What we did today: ThingLink Interactive Study Guides

What better way to end a short week than studying Microsoft Excel vocabulary! Really? The sarcasm is overwhelming I know. So what do you do with a bunch of high school students the day before a long break so you:

a. don’t waste time with games and movies

b. make them do something meaningful

c. add some new digital tool to their literacy arsenal

Enter ThingLink.  ThingLink.com is a website where teachers and students can create a free account, then upload images and build interactivity. I used Thinglink today with my students to make interactive maps of Microsoft Excel vocabulary terms.

Teachers could use this free tool for just about any subject where analyzing images or studying vocabulary is needed. Imagine uploading a map of European countries in the 17th century. Then having the students label and describe the countries on the map with links, descriptions and labels. After which, all of their creations are ‘shareable’ via email, web, or social networks.

Better yet, allowing your students to collaborate on a ‘group’ project or group map adds yet another element to the project. One student uploads an image they take, or a public domain blank map, then invites others to collaborate in labeling and linking the various elements. Students can link to country websites, wikipedia articles, youtube videos, other online resources, and add their own descriptions. Wow – what a great collaborative, interactive lesson!

ThingLink.com is free for your first 100 maps, and is a ‘social’ website where students and teachers can ‘follow’ each other’s projects. Collaborating with each other online adds a social and collaborative element to an otherwise mundane task of studying/memorizing key terms and ideas.

Take a look at a sample from our class today – an interactive Excel Terms Desktop. We used screen capturing built right in to Windows to make the images. You could use the same tools on a Mac to make a screen shot of MS Excel, save the image, then upload it into ThingLink. Click to open the Excel Interactive Desktop. Also check out the Google “Stock Chart Interactive” also available here.

From there, teachers or students can add ‘hotspot’ elements, descriptions and links to their screenshots. After saving the project, users can share online, embed in websites, or invite others to contribute.

ThingLink is free, interactive, social, collaborative, and Web 2.0 friendly. Give it a try for your next vocabulary or study guide project!

About Jonathan Jarc

Jon is the Educational Technologist at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. Jon's specialty is working with teachers to solve classroom problems with technology. He has been teaching technology, art and design for 13 years. Subscribe to the posts on this site or follow us on Twitter @trendingedtech.