A Collection of Interactive Maps

Using interactive maps in the classroom encourages exploration, invites curiosity and promotes spatial thinking. Interactive maps can be used to provide students with background knowledge to launch a unit, or they can be used as a starting point for digging deeper into any concept through research. Interactive maps can be used to explore a wide variety of topics in traditional ways, or they can be used creatively to help students visualize just about anything.

The ThingLink Challenge for week 4 asked teachers to create an interactive map on any topic. I’ve assembled the collection of maps on a Padlet wall for other educators to explore and reuse. Here you will find a lot of expertise and creativity from the participants.

Explore this Padlet Wall of Interactive Maps

Explore this Padlet  board of interactive map images created by participants and watch it grow! To get the best viewing experience view the full sized board on Padlet.



Crowdsourcing to Build the Ultimate Wall of ThingLinks at ISTE 2014

To say there was a lot going on at ISTE 2014 is an understatement! There were thousands of educators drawn together by our passion for EdTech. Each of us attended the conference for different reasons, all related to leveraging the power of technology to improve education and making connections.

I attended ISTE along with the amazing and brilliant Ulla Engestrom, founder and CEO of ThingLink. We spent our days talking with educators about ways to use ThingLink interactive images and interactive video to leverage the power of technology for teaching and learning. We were excited to connect with educators who shared the innovative ways they are using the tool, eager to hear suggestions, and amazed to learn that many presenters were using ThingLink to share content in their presentations at ISTE 2014.

Crowdsourcing to Build a Wall of ThingLink Resources

As someone who gets a kick out of the power of crowdsourcing, I’ve decided to try to build the Ultimate Wall of ThingLink Interactive Images Shared at ISTE 2014. I’m hoping to collect those ThingLinks shared throughout the conference and publish them on a Padlet wall to curate those resources and share them with the community of connected educators. 

Two Ways to Quickly Contribute

  1. Add your interactive image to the wall yourself, it’s very easy and smooth. Just click or tap twice on the board, then paste the link into the box that appears. Note: It is probably easiest to view the wall full screen
  2. Submit the info and link into the appropriate Google form below, and I will add it to the wall for you, with proper credit of course.

The Ultimate Wall of ThingLink Images at ISTE 

More About Padlet

  • Padlet is a free, flexible and user friendly tool that is available online, 24/7
  • Users can create account and design Padlets for a variety of purposes for teaching and learning. 
  • Students can contribute to Padlets without an email address, just tap to add an image. This is an easy way for students to turn in work.
  • Padlet works well on a computer and also from the web browser on an iPad. 
  • There’s no tape or physical space limitations with these types of word walls.
  • Padlet is capable is displaying text, images and video.
  • Padlet can be embedded into a blog, wiki or website.
  • Padlet supports ThingLink interactive images! Just copy the Share link from ThingLink and paste it into Padlet to create a wall of interactive images that display beautifully.

Common Core Connections: Halloween Writing

The Common Core Standards identify six instructional shifts necessary for effective implementation of the ELA/Literacy strand. These instructional shifts provide a framework to help us understand the big picture before diving into the specific individual standards. 

CCSS Shift 5, Writing from Sources, calls for an emphasis on analyzing and synthesizing information from multiple sources to reach a conclusion or make an argument. This type of writing requires students to construct knowledge through research and present evidence that is accurate, precise and clear. Regularly engaging students in this type of writing will foster the development of essential skills to help them succeed in college and beyond. 

Halloween – An Engaging Theme

It’s fairly safe to say that many teachers use the Halloween theme to launch creative writing activities that focus on stories and personal narratives. Perhaps with a little twist, teachers can take advantage of Halloween writing activities that focus on gathering information from sources through research to present information about haunted places, dispel or defend myths, and present conclusions that are based in fact to support the CCSS Shift 5. 

Explore a sample launcher for a CCSS aligned Halloween writing project that has been embedded here. 


Tools to Power the Learning Experience

Use an Essential Question to Fuel the Inquiry

An essential question can be a very effective tool for guiding research and tapping into students’ enthusiasm for inquiry and learning. These questions provide students with challenges that allow them to invest in the learning process as they make decisions about their own learning. Since essential questions do not have one correct answer, students can choose flexible learning paths to find success and demonstrate learning.

Use a Google Custom Search Engine for Safe Searching 

A topic like this could send students on searches that lead them to questionable websites. A traditional work around might be to publish a list of acceptable websites for students, but perhaps a better solution is to create a Goggle Custom Search Engine for use with this type of project. 

Searching involves critical thinking and it is an important skill that needs to be taught. The Goggle Custom Search Engine Tool allows teachers to easily build your own search engine that is customized with content you choose to be appropriate for your grade level or for a particular unit of study, This tool provides teachers with the ability to bring relevant and reliable sources into the classroom while also teaching students how to conduct a search and it can be embed into any  blog, wiki, or site for easy access.

Use a Padlet Board for Collaboration

Padlet is the tool I used to launch this project. It is a free tool that allows you to create an online collaborative board of online sticky notes for use in the 24/7 classroom. In addition to text, the notes can include images, links and videos. One of the best features about Padlet is that students do not need an account to log in, making it an efficient and useful tool for a variety of learning tasks.

Use the Common Core App by Mastery Connect to Design a Rubric

To make sure to cover specific writing and research standards for your grade level, consider creating a rubric with the guidance of the Common Core App by Mastery Connect. Use the app for quick and easy access to standards that are presented clearly and provide snippets of relevant information without overwhelming. With the information at hand, you can fine-tune the learning experiences to target many specific standards in one project.

Use Google Docs to Create and Publish

If your school is using Google Docs, there are plenty of opportunities for students to collaborate, brainstorm, write, research and publish their work. Use the document for written papers or try the presentation to express learning in a multimedia format.

A Writing Project Toolkit

Explore this Interactive Image, created with ThingLink