11/04/2012

Ways to Use Thinglink in Education

Visual literacy is an emphasis in ESOL. The visual aspect helps language learners develop vocabulary and much, much more.  It is also beneficial for many learners.  As an online instructor who wishes to bring more meaningful visuals into the classroom, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for visuals for adult learners as well.  There are many online options available to us.

When Tech:  Thinglink Education is one option with a lot of potential.  The ThingLink Education site describes it as an “Easy-to-use editor, teachers can create immersive and engaging experiences by adding tags to any image in a few minutes: Create authentic, valuable, and rich interactive stories around historical events using media (video, sound, photos, written words, etc.) found online. Annotate graphs and timelines. Record an instructional message to students inside an image. Embed interactive images into student blogs. Enable students to curate content inside an image to demonstrate understanding of a topic."  

At ISTE, I received a free upgrade to the educator’s account of Thinglink Education, which took me from 50 pictures to 500.  An upgrade for educators can be requested here.

Met Ed: It may be no surprise that Pinterest is a great starting place to see the potential in education.  Explore the pictures at Thinglink Education on Pinterest. It will take you a few clicks to be able to interact with the picture in its intended way.  (Wave your cursor over the Thinglink and click on the circles.) I found this interesting one there by Mr. Loret’s World History class that demonstrates how students are using it!  Here's another Thinglink jumping place to gather ideas and examples.
 
 

Above is my first try with Thinglink. (Wave your cursor over the words, and click on the circles.) It’s very basic, but it shows me the potential firsthand.  I made this in Tagul and uploaded it to Thinglink.  I’ll use it to introduce a few options of online timelines my students can explore for an upcoming course.  It only took a few minutes to make.  I can imagine linking to videos I upload to You Tube or audio instructions I make on SoundCloud.  There are many possibilities.  With an assignment on theories of SLA, students could link to credible articles, videos, etc. that discuss and describe the theories.  Students could even have a “debate” starting place with the words “yes” and reasons on one picture and “no” and reasons on another.  They could then debate away, either by recording their voices and linking to Vacaroo or SoundCloud or simply by writing reasons on the picture and debating in person.  Thinglink has an option to invite others to work on a picture collaboratively.  There are a ton more possibilities, ways librarians, musicians, and others are using it too.  This Wired article gives an overview of a few.

Happy Thinglinking! (Don’t forget to consider Copyright issues.  See more on this topic under Web 2.0 Tools.)

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