Monday, March 30, 2015

Literary March Madness Championship Round

It's been interesting to see the discussion and voting and now we are down to the Championship Round.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Literary March Madness - Round 3

We are in the Final 4 for our Literary March Madness.  The voting has been high and predictions for the winner is  abundant.  With a large group of 8th grade girls I overheard the discussion this morning on their criteria for voting.  It all comes down to the hottest male character in the movie.  I share this with their permission.  Here's our Final 4 Round.

It is with great anticipation that we continue to vote for our final book.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


First, I must begin by saying that I have learned so much in my ThingLink community and I wanted to share this amazing opportunity with my PLN. I am pleased to welcome my dear friend Susan Oxenvad with her ThingLink wisdom.

Today ThingLink is pleased to announce verified accounts for school districts along with the release of an updated iOS app that is well suited for educational use, making ThingLink EDU better than ever for teaching and learning!  

Benefits of Verified District Accounts

A verified organization on ThingLink EDU serves three goals. First, verification is used to establish authenticity of an organization. Once this is done, the organization gets an invitation code that can be used to easily invite staff and students to ThingLink EDU. A verified organization account will be equipped with a dashboard to easily manage teachers, students, and groups. Third, a verified organization account gives schools and districts easy access to all of the ThingLink resources created by teachers and students across the district. These features make it easier than ever for teachers and students to create, share and curate multimedia rich content with ThingLink.

ThingLink iOS app Updated for Educational Use

More great news! The ThingLink iOS app has been updated with education in mind. When browsing for existing ThingLink content, students can only see images created by other teachers and students. Safe-search has been enabled to provide students with age appropriate content when searching for media to annotate images. The updated version of the app now includes student and teacher signup options with invitation codes, making it easy to manage students and engage them on mobile devices like never before.  Explore this slideshow channel of interactive image to learn how ThingLink can be used on a fieldtrip on a mobile device without wireless. Be sure to click the arrow to advance to the next image to see how students can extend the learning at school and at home, using whatever device is handy at the moment.

About ThingLink for Education

Over the course of this past year, ThingLink has become one of the the most popular free web tools for educators. The ThingLink app has become the most popular mobile app for creating interactive images in school or on field trips with or without wireless access. There are truly endless possibilities for using ThingLink in education.
Teachers can create media rich visual resources packed with content to engage students in deep learning experiences. Students can create a ThingLink to present knowledge and ideas or to document learning. A shared "Steam" enables students and teachers to collaborate on images beyond the classroom walls. Interactive images can be embedded on websites or shared with the class and accessed by inquisitive students at any time.
Explore this guided, student driven learning project ,powered by ThingLink and Google Apps, to view the possibilities that exist for teaching and learning with ThingLink EDU.

ThingLink Keeps Getting Better

As an early adopter of ThingLink I immediately fell in love with the tool because of the flexible options for creating rich media images for teaching and learning. I recognized the potential for using ThingLink to create differentiated resources to support all learners and I loved the fact that I could pack a lot of content into one image. At that time, the only icon available for adding tags was one black circle, the only embeddable media I knew of was YouTube, and there were no special features for education. Since then, ThingLink has come a long way.

Over the course of the past year, ThingLink has introduced a full-featured education platform with a designated classroom workspace for teachers and their students. Here are just some of the features:
  • Signup has become simpler with the addition of the Google Appls for Education login
  • Teachers have the ability to create accounts for students without email. 
  • District and teacher level management provide teachers with the tools to efficiently manage the ThingLink Classroom.
  • Students and teachers can now create slideshow channels of related interactive images to share work, curate content or maintain interactive learning portfolios. 
  • The original black icon is now one of many colorful icons that include several icons designed for education. 
  • Teachers with premium accounts have the ability to create their own custom icon sets!
  • The app for iOS and Androidmakes it easier than ever to use ThingLink on a mobile device, with or without wireless.
  • ThingLink for Video provides teachers and students with the ability to annotate a video and turn it into a personalized, interactive learning tool.

Learn More About the ThingLink Classroom

Request a Verified Status for Your Organization?

