Thursday, March 27, 2014

ThingLink Edu

What is a ThingLink?
ThingLink is a tool that allows users to create interactive images to tell a story. Users upload images from their computer, Facebook, Flickr, or a webpage and then add interactive "Tags" that can be text, videos, audio, or links to websites and places on the web.

You can checkout my ThingLink here!

Creating a ThingLink Teacher Account & Getting Students Signed-Up
Now teachers can sign-up for a teacher account and also create accounts for their students in just a few simple steps. Teachers can create an account with email, Twitter, Facebook, or your Google account. Setting up an account as a teacher makes it easy for educators to collect, view, and organize students' work and also allows students to easily find their teacher's ThingLinks.  When a teacher account is created, ThingLink automatically creates a classroom group. With this classroom group, teachers can add students.   Check out this blog post from ThingLink that explains some of the added benefits to the teacher accounts.

Below is a great video tutorial on getting you and your students signed-up.

How Can I Use ThingLink in my Classroom?

After reading an article by Richard Byrne, here are some of my favorite ideas on how to use ThingLink in the classroom:

  • Create a Portfolio
    • Have students add links to different artifacts that they have created.  Students could include webpages, presentations, videos, written papers or photos.
  • Create an Interactive Report
    • Add audio clips, primary source documents, videos, maps, and artifacts from Google Docs to your base picture.
  • Create interactive Bulletin Boards
    • Take a photo of a classroom bulletin board.  Have students make tags on their work and share what they learned with parents or others.
  • Make Art Talk
    • Ask students to record and listen to stories about their own art work.
  • Create an Interactive Adventure for Learning
    • Create a ThingLink that includes websites, text, videos, blogs, and other web tools to allow students to discover their own learning through the teacher's guided resources.
As always, feel free to direct any questions to an ITF.  We would be more than happy to come support you or your students!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Publishing Tools to Replace Glossi

If you and your students have been using Glossi, a magazine publishing tool, you probably already know the bad news.  Over Spring Break, Glossi sent out emails informing users that they are discontinuing the web-based magazine creator and shifting towards a pure mobile consumption tool.  While previous users will still be able to access a previously created Glossi from the share URL, students will not be able to create a new Glossi or work on a Glossi in progress after April 1st.

With that said, the ITF team has found two alternatives to Glossi so that you can continue to integrate digital magazine/book publications into your learning environment.


One option, very similar to Glossi, is Madmagz.  Madmagz is a magazine creator which allows students to create a magazine with flip pages.  There is one free template with multiple page designs.  This tool gives students the ability to quickly and easily produce a web-based magazine publication with professional quality. I have included a sample Madmagz that I created.  Please click here to view a sample.


A second option which creates a basic flipbook from a GoogleDoc or Google Presentation is Flipsnack.  Flipsnack converts a GoogleDoc or Google Presentation into a customized flipbook.  I have included a sample Flipsnack as well.  Please click here to view a sample.  (It’s on my dog—enjoy! J)
For a detailed resource on how to create a flip book from a GoogleDoc, check out "From GoogleDocs to Flipping Books" from Ed Tech Ideas:  Tech Integration for Busy Teachers!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Setting Up a YouTube Channel and the YouTube Capture Tool

If you are looking for an easy way for you or your students to create videos and easily get them to YouTube, look no further than the YouTube Capture feature.  The YouTube Capture feature has been a free App for a while, but now YouTube Capture is also available right on the web.  To access this feature, you will first need to set-up a YouTube account. Luckily, YouTube is integrated with Google (you can just use a gmail account), so if you are a Park Hill teacher or student, you can sign in with your Park Hill credentials.

After you create an account, I recommend making some adjustments to settings.  To do this, click on the silhouette icon (or your picture in the top right corner) then click on "My Channel."

Next, hover your mouse over the area where it has your name; a pencil will appear in the top right corner.  Click the pencil, and then click "Channel Settings."

Under Channel Settings, I suggest going through the heading and decide if you would like advertisements, channel recommendations,and subscriber counts.  For a classroom I would suggest "Do Not Allow" for all of those options. 

Along the left,  you will also see a tab for Defaults.  This is where you have the ability to change the privacy of your channel.  Your channel will automatically default to Public. There are three options for the privacy options. Public, Private, & Unlisted. You also have the option of adjusting the privacy setting on each individual video. When you edit or change your channel privacy, your videos will default to this setting as well.

Public Channel/Public Videos - Anyone can search your channel name and videos.

Private Channel/Private Videos - A private video can only be seen by you and other YouTube or Google account users you select. The video will not appear on your channel and cannot be searched.

Unlisted Channel/Videos - Unlisted videos allow only people who have the link the ability to view the video.  To share an unlisted video, you will need to send the link to the video with the people you would like to view it. Unlike private videos, the people you share your unlisted video with do NOT need a YouTube or Google account. Unlisted videos are also not searchable.

If you are making videos for your students and/or parents, I suggest making your channel and videos unlisted.

What can I add to my Channel?
Now that you have your channel set-up, you are ready to start creating your videos!  You can of course upload any videos that you have recorded on devices or with other tools such as MovieMaker, Photostory, or Screencast-o-matic.  But with YouTube capture, you now have the ability to create a video using your webcam, make small edits, add music, add annotations, and enhancement all within YouTube.

Creating a Video in YouTube Capture
  • To access the YouTube Capture tool, sign-in to YouTube with your Google account. 
  • Click the "Upload" button.
  • Click the Web Cam Capture Record button (first option along the right).

  • If an Adobe Flash Player Setting dialog box pops up, go ahead and allow your microphone and web cam.
  • Click "Start Recording."
  • When you are finished, click "Stop Recording."
  • Click "Upload."
  • Add a title to your Video.
  • Change the privacy settings to your liking.
  • Feel free to add a description or add tags.
  • Click Save.
Your YouTube Capture video is now added to your channel.  To make adjustments, edits, add music, etc., simply go back to your video manager, find your video, and click "edit." After clicking "Save," you are now ready to share your video!

Happy YouTubing!