12 Terrific ThingLink EDU Features in 2014

ThingLink offers the education community tagging tools to bring images and video to life. It works across platforms and provides teachers and students with the ability to add rich media contents to any video or image.

In 2014 ThingLink worked hard to provide teachers and students with a powerful and flexible tool for teaching and learning that is useful across all content areas. Here are highlights of some of the amazing features available in the ThingLink Classroom, introduced this year.

6 Amazing App Smash Examples to Inspire Creativity

ThingLink recently challenged members of our education community to take the ThingLink App Smash Challenge. The challenge was designed to help educators discover new ideas for teaching and learning with an iPad by combining two or more apps together to create, publish and share content. The use of ThingLink as a presentation tool provides educators with powerful possibilities for turning an image into a multimedia rich learning tool.

Explore examples and learn more on the ThingLink Blog

Transform Teaching & Learning with ThingLink & Google Apps - ICE 2015

Every year I look forward to facilitating hands on workshops at the Illinois Computing Educators Conference in February. I truly enjoy working with educators who are eager to create, learn and embrace ways to leverage the power of technology for teaching and learning. I am excited about my workshop this year because it will allow me help teachers learn to combine two of my favorite tools, ThingLink and Google Drive, to transform teaching and learning.

Registration is now open for #ICE 2015! Sign up for Transform Teaching and Learning with ThingLink and Google Apps

Celebrate Holiday Traditions with ThingLink

If you're looking for engaging ways to include some holiday fun into your teaching before winter break, you might want to choose ThingLink as a platform for sharing resources. ThingLink allows educators to pack a lot of multimedia content into a very small space, providing opportunities for teachers to present students with a treasure trove of differentiated resources to meet diverse learning styles.

The Hour of Code is Here

The Hour of Code is a week long global awareness movement that will reach tens of millions of students in more than 180 countries this year. The goal is to introduce students to the world of coding in as little as one hour. Tutorials for students are available in over 30 languages and there are activities available for all students, young and old. 

14 Resources for AppSmashing with ThingLink

In November I launched the ThingLink AppSmash Challenge to encourage educators to share great ways to combine two or more apps together to create, publish and share content using ThingLink as a presentation tool. The goal of the challenge was to create resources to help educators discover new possibilities for teaching and learning with an iPad to better meet our teaching and learning needs.

ThingLink Expert Educator Roundup

As the ThingLink Education Community Manager, I am rounding up talented educators who are interested in joining our professional learning network of Expert Educators. This is a great opportunity to learn, share and grow within our professional learning community. 

Do you LOVE ThingLink? Are you a talented educator who inspires others? Are you a connected educator who is energized by the possibilities that exist for transforming teaching and learning with Thinglink? If so, we invite you to learn more about becoming a ThingLink Expert Educator. 

3 Alternative to Shopping on Black Friday

Black Friday is certainly a big day for shopping, but for teachers it can also be a day to take a breath and try something new over the long weekend. We encourage educators to consider 3 ThingLink inspired alternatives to shopping today. Learn more on the ThingLink Blog

Facilitate a Writing Workshop Using Google Docs

 Get resources from webinar
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On Saturday November 22nd, Simple K 12 is hosting a free Google Day of Learning designed to provide educators with The Best Google Tips for Your Classroom. Participants can enjoy a series of webinars throughout the day, starting at 10 AM EDT.

I will be hosting a session at 11AM EDT to help teachers Facilitate a Writing Workshop Using Google Docs. 

Checkout the ThingLink AppSmash Challenge Channel

We are pleased to share a channel of ThingLink interactive images created by members of the ThingLink EDU Community. These amazing educators have used ThingLink as their presentation tool for smashing apps. Here you will find inspiring examples of new ways to create, share and publish content by combining the functionality and best features of  great apps.  We are reinventing learning!

ThingLink App Smash Events

To encourage the ThingLink Community of Educators to have some fun and smash some apps this month, we are pleased to announce some AppSmash events. These events are designed to inspire our community of educators to explore and create. We hope you will join us as we explore the possibilities for ThingLink powered Apps Smashes. Explore this interactive image to learn more about these AppSmash events.

Take ThingLink App Smash Challenge

Today I am pleased announce the launch of the ThingLink App Smash Challenge!  #TLAppSmash. This mini version of the ThingLink Teacher Challenge #TLChallenge is designed to inspire, build excitement, share ideas and learn. Most importantly, it is designed to fit within a busy teacher's schedule during the month of November. 

The series of posts will be published on the ThingLink Blog.

Google Form Add-Ons Have Arrived

When I opened up my Google Drive this morning to create a form I was pleasantly surprised to find that Google Form Add-Ons have arrived!

I scanned the list of available options and found one titled Forms Notifications. I opened this Add-On in hopes of finding an option for streamlining my morning work. I'm happy to say I found an Add-On to help me auto-send an email confirmation to people who submit information through a Google Form. 

Live Event: Best Google Tips for Your Classroom

On Saturday October 25th, Simple K 12 will be hosting a free Google day of learning designed to provide educators with The Best Google Tips for Your Classroom. Educators can enjoy a series of webinars throughout the day, starting at 10 AM EDT.

I am looking forward to hosting Improve Writing Skills Using Digital Writing and Google Docs  at 1:00 PM. The session is designed to help educators learn to use Google Docs to thoughtfully incorporate digital writing into the curriculum. 

Join Our Live Event on October 28th

I am excited to have the opportunity to connect live and worldwide with talented EdTech SuperStars during the next ThingLink Interactive Image Slam. Join me and guest experts Richard Byrne and Shelly Sanchez Terrell to explore some interactive images. We will learn about the powerful ways these amazing educators use ThingLink to transform teaching and learning during this informal webinar.

Meet ThingLink Expert Educator Jodie Johnston

Today we are celebrating Connected Educator month at ThingLink by introducing our readers to one or our Expert Educators, Jodie Johnston. Jodie is a Curriculum Technology Specialist from Overland Park, Kansas who specializes in Web 2.0 Tools. Jodie is also the Edmodo Administrator in her school district and an Edmodo Certified Trainer. 

Meet Jodie Johnston's digital self and learn more about her on the ThingLink Blog.

Meet ThingLink Expert Educator Sue Fitzgerald

Digital Research Toolkit, by Sue Fitzgerald
It's Connected Educator month and today at ThingLink we are celebrating Sue Fitzgerald. Sue is a connected educator who is also a member of the first group of ThingLink Expert Educators! We got to know and love Sue when she participated in the ThingLink Teacher Challenge over the summer. 

Meet Sue’s Fitzgerald's Digital Self and learn more about her on the ThingLink Blog.

ThingLink + Google Drive - A Webinar

Educators need a flexible toolkit of resources to meet a variety of unique personal learning needs. Keep it simple with just two amazing multimedia rich tools, ThingLink and Google Docs. Use these accessible and easy to embrace tools together to transform teaching and learning in amazing ways! Explore an interactive graphic with 12 resources you can use to 

Transform Teaching Learning with ThingLink + Google Drive

Date and Time
Tue, Oct 14, 2014 
Live at 8:00PM EDT or SignUp to receive the archive.

Tackk a ThingLink

One of the benefits of building a flexible digital toolkit is the ability to weave tools together to fit your teaching and learning needs. If you’re looking for a simple tool to serve as a container for one or more ThingLinks, try Tackk.
Tackk is a blank canvas that allows anyone to easily publish multimedia web content on a  simple page. Tackk supports live, interactive ThingLink images, which are embedded into Tackk simply by copying and pasting the share url. A big bonus is the text editing feature in Tackk, which  provides users with a handy way  to label a ThingLink.  

Connected Educators: Power Up Your Pedagogy with ThingLink

Today I'm excited to be participating in a MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course that is free. Today's MOOC is part of Chris Long's University of California Irvine's course, Advanced Instructional Strategies in the Virtual Classroom I will be sharing some powerful strategies for increasing students’ engagement in learning using ThingLink and ThingLink for Video. 

4 Ways to Celebrate Connected Educator Month

ThingLink is a powerful tool for making connections and we are pleased to announce an exciting lineup of events to celebrate Connected Educator month. The events are designed to grow and strengthen our community of educators through the sharing of knowledge and ideas. Explore this interactive image to learn more about the events. Read more on the ThingLink Blog.

A Free Day of Differentiated Learning on SK12

Instructional Shifts 
Simple K 12 will be hosting a free day of learning on Saturday October 4, 2014. I am excited to kickoff the days' events with a webinar and overview of my interactive model highlighting Flexible Learning Tools for Digital Differentiation. Please join us!

Kick off Fall with 5 Game Changing New Features from ThingLink!

Interactive Video is here!
In case you haven't heard the news, ThingLink's Fall Kick-Off introduces 5 game changing new features!  Here's news from the ThingLink Blog... 
"We are proud to announce the release of five new features, highlighted by ThingLink for Video.  Just like ThingLink images, this platform allows you to tag and share YouTube and Brightcove videos.  Tag your videos with all of our rich media tags."
Read more on the ThingLink Blog

Digital Differentiation on Simple K12

A Simple K12 Webinar Tomorrow

Do your students find it difficult to process and sift through a lot of Internet information to find what they need? Searching for information and making sense of it is a process that involves critical thinking. There are many free digital tools available to help students sift through an overwhelming abundance of web content to efficiently find the reliable information they need. In this webinar, we will focus on resources and strategies that provide educators with tools to help all students become savvy searchers and independent learners with a focus on tools that meet the diverse needs of all learners.

Curate a Collection of Interactive Images

To demonstrate the power of a new ThingLink feature known as Add to Channel, I used this blog for a bit of crowdsourcing yesterday.  I asked readers to submit  links to images about outer space through a simple Google Form. Then I demonstrated how to use the form to instantly capture and curate the interactive images into a Space Channel! 

Crowdsourcing to Collect ThingLink Space Images

To demonstrate the power of a new ThingLink feature known as Add to Channel, I am offering readers of this blog a chance to crowdsource. After I collect some links through this simple Google Form, I can instantly capture and curate the interactive images into a Channel! Image curation has never been easier with Add to Channel, and collecting the links is a breeze with a Google Form.

Using ThingLink for Powerful Professional Development

My toolkit is filled with interactive graphics I've created and packed with resources. I use these to successfully jump start the learning of busy educators in places near and far. I frequently update and adapt the resources in my toolkit. They grow with me.

I will be sharing some of my favorite  ThingLink Powered PD resources during a webinar on Tuesday, September 23rd at 8:00 PM EDT. Dan Gallagher will be providing assistance as our webinar moderator so I can share what I've created clearly and efficiently for participants to enjoy. 

Can't make the live broadcast? Sign up to receive the archived video. 

Get Inspired by a ThingLink Community of Educators

Earlier this week seven members of our ThingLink Community of Educators shared inspirational examples of innovative ways to use ThingLink as a tool for differentiated learning through a live webinar.  The collection of resources has been archived and shared through this interactive channel to explore and enjoy.

Be sure to click on the video icon in the center of each image to view the live broadcast, then explore each author's original image on the following slide.

Create & Curate Collections of Everyone’s Images

ThingLink channels have just gotten better! Now ThingLink users can curate and create collections of anyone's images with a new Add to Channel button available under every public ThingLink image. This feature allows users to easily add anyone's image to their own channel.

Add Any Image to Your Channel

Now when users view any image on ThingLink , the Add to Channel link appears below it. Just click on the link and add that image to any of your channels.

Add to Channel

Ways to Use Add to Channel

  • Collect and curate content of all kinds.
  • Create a collection of interactive images to build concepts or launch a project.
  • Share and reuse images created by members of your PLN.
  • Redesign curriculum by creating interactive learning guides.
  • Quickly capture links to student assignments and assemble them into organized channel.

