Join Our Global ThingLink Teacher Challenge

With just a few short days until the official launch of the 2nd ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge, I am pleased to announce that nearly 200 educators from 18 countries have signed up to participate.  This will be a great opportunity to build our personal learning networks globally and grow as educators as we create and share a useful set of resources. Use of an EDU Premium, district level organization account will streamline the collaboration as we share a full featured workspace.

Explore Our Participant Map


About the ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge

The ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge is a free, self-paced, online professional development opportunity designed to help teachers explore the powerful possibilities of using ThingLink for teaching and learning. This 5 week challenge invites teachers to have fun learning to use interactive images, slideshow channels and interactive video to power up your pedagogy and redefine learning in the classroom.

Throughout the challenge, we will use the ThingLink flexible suite of interactive tools for schools to create media rich, customized resources for use in your classroom. The weekly challenge activities are designed to be beneficial to educators who are new to ThingLink and also to experienced users. We will explore all the flexible features of ThingLink and discover the tremendous potential for using this amazing tool.

ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge at a Glance

  • Week 1: Design Your Digital SelfGet started with ThingLink, a very useful activity to get you and your students started
  • Week 2: Curate Incredible ContentDiscover, collect, reuse and remix the work of others.
  • Week 3: Explore ThingLink UnPluggedExplore learning on the go with a mobile device without wireless access.
  • Week 4:  Design an Interactive Collaborative Student Project Learn to combine ThingLink with the power of Google Docs to create engaging learning experiences.
  • Week 5: Flip It with ThingLink for VideoLearn to create interactive video and include it in a slideshow channel.

Week 1 will begin on June 28th. Entries will be accepted until mid August.

Join Us

There is still time to join us on this self-paced global learning adventure. The Teacher Challenge official launches on June 28, 2015. 

Interested participants can sign up through the quick and simple form. This will allow us to share the invite code so you can join our district organization group and access our shared workspace. This will also give you access to a ThingLink EDU Premium trial, only available through this challenge. We will also send a reminder to your inbox to remind you about the launch on June 28th.

We hope you will join us for this fun filled and exciting, self-paced professional learning opportunity designed for busy teachers like us. Questions? Please email


Share and Inspire Through ThingLink Interactive Image Slams

Talented members of our rapidly growing ThingLink Education Community have discovered ways to leverage the power of ThingLink for a variety of innovative uses across all content areas and grade levels. ThingLink Interactive Image Slams are informal webinars designed to provide educators with a opportunities to share creative ways to transform teaching and learning with ThingLink.

Discover the endless creative possibilities for enriching students’ enthusiasm for learning like never before through this unique webinar highlighting the work of our users. 

Grab a Chance in the Spotlight

Learn about how you can have a chance to share an inspiring image of your own. Collaborate with other participants through a back channel and sign up for a session on 9/16 or 9/18.

Learn More and Sign up

Meet Our Guest Panelists

September 16th at 8:00 PM EDT

A ThingLink PD Toolkit of Resources

This summer I spent much of my work time helping educators learn to embrace the power of ThingLink as a tool for Teaching and Learning. Along the way, I created a wealth of resources using a variety of formats to accommodate the learning needs of busy teachers. 

The resources created have been collected and curated into one interactive image. I believe they are valuable for personal learning needs, as well as for use during professional development offerings. They were created to be shared and reused.

Explore, Share and Reuse This Interactive Image

Feel free to embed this interactive image into your own digital space. You can use, remix and share the resources when working with other educators to save yourself the time and trouble of reinventing the wheel. Enjoy!


Blogging to