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App Highlight: ThingLink for Assessment and Creative Learning

ThingLink, a free app in the app store, lets users create interactive images.  Add your own or web-based images, videos, links to articles / web pages, sound clips, or text.  This app is simple to use and the applications are endless!  Finished ThingLinks can be emailed and viewed in a web browser.  The site’s published ThingLinks are searchable in the app and on the website and easily copied to your personal library to be shared / uploaded.

Suggestions for using ThingLink in your classroom:

  • For teaching: Use ThingLink to explain a diagram, math problem, poetry form, concept, etc..  Link articles, instructional videos, and add text explanations.  Have students use your ThingLink to teach themselves, especially useful if they are absent from class.  Sample ThingLink on Inverse Trig Functions: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/730047756499943424 (To use: Hover your mouse over the image and click the icons to view supplemental content.)
  • For learning / assessment: Assign ThingLink as a research project or to check for understanding.  Have students research any topic and link / describe all resources in the ThingLink or have students upload diagrams, label the parts, and write explanations for each.  The features will work for any discipline!  Sample research-based ThingLink on St. Ignatius Loyola: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/773971961398165505 (To use: Hover your mouse over the image and click the icons to view added content.)

trig

Project idea: Interactive timelines for any topic

Below is an article that reviews 10 free timeline generators.  Read through the short reviews and choose the best one for your class.

“Top 10 Free Timeline Creation Tools” by eLearning Industry: http://goo.gl/ogIz3z

 

The Tiki-Toki timeline generator is already used in some Theology classes. Check out this sample timeline created by Diana Haney, “St. Iggy and the Jesuits”: http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/492586/Saint-Iggy-and-the-Jesuits/

St Iggy

 

Is there any redemption for Snapchat?

SnapchatI know I have personally thought, what possible good can come from Snapchat. But then on November 20, 2015, Sam Russel ’16 posed this story: Snapchat is Here! RJ Media were using Snapchat as a force for good. Since then, I have found this post listing these 10 Snapchat Accounts to Follow. Some of the highlights:

  1. fallontonight – What I like about this account is its simplicity. It’s the account for the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show. It is mostly used to highlight the upcoming guest for the night but they also do some things with ticket giveaways and viewer engagement as well.

  2. newyorkermag – They do a great job of not just showing off recent work, but giving some background stories on the content. Whether it’s talking with a cartoonist or giving an in-depth look behind the most recent cover of the New Yorker, they do a nice job with the account and post frequently.

  3. nowthisnews – If you’re looking for a news account that really taps into the drawing capabilities of the medium, check out nowthisnews. Most days, they work to give a handful of news headlines in a great graphic display. The news is often the top headlines of the day, but they also mix it up with some off-beat stories from time to time.

  4. tacobell – One of the earliest brands to make a splash on Snapchat, Taco Bell has been there since 2013 and does a variety of things to creatively engage their target audience and share news. You can read a bit about their background with the medium here in a post on Mashable “Why Taco Bell Went Loco for Snapchat.

  5. thenytimes – I would be remiss if I didn’t include the New York Times on this list. While they are not the most active media account on Snapchat. They do have a presence. Typically, different journalists on assignment will take over the account to let views follow them along on assignment.

  6. washingtonpost  – This was the account that started it all for me. I had planned on staying off Snapchat but when I found out the Washington Post was there I decided I better give it a look. They’ve done a lot of great things with this account from posting stories where they dip back into their archives and show things like the Cherry Blossom Festival through the years to handing the account off to reporters who are out covering stories to give viewers their vantage point on assignment.

When I look at these sources, I see many possibilities in my classroom (through Story):

  • review of class learning (could be daily, weekly, by unit or by concept)
  • showing application of course content to the daily life of an RJ student
  • a challenge for students to me – take a snapchat of daily life at RJ and let’s find the Sacramentality of it
  • students read an assignment and ask questions, muse about what they find interesting/challenging, or summarize the reading

The benefit of this:

  • more engaging and creative than what I currently do
  • gets them using social media for good
  • helps me encounter their world
  • differentiates for students who find this mode easier to make learning visible than the standard written response
  • helps model and express their creativity as well as offers a potent forum for higher level thinking
  • if this is shared with parents, other classes/students/school, the impact of this social interactivity would increase rigor and accountability

There are drawbacks to this (24 hour time limit for viewing), other apps might work better (Vine), and perhaps it would best be suited to a peer review process, but your students might find it invigorating and even show you an unanticipated, exceptional, and far superior idea for using it to achieve your learning objectives. If you decide this is for you, you can start with this guide or take a bold leap and ask your students!