Analyzing ThingLink

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As a blended or fully online instructor- how could you use ThingLink to bring an Authentic Learning experience to your students?

ThingLink is an incredibly engaging tool for students when looking at/analyzing images or videos. As an instructor, I could utilize ThingLink for virtual field trips, book studies, learning about text features, and diving deeper into content. I see ThingLink as an enhancement to trifold poster presentations. For example, students could do a book/author report and utilize ThingLink to insert images, voice overs, videos, text, etc. This platform would allow their audience to engage with their project on a deeper level.

ThingLink opens the door for authentic learning experiences by making the unimaginable imaginable. In other words, students can dive deeper into their content and into unknown places and engage with the content. Students can also create their own ThingLinks and show their understanding of new content. Overall, this platform opens up as many opportunities as the teacher is willing to invest time and space into.

Would you use ThingLink for everyone or keep it as a resource for certain students?

I would utilize ThingLink for all students. Some may not be ready to create their own projects, but all students could open up a teacher created project and engage with the content by clicking on the different icons.

As I have been diving into this resource, I have seen teachers use ThingLink for Open Houses (images of their classroom with clickable icons), virtual fieldtrips (360 images of a location with clickable icons), and images from stories. ThingLink truly provides an engaging platform for all learners.

While ThingLink is great for all students, I would recommend having students collaborate on a ThingLink. My thought is that students would need time to learn the program and explore with the different features before they begin creating with a partner or group. If/when students do begin collaborating on a ThingLink, I would have students map out their ideas on paper before turning on the computer. It would be easy for one student to take over the project and leave their peers out. This could also be solved with group roles and norms.

What does ThingLink offer you & the learners that is “different” from what you’d do with them without it?

There are plenty of resources available to educators and students that allow students to engage in content. The big difference that ThingLink offers is the types of engagment/interaction. While it is not a Q&A platform, ThingLink does allow students to look at an image, watch a video, or view an 360 image while interacting with texts, links, images, and videos. Another feature that I found to be really cool is the call to action icons. there are over 70 icons and each will provide students with a quick glimpse at the content that they are about to engage in. Without ThingLink, and educator would show an image or video and pause to open up different links or give an oral response to students. With ThingLink, educators do not have to have multiple tabs open at once and the experience is seamless for students.

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