By Teachers, For Teachers
I follow a lot of tech ed forums (like Larry Ferlazzo, Richard Byrne, and Alice Keeler) as a way of keeping up with technology in the classroom trends and what teachers are using in their classrooms. The last few months, it's been Thinglink. I've received more than a handful of questions about this technology in the classroom on my Ask a Tech Teacher Q&A column and it's popped up in many education discussions about inquiry assessments and year-end summatives. I met Thinglink a few years ago and -- like colleagues -- was so excited, it often became a favored part of my technology in the classroom lesson plans to enable students to share their knowledge.
Then, I got away from it. Like Typing Club (a few years ago, this was everyone's go-to online keyboarding program and then fizzled away), the tech ed opinion leaders moved on. Me, too. I read about so many new tools that I got sidetracked from this phenomenally versatile, robust, and differentiated tool. When I went back and took a second look, I again was soundly impressed and came up with lots of ways to integrate it into my workflow.
Before I get into those, let me back up and explain Thinglink: It is an interactive media platform that allows students to use multimedia content and links to share their knowledge and tell their story by tagging images or videos with hotspots that include additional information.
This includes photos, videos, maps, pictures, and drawings. Completed projects can be collected into channels that are then shared with colleagues or select students. They can also be shared via social media, a link, or embedded into blogs or websites. With the new addition of 360-degree images and virtual reality (available on the upgraded platform), it has again become one of the most exciting learning tools in the educator's toolkit.
Thinglink works on desktops and mobile platforms as well as VR systems, and is recommended for ages 13+.
With the focus on multimedia resources, Thinglink allows students to differentiate for their learning style. Text, images, audio, and other options are all intuitive to add.
Education rates are affordable -- $35 a year for pretty much unlimited students. The free basic covers one class and 100 students -- perfect for a small private school or a homeschool setup.
The site includes a wide variety of tutorials to explain Thinglink's varied tools.
Channels not only include original work by the student, but can be used to curate topical Thinglinks from the community.
Student logins require an e-mail address, which not all students will have (although, to clarify: Once in their Thinglink account, they can use a teacher-generated code to join the class).
Options for Thinglink hotspot icons are limited in the Basic account.
Here are ten ways you may find Thinglink perfect for your classroom:
Thinglink makes differentiation easy, as students select the tools that work best for their communication style.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.