Tune Into Technology: ThingLink & Literacy Skills

Time for another Tune Into Technology, the perfect summer link-up because I have time to try out everyone's ideas for and then steal 'em and say I did it all myself.  Seriously Learning to the Core and iTeach 1:1 have a great thing going--so jump in this and share your tips too.

A few months ago I wrote about ThingLink (which is a pretty amazing website) that allows users to annotate images and digitally "write" on them with links, images, and quotes, and/or your own typing.  It's really easy to use and I was jazzed up when Jen at Tech With Jen  wrote about and shared some of the uses with it.  So of course, I had to go and check it out.  Then I knew I'd need to find a way to use it..and I did.
Then in April, Jeanette from Third Grade Galore (who I teach with) and I got together to figure out a culmination project  for her students after they read the book Charlette's Web.  We discussed it for a while and I share the idea of using ThingLink with her (and she ran with it).  It would be a good use of technology and reading skills intertwining with one another.

For their final project (and I hope I'm getting all the details correct) were going to create an interactive ThingLink with three of the most important parts from the book.  

Here is what a finished one looked like:

Here were the steps students took:
  1. Pick three important plot points from the book.  Students could decide which ones they picked and why.
  2. They had to draw what those scenes were (using those inference skills).
  3. Jeanette and students took photos of each set of three pictures.
  4. Upload to ThingLink.
  5. Students then typed in what was happening in each scene.
  6. BOOM!  All Done (but this actually took the kids a little more time)

Students could then access each other's work and even leave comments (which is probably the coolest part).  The chance to receive immediate feedback from your peers is awesome --just like blogging.

I love seeing the combination of art, reading, and technology all coming together (and pretty seamlessly too).  This is a project that allows students at all different learning levels to differentiate for themselves as they work.  Some kids only wrote one detail per image, while others wrote almost a paragraph and had multiple links on images.  This isn't even including the peer review where students could leave comments.
  • ThingLink is free, they also have an educator portion too.
  • It can be used on computers and mobile devices.
  • You can use images from the inter webs  or upload your own.
  • Almost all ThingLink creations are public and easy to access.
  • All can be embedded in sites (much like I've done with these)


In closing..if you get a chance check out ThingLink and give it a try.  
You will love it and be happier than a bear in a swimming pool.

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