flows compare. Both approaches move away from being singularly app- or tool-centric. Instead, both highlight how apps can be used in conjunction with one another to reach an objective or complete a task. However, it seems that app smashing centers on transforming student projects to be rich media creations, whereas an App Flow is a broader framework for instructional planning. App Flows include pedagogical insight, allowing you to focus on incorporating a variety of digital media tools, including subject-specific ones, throughout lesson. Both of these concepts truly encourage the seamless use of technology to meet chosen learning objectives. The possibilities are endless!

The image below shows how this framework is organized. The tool used in each part of the framework can be an app, web based tool, or just a simple discussion to clarify concepts. It truly demonstrates seamless integration and is a nice way for teachers that are uncomfortable using technology to experiment with a few tools at a time. Check out the flows that are already in the database and try creating one of your own.

app-flows-landing