How I Use It
Thinglink is a great way to annotate images for students. I frequently use it for concept development. With the shift to the Common Core, I am stressing the importance of textual evidence, much more in my classroom. I've taken a painting in the public domain and used the text tags to demonstrate claims that I am making on certain pieces of evidence. Kids can also find an image and use text tags to make claims about parts of the photo. But often you have to think outside of the "image" box. Screenshots of text can also be annotated. I've taken a screenshot of a Works Cited page to have students try to guess the formatting rules of a works cited page just by analyzing a good model. Then I can roll over the tags to show more information. I've also used public Thinglinks created by members of the Thinglink community when I didn't have time to make my own. For instance, I have used an annotated Thinglink of a Chromebook to introduce adults and kids to the Chromebook's features and keyboard shortcuts. You can annotate political cartoons, graphs, charts, photographs, screenshots of text. The best part is a part that I haven't even used in the classroom, but I will. You can link to a video in the annotations. Thinglink can allow you to have one image hold a wealth of information, but most important the information is directly positioned over the elements it discussed. This is so important when dealing with complex images.
I think that this product is fantastic as a way to develop concepts or explain parts of something quite complex. I love the options to add text and/or links. But I think sometimes there can be a danger in information overload if teachers aren't wise with how they use it. In terms of student creation, I wish that students could share images with each other so that they can collaborate in real time on creating their own interactive images. Right now the owner of the image can make it so that anyone can modify and add tags.Students can collaborate, but they must emails the links to one another or use a url shortener. I think the best application of thinglink is asking students to explain their thinking when solving a problem or when constructing a paragraph. They can take a picture or screenshot of their writing or math problem. Then use the tags to explain the thinking behind the calculation or perhaps the use of figurative language. As a teacher in a Google school, I appreciate that students can sign in with their Google+ accounts, but since so many of my students do not have a Google+ account, I would appreciate if kids could just link their Google accounts.