ThingLink EDU September Webinar Series

I am excited to be hosting a series of September webinars designed to help educators discover the power of using ThingLink EDU for teaching and learning. We hope you will join us for one or more of these free, online learning opportunities.

Explore this Interactive Calendar

Find links to more information about each session and sign up, or learn more on the ThingLink Blog

A ThingLink PD Toolkit of Resources

This summer I spent much of my work time helping educators learn to embrace the power of ThingLink as a tool for Teaching and Learning. Along the way, I created a wealth of resources using a variety of formats to accommodate the learning needs of busy teachers. 

The resources created have been collected and curated into one interactive image. I believe they are valuable for personal learning needs, as well as for use during professional development offerings. They were created to be shared and reused.

Explore, Share and Reuse This Interactive Image

Feel free to embed this interactive image into your own digital space. You can use, remix and share the resources when working with other educators to save yourself the time and trouble of reinventing the wheel. Enjoy!


ThingLink Educators Featured on Huffington Post

Readers of the Huffington Post today will discover a wonderful article featuring ThingLink and three amazing educators, Jamie Forshey, Lisa Johnson, and Sue Fitzgerald. The article by CM Rubin, The Global Search for Education: Pictures with Links highlights examples of innovative ways to use ThingLink for teaching and learning along with explanations provide by these three creative educators.

Check out The Global Search for Education: Pictures with Links on the Huffington Post.

Padlet Mini – Quickly Collect & Curate Content

Padlet Mini is a handy new toolbar extension for Chrome and Safari that’s designed to help users collect and curate web content in a couple of clicks. Bookmarking with Padlet mini couldn’t be easier or more efficient. 

With the extension installed, users who discover web content worth collecting can click on the Padlet icon in the toolbar  and select an existing Padlet to post content to. Click once more and the content is displayed on your Padlet wall. 

The Padlet Mini extension works similarly to other toolbar bookmarking tools, but the possibilities for using Padlet in the classroom have put Padlet Mini at the top of my list of quick click bookmarking tools.

Why Padlet for Bookmarking?

Content collected on a Padlet can be viewed without leaving the page. When viewers click on a thumbnail on Padlet, a new screen appears, displaying an embedded version of the content. This is unlike other popular bookmarking tools that display images linked to another destination. Viewers do have the option to visit the source through a button at the bottom of the screen, but the viewing experience right on the wall is quite impressive, since it supports live multimedia.

Additional Benefits of Padlet for the Classroom

  • Padlet is a free, flexible and user friendly tool that is available online, 24/7
  • Users can create an account and design an unlimited number of Padlet walls for a variety of purposes.
  • Students can contribute to Padlets without an email address, making it a great tool for turning in and sharing digital work. Just tap or click on a wall to add content.
  • Padlet works well on a computer and also from the web browser on an iPad. 
  • There’s no tape or physical space limitations with these types of walls, providing classrooms with the ability to share work with others who are unable to physically visit the school. 
  • Padlets can be used for collaboration.
  • Padlet is capable is displaying text and a wide variety of multimedia, including ThngLink interactive images.
  • Padlet can be embedded into a blog, wiki or website.
Padlet mini is a bookmarking tool worth exploring. Chrome users can get the free extension from the Chrome Extensions Store. Safari users can get the Padlet Mini from the Apple Extensions Store

Free Webinar: Transform Teaching & Learning with ThingLink

Are you looking for a user friendly and flexible tool to help you easily create engaging multimedia rich content to redefine teaching and learning? Are you interested in using technology to meet the personal learning needs of the students in your classroom? We invite you to attend our free webinar and explore the powerful possibilities that exist with ThingLink EDU. 

ThingLink EDU is a digital tool that provides users with the ability to turn any image or video into a multimedia rich interactive learning tool. Start with an image or start with a video. Annotate it with audio, video, images and links to any content on the Internet with the click of a button. 

Please join us for a free webinar as we explore inspiring examples and easy-to-follow instructions to help you transform teaching and redefine learning with ThingLink. 

August 18th at 4:00 PM CST

Blogging to Learn

As the start of the school year approaches, educators are busy preparing for a great year. As learners, many of us will approach the new year with excitement and optimism after reflecting on our own teaching during our time away from the classroom. 