ThingLink has the ability to transform teaching and learning, so grab your verified district account, add the updated iOS app and embrace this amazing EDU tool! 
Send an email to

About the Author

Susan Oxnevad is the ThingLink Education Community Manager, as well as an instructional technology coach in an elementary school district outside of Chicago who is passionate about using technology as a tool for learning. Susan provides professional development for busy teachers via a variety of online and in-person opportunities. Susan blogs about thoughtful ways to incorporate technology as an efficient and effective tool for learning on her own blog, Cool Tools for 21st Century Learners, and on the ThingLink Blog. Email for resources, ideas and inspiring ways to use ThingLink across all content areas. Follow her on Twitter @soxnevad

Monday, March 16, 2015

Literary March Madness - Round 2

The votes closed today and we have our Round 1 winners.  It was fun showing the students the results and watching them agonize over how they will vote next.  I'm not sure who is having the most fun in the project.  It seems the administration, teachers, and students all have very strong opinions on which books should progress to Round 3.  Let the voting begin!

Literary March Madness - Round 1

This has been a great collaborative project that has been implemented district-wide.  It began with a Google document and 5 middle school librarians.  We analyized our district circulation reports for the most popular middle school books, matched the books into brackets, found the book trailers, designed a poster in canva, set up a Google form for voting, and uploaded the entire project into thinglink.  Each round will be open approximately 1 week for voting.  All teachers, administrator, students, and faculty members in our district have been invited to participate.  Each school set-up their own brackets and used the same collaborative thinglink poster below to promote the project.  It was exciting to see our students stand in front of the brackets and talk about books.  Yes, the voting and visuals have initiated literary discussions across the district.  Here's our first round bracket. I will continue to post the March Madness progress as the voting proceeds.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Techno Expo - Student Style

First, I want to say that I was extremely proud of all students that participated in the district Techno Expo event.  As a selection committee member for our school, our student projects were not only creative but they exhibited the awesome technology integration by our staff.  I was fortunate to sponsor six groups that represented our school library program.  I proudly attended all six presentations and I was humbled by the honesty and passion from all students. Rooms were filled with parents, community members, other educators, friends, and siblings as students presented their projects.


Eight library aides presented their blogs during the evening event.  The students were split up into four presentations with two students per group.  As student leaders in our school, I have set an expectation that all student library aides blog.  I gave them the opportunity to set-up blogs through blogger, complete freedom on design, and student choice in picking a passionate topic for blogging.  Since I prefer to model blogging rather than have formal lessons, to hear students use terms such as posts, embed, iframe, and more during their presentations was incredible.  They passionately showcased their posts, pictures, and projects while indicating blogging has helped with their writing skills and made them think more about digital citizenship.  In one session another educator in the room asked inquiring questions only for him to reply that the students had inspired him to try blogging in his classroom.  My hope is that I have inspired these students to continue to write and share their passions.

Hour of Code
The Pike Technology Club sponsored the Hour of Code this year in our 2nd annual celebration.  This was a completely student driven project with scaffolded lessons, student made certificates, and plans for continued marketing of coding in our school.  At the end of their presentation I publicly asked the students what they learned from this experience.  I was stunned to hear their responses that included managing people, making sure they met the needs of all learners, getting quality feedback, and follow through after the event. WOW, did they really come up with those answers on their own? I wasn't even offended when the students muted the video I produced from the event and narrated their version on the hour.  Projects such as these have convinced me to released and empower the students whenever possible.

Technology Club
Our Technology Club has been meeting for two years with an emphasis in coding.  The group is self motivated in learning programming and coding and is passionate to teach each other.  Officially we meet every Wednesday morning but the group has found a home in the library every morning and during lunch.  Since the group consists of mostly 8th graders I find this refreshing that I have an large 8th grade group that are avid users of the library.  Their presentation consists of examples of screencasts that they demonstrated with live narrations during the event.

The students had a great time and were proud of their presentations.  It brought the community into our program to see what our students have accomplished.  As I have said many times in the past, I will continue to host student lead projects in the school library program.

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