Using Thinglink with 3rd Graders

December 28, 2014
 

Click on the above link to view it in Thinglink, an online tool for making your images interactive. Seriously, click on it. I’ll wait.

Fun, right?

I first played with Thinglink last summer as part of the Connected Learning summer collaboration called #CLMOOC. At the time I was imagining using it with high school students, so it was a lot of fun to try it with 3rd graders at Stratton Academy of the Arts:  Leadership & Microsociety and find it to be an intuitive and easy tool to use with younger students. We used the Thinglink mobile app on an iPad, which allowed students to take pictures and link them on the same handheld device. For the Pom Pom Dancers image you see above, 3rd graders Daniyjah and Tashiya created an image to introduce the Pom Pom Dancers. They took photos of the dancers’ poster, mission statement, and the kids in action. They also took a few videos of the rehearsal we attended.

Daniyjah and Tashiya were easily able to take photos and record video on the iPad and then add them to the Thinglink. They could review the photos and make choices about what they included without leaving the app. Unfortunately, the video they took kept ending up upside down in the completed Thinklink image. After doing some sleuthing, I learned that Thinglink needs you to hold the iPad in a very specific position in order for the video to appear rightside up and we had been holding the iPad the wrong way. When using the rear facing camera, Thinglink needs the iPad in portrait mode with the home button on your right. Using the front facing camera, the home button should be on your left (more information plus screenshots here).

To solve the upside down video problem for this image, I posted the video to a google photo album and the Thinglink points you there, but in future images the video should be able to play from the image itself.

With the exception of the upside down video, which we now know how to avoid, using Thinglink on the iPad was a success. If you have a school email address (one that ends in .edu), Thinglink has a classroom option that allows a teacher to create a classroom and invite her students to share their images in one place. This is a great option as you can generate one time logins for your students or send them invite codes and once they have joined your classroom you can see all their images. I found that I had to enter the one time logins for the third graders as the passwords they generated were very secure and really hard to type.