Interactive Images bring Learning to Life
As with most digital tools, it's all in how you use it that determines how it affects the overall learning in your classroom. More teacher-centered uses of a tool tend to require lower-level thinking while student-centered activities require more higher-level thinking. The power with Thinglink comes from putting it into the students hands. What I like the most about Thinglink is the ease of use. It won't take any time for you or your students to create one and share. This allows you and your students to focus more on content and less on the technology. The free version of Thinglink is enough. If you don't have time to create your own Thinglink for your students, search the already-created ones because you will most likely find something that is perfect. If it's not, you can quickly edit it to suit your students' needs. I also like the fact that you can help students better understand a concept by including various and multiple representations of it (an article, a video, sounds, etc.) all to aid in deeper learning. With 360-degree images becoming so popular now, Thinglink now has the ability to upload those types of images that truly brings learning to life. Take students to places that they've never been with the use of this feature.
How I Use It
There are so many uses for Thinglink. Essentially you can take an image and make it interactive. You can make this a teacher-centered activity or better yet, a student-centered activity. I have used this with younger grades as a landing page to start the research process during our unit study on plants. Students were presented with the question, "Could we live without plants?" They used my teacher-created Thinglink that included links to already-vetted websites, videos and interactive activities to help them learn about plants. They recorded their research and then the whole class created a Little Bird Tales sharing what they learned. I've used this with older students as an alternative to lecture-based teaching. Students accessed the teacher-created Thinglink that included websites, maps, videos, interactive activities and embedded formative assessment using Google Forms to learn about the major events of the American Revolution. I've also used Thinglink as a more culminating activity where students had to create their own Thinglink. While studying Westward Expansion, students had to choose a photo that best represented the time period and then add various tags that tied to the image and summarized their learning. Links to each Thinglink were shared on Google Classroom for all students to access and decide which image best represented the time period.