Those of us who sport a growth mindset typically start each school year with the intention of being better. We have collected new ideas, thoughtfully considered how to implement them, and we are excited to make a difference in the lives and education of our students. 

I truly believe that all educators should consider blogging as a tool for learning and this seems like the perfect opportunity to once again try to encourage all educators to blog!

Why I Blog

Blogging about experiences makes me accountable for taking the time to thoughtfully reflect on teaching and pursue ways to kick the learning up a notch. I learn more from blogging than from any other professional activity I participate in. Quite simply, I blog to learn. 

Why Educators Should Blog

Becoming a blogger is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to grow as an educator. For many, blogging can become an essential part of the workflow, requiring us to dig deeper, engage in research, explain and reflect. Good blogging should include exploring the blogs of others as models, and sharing ideas and resources with your audience. The audience may be students, teaching teams, parents, or educators across the world. Blogging will ultimately help you become a connected educator. 

Why Students Should Blog

Blogging provides students with authentic opportunities to improve writing, engage in research, read more and personally connect with their own learning through thoughtful reflection. If that’s not enough, please consider these ideas.
  • Blogs offer an exciting way for students to engage in real-world writing. 
  • Blogs give students a voice and an audience. 
  • Students write better and put more thought into the revision process when they are publishing for an audience.
  • Blogs allow for feedback through comments which can be very motivating.
  • Blogging requires students to engage in everyday research and dig deeper to construct knowledge through the synthesis of ideas.
  • Blogging provides students with opportunities to connect with their own learning by remixing content, developing new ideas, and thoughtfully reflecting.
  • Blogging provides educators with many opportunities for teaching students about digital citizenship, including Internet safety, crediting sources and practicing good online etiquette.
  • Student blogs provide parents with a convenient and personalized opportunity to connect with their children’s learning experiences.

Advice About Blogging

Throughout the course of my career as a blogger, I have helped many teachers get up and running with a blog. Here is my advice, based on The School of Hard Knocks, so to speak.
    1. Start simple! A new blog will have just one post. Write the post for yourself to explain why you have decided to start a blog.
    2. Since it takes time and effort to get people to check a blog, do not spend hours and hours filling your blog with information. Just use the blog as a tool for yourself, but write it for an audience.
    3. As you continue to experiment with blogging, explore the use of simple original images to capture visitors’ attention.
    4. Learn to embed.
    5. Model good digital citizenship. We expect students to use copyright-friendly images, credit sources and share their own original work, and it’s important for education bloggers to dig deep into Best Practices and try it yourself.
    6. When you are ready to share your blog with the world, use Twitter and other social media platforms to connect with educators and build your PLN.
    7. Share your blog with your students and provide them with opportunities to blog.

    Free Online Event: Improve Writing with Google Docs

    Would you like to improve your students’ writing skills and help them bridge the gap between writing in school and writing in the real world? 

    One way of doing so is by using digital writing and Google Docs, the documents editor available in Google Drive. Since Google Docs is collaborative and available 24/7, students using Google Docs often write more frequently and better than when given traditional paper and pencil writing tasks. 

    Join me and Simple K 12 for a online event and learn how to use Google Docs to thoughtfully incorporate digital writing into the curriculum. We will explore ways to fully utilize the latest Google Docs features to help you and your students embrace digital writing.

    • Learn to use built in research and reference tools available in Google Docs to redefine writing.
    • Explore ways to incorporate peer editing and collaboration into writing instruction.
    • Take a peek at the Google Classroom to learn how to manage digital writing assignments.
    • Explore the use of Google Docs Add-Ons as options for adding functionality to Google Docs.
    • Learn to help students become digitally responsible by teaching them to credit sources.

    Google Tips & Tools for Teachers All Day

    Good news! This webinar is one of 6 webinars offered throughout the day during Simple K-12’s free online event on August 9, 2014.

    Learn more about more great webinars and register for this free online event.

    EdTech You Should Know

    EdTech You Should Know is a new show in the Instructional Tech Talk network of podcasts, created and facilitated by innovative educator Jeff HerbThe show features one educational technology tool per episode that is worth knowing about. The episodes are less than 10 minutes and they are designed to offer educators a taste of the great EdTech that’s out there. 

