Sunday, May 26, 2013

Using ThingLink to Organize Student Projects

This year, when my AVID students researched different colleges, I didn't want to have to sit through 30 boring powerpoint presentations.  I have done this project for years with my students, and honestly, it is not fun listening to the same presentations over and over again.  I decided to have my students create videos instead.

We used iMovie on the iPad and students created trailers.  The trailers are only about one minute long, so they wouldn't be able to fit all of the required information in the movie.  So I had students use ThingLink to be a home for their video and then they could also use the tags to add the extra information.

To begin with the project, I had students fill out a google form with their top college choices.  I then created an instruction document that also would be their document that they took their notes on.  I sent it out to all my students using the google script, autocrat.  This allowed me to personalize each document with the college name they were assigned, student names, etc.  It also named and shared the document with me so I didn't have to worry about the students forgetting to do so.  

Students took collaborative notes in a Google doc, planned out and created their iMovie, uploaded it to YouTube, and then made their ThingLink.  Creating a ThingLink on an iPad is not ideal, many times it would get a little buggy.  But it was possible to do using the Chrome browser, with a little frustration of having to shut down the iPad and logging back in to ThingLink.  

In the last few days, ThingLink just released an iOS app.  It looks like it will have great potential for an iPad classroom.   As of right now, you can only add videos and text to your image.  You can't add URL links, pictures, etc.  Hopefully that change will be made soon.  But the current version of the app works really well on the iPads, it is very easy to find a picture and add text or a video.  

I think that this is a great tool to curate information and to be a "home page" for student multimedia projects.  Instead of having to give the teacher multiple links to different parts of a project, they can all be embedded on the ThingLink.

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