The flexibility of ThingLink invites a lot of possibilities. Teachers can use the site to collect tagged images, creating an interactive slide show to introduce a new unit. Working individually or in groups, students can use ThingLink to tag a collage of images related to a specific subject, to tag maps and charts with annotations and related videos and recordings, or to create a story told in tagged images.
The ease with which images can be collected and tagged encourages both formative and summative assessment, providing teachers with a great way to evaluate what students know, both midway through a unit and at its conclusion. That said, teachers will likely want to establish specific guidelines in terms of what links and sites students use. Teachers might also want to incorporate a speaking or writing assessment to accompany students' projects, as it would be easy to game the system by clicking without in-depth understanding.Continue reading Show less
ThingLink is a tool -- available as a Chrome app, on the Web, and on iOS and Android -- for embedding multimedia content in images or videos. The media-embedding process, for both teachers and students, simply involves uploading an image or video and linking it to other resources on the Web. Links can lead users to informational Web pages, audio recordings, and videos. Prompts guide users most of the way, and a Search Content option helps support the embedding process with links to commonly used Web resources.
The educational version of the platform -- designed just for students and teachers -- features the addition of "channels" that can be used for specific classes or class projects and are only accessible by members of the registered class or group. Teachers can register students, arranging them into specific groups or classes. In addition, schools and districts can use the organizational management platform to monitor all users. There are three plans: basic (free), edu premium ($35/year), and school/district (discounted).
To understand ThingLink's full potential, teachers may want to let students lead the way -- they'll immediately embrace the opportunity to work with the media they love outside of school. Students are likely to find it a great way to share what they know about a specific subject or research topic. The site's emphasis on images rather than text can help students with a variety of learning styles and literacy levels find a way to demonstrate their learning and express themselves. ThingLink can easily support students in meeting Common Core media-literacy expectations.
The ThingLink blog details ideas for classroom use including digital storytelling, word walls, differentiation, e-portfolios, and much more. There's also a free series of professional development webinars to transform teaching and learning. But keep in mind that, as with many great uses of tech in the classroom, there's a notable time investment needed up front to create projects and assignments that will enhance student learning.
Key Standards Supported
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.