    ThingLink on EdTech You Should Know

    The first episode of EdTech You Should Know features Thinglink, a tool that Jeff uses himself. The interview with ThingLink Founder and CEO Ulla Engeström was recorded live at ISTE. We had a great time chatting with Jeff in the middle of the noisy exhibitor hall. 

    We wish Jeff great success with the new show and look forward to future broadcasts. Click on the image below to jump to the EdTech You Should Know site and be sure to sign up to receive email alerts via email. Follow Jeff @InstTechTalk and follow his new Twitter feed featuring the new show @EdTechtoKnow 

    Engage Students in Informed Decision Making

    With access to an abundance of online resources, students can become informed decision makers and stakeholders in their own learning.  Use of online polls, surveys, and digital tools for collecting feedback can turn passive observers into active participants. 

    The ThingLink Teacher Challenge this week asked educators to explore the use of an interactive image for informing and collecting feedback from an audience. We introduced Polldaddy as an integrated tool for the task. Polldaddy is an excellent choice because rich-media tags support embedding of a poll into an interactive image, allowing the poll to pop up without leaving the page. Of course, there are many web tools available for collecting feedback and any of those tools can be linked to a ThingLink interactive image.

    Examples of Using ThingLink for Informed Decision Making

    Participants self-published their interactive images on the Padlet wall linked below. Many participants chose to create interactive images to share tech tools and collect feedback about popular choices, which makes the images particularly useful for teachers as we approach the start of the school year. I hope you will explore the Padlet and watch it grow as more participants add images. There is a wealth of expertise here!

    Final Thoughts

    As we kick off a new school year I encourage teachers to consider creating activities to inform students and collect feedback as alternative to traditional homework assignments. Completing this type of activity prior to class can maximize instructional time and it is certainly more interesting than a worksheet. Just think about the possibilities that exist with ThingLink and tools for collecting feedback!

    Connect & Collaborate Through Global Virtual Classroom

    For many years my dear friend and mentor, Janet Barnstable, has been part of an amazing Global collaborative project, The Global Virtual Classroom (GVC). As we approach the start of the school year and registration opens for this year’s participants, I asked Janet to write a guest post to share this great learning opportunity with readers of this blog. I hope you will consider connecting and collaborating internationally through GVC.

    Connect & Collaborate Through Global Virtual Classroom

    Guest post by Janet Barnstable

    The Global Virtual Classroom vision is to empower, enable, and connect students around the world using Internet technology. Teacher and students must be willing to make a serious commitment to collaborating with their partner schools for the duration of the project. Our emphasis is on teamwork across cultural and geographic distances, which is much harder than working together in the same room.

    What is this contest?
    Three schools are teamed by the GVC into a single team. That team works together to create a website about a world issue that they have chosen collaboratively. This is a full year commitment. Schools need strong collaboration skills, as the 3 schools in each team are separated geographically, but need to work together as one.

    Who may participate?
    Teacher guided Primary (Grades 1-­7) and Secondary (Grades 8­-12, or equivalent) classes and youth groups around the world that have access to the Internet and know or can learn to use Google Sites.

    Contest Benefits
    Why would a teacher and class take on this task?
    • Real world experience and audience
    • Global collaboration
    • Build on each person’s strengths to create a whole; the group is better together!
    • Nothing teaches faster than learning from each other.
    • Authentic assessment ­rubric provided for guidance

    What do projects look like?
    To see what others have done, look here. The Primary division is listed first, followed by the Secondary.

    Ready for this adventure? 

    Click here to register.

    Want more information first? Go to the GVC’s Web Contest

    If you have questions, contact our Program Manager, Janet Barnstable.

    Sponsored by Give Something Back International Foundation

    About the Author

    Janet Barnstable has participated in the GVC programs since its inception in 1996. Now retired, she devotes her time and energies to helping other teachers experience the joys and survive the anguish of International collaborations. Janet has been involved in International collaborations since the early 90’s having begun with an 800 number supplied by the Archdiocese of Chicago and a 300 baud modem! How times have changed! Janet has been appropriately and affectionately described by Vicki Davis on the Cool Cat Teacher Blog as  “A Global Collaborative Pioneer”.