Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Guest Post: Thinglink is a Great “Pre-Teaching” Tool


I didn’t learn about ThingLink until a few months into this school year… and now, I’m hooked! Every unit of study since, I’ve created an interactive ThingLink for students to reference as an anchoring activity, study guide, and “pre-teaching” tool. As my students are currently basking in spring break relaxation, I’ve been preparing this image to help them get focused on the morning that dreaded alarm clock sounds after 9 days off!

I love that ThingLinks can provide instant differentiation too. Some students may prefer to read the text I’ve included, while others go straight for the video and Prezi links. Certain students may benefit from tutorials and the follow-up problems that hold them accountable, while others may find the visual images on the Keynote slide itself helpful, especially the graphs… which brings me to a shout-out to Desmos! Not only did I use Desmos to create the graph and table images here, but I also graphed the 4 functions (color-coded to match the ThingLink images) and included a direct link to my graphs for students to explore! Usually when folks ask about a good graphing calculator for the iPad, I say, “Be careful, kids can’t use the iPad for testing so they need to know how to use a *real* graphing calculator…” BUT… there is SERIOUS value in using Desmos for instruction! Color coded graphs… iPad-friendly… AND, you can graph things ahead of time and create an instant URL great for sharing the graphs quickly! Go Desmos!

My hope is that the brain-friendly strategy of showing students information in multiple ways helps prepare them for actual instruction and assessment… which hasn’t even happened as of their first interaction with a ThingLink such as this. As a matter of fact, I allow students time to explore the image, then go around the room asking each of them to tell me one thing they learned… inevitably, students practically teach quite a bit FOR me!

Any great iPad-friendly links that would make this ThingLink even better? Send ‘em my way!

This guest post was written by Cathy Yenca, Middle School Mathematics Teacher in the Eanes Independent School District in Austin, Texas. Cathy has recently started writing about her classroom experiences with iPads  via the MathyCathy blog.

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Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

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