Integrate a Google Form

I tested the usefulness of this feature when assembling a channel of interactive images for our ThingLink Interactive Image Slam yesterday. The links to images for sharing during the broadcast were collected through a Google Form. Clicking on the link in the form took me straight to the image I needed. I clicked on Add to Channel and voila, an instant  collection of images was created! Explore this example and enjoy this new ThingLink feature.

Interactive Image Slam Channel

Explore the images created and shared by talented members of the ThingLink EDUCommunity during the first interactive image slam. If you have a great image to share and would like to participate in a future image slam, please fill out the form found in the channel.

Watch this channel grow as more images are added and recorded video from the broadcast is tagged on top of the images!

Try a ThingLink Interactive Image Slam

Join talented members of the ThingLink EDU Community for one of our ThingLink Interactive Image Slams next week. Get inspired by others and sign up to for a chance to slam one of your own images.

Meet Our Guest Panelists
September 16th at 8:00 PM EDT

Build a ThingLink Classroom: Tips & Tricks

Want to learn how to efficiently manage ThingLink in the classroom?

ThingLink EDU is packed full of features to help teachers efficiently manage a safe and secure online learning environment powered by ThingLink interactive images. Google Docs is an extremely efficient tool for organizing and managing your workflow in ThingLink in the classroom. 

Webinar Preview - Using Slides to Construct Knowledge

I am a big fan of using Google Docs Slides as a tool to construct knowledge. Built in functionality provides students with opportunities to engage in research, credit sources and work collaboratively to create and demonstrate learning.

Tomorrow I will be hosting a webinar on Simple K-12 During the webinar I will be sharing a few fun and creative ways to put this powerful multimedia capable tool to work in the classroom. Here is a sneak peak.

Share and Inspire Through ThingLink Interactive Image Slams

Talented members of our rapidly growing ThingLink Education Community have discovered ways to leverage the power of ThingLink for a variety of innovative uses across all content areas and grade levels. ThingLink Interactive Image Slams are informal webinars designed to provide educators with a opportunities to share creative ways to transform teaching and learning with ThingLink.

3 Great Ways to Use a Google Form

I am a big fan of using Google Docs forms to collect and organize information. Forms offer efficient ways to monitor and manage digital resources. There are many ways to put this fun, multimedia capable tool to work in the classroom

Discover three great ways to use a Google form.

ThingLink & Google Docs Together at Last!

Great news! Great news! ThingLink now supports a rich-media tag to embed a Google Doc right on an interactive graphic. Now it’s easier than ever to transform teaching and learning with just two tools, ThingLink EDU and Google Docs! 

Read more and explore my sample Rainforest Project example on the ThingLink Blog.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

    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. 

    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.

    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.

    3 Useful Google Docs Add-Ons

    Google Docs Add-Ons are new tools created by 3rd party developers that add functionality to Google Docs. Users can access and search for Add-Ons through the menu bar in any Google Doc or Spreadsheet. There are many handy tools to Add-On to Google Docs to improve  efficiency and help get work done, and there is even a section for education. Here are a three of my favorite Add-Ons, which I believe are well-suited for teachers and students.

    Read more on GettingSmart.com

    Transforming Teaching & Learning with ThingLink

    The experience of bringing together a group of teachers through a common learning goal this summer has been amazing. Now nearing the end of the ThingLink Teacher Challenge Week 7, participants are creating interactive images and self-publishing them all over the world wide web. 

    Interactive images created for the TL Challenge are embedded in thoughtful blog posts written by participants. Shared images can be found in Google+ discussions. Short and concise descriptions are circulating through the Twitosphere. Teachers are definitely collaborating about ThingLink.

    Tuesday Webinar: Using Google Slides to Construct Knowledge

    Would you like to design student-driven learning experiences that require students to construct knowledge as they create - an idea supported by the Common Core State Standards? 

    This could be easier than you think. The Google Docs Presentation tool can be a great starting point to begin breaking the barriers of traditional tech integration and help you design student-driven learning experiences.