ThingLink is a web 2.0 tool that allows students to annotate visual images. This tool (available over the web or through their app) can inspire students to “Be creative! Make your images come alive with music, video, text, images, shops and more!” The educational applications are obvious. 21st century skills place an emphasis not only on the simple consumption of technology but on the active creation of a product through the use of new technologies. Moreover, ThingLink allows students to receive practice in media literacy, critical thinking, and collaboration, all of which are important components of thePartnership for 21stCentury Skills (P21).
ThingLink is incredibly user friendly and intuitive. Furthermore, this program allows you upload not only annotated text into visual but also videos and audio. It’s as simple as tagging the part of the visual that you want to describe and voilà, a small icon appears (you can choose what the icon looks like and personalize it). After tagging (just like Facebook) you have the option of adding descriptive text, links to videos, or audio.
So what are the applications of this tool? Well, the obvious use is to help students create a product that showcases their learning. ThingLink can be used in every subject. Reading a chapter of The Catcher in the Rye? Have your students draw an image of a scene from the chapter, then use ThingLink to annotate the drawing with their understanding. Learning about volcanoes? Search for a picture of a cross section of a volcano, upload it to ThingLink and annotate all the moving pieces on the inside with information gained in class. Being a social studies guy, I can think of thousands of ways to use ThingLink. I created my own annotated image (all the teachers who cover Manifest Destiny will recognize the image in the link below). Simply hover the pointer over the target to see my annotations. Art, music, physical education, STEM, and any other content area can find innovative ways to use ThingLink.
Once you complete the annotation of the image, it will be added to your gallery (similar to YouTube or Pinterest). You can create a specific link for that visual. Have your students send you the link. You can also embed the image into a webpage if your students use online portfolios.
So try it out for yourself. Annotate a visual and see if it’s something you can incorporate into your curriculum. ThingLink is one of the web 2.0 tools that are revolutionizing the way we deliver instruction. It’s incredibly fun and easy to use! Check out my ThingLink below and see if you can think of any innovative ways to use this app in your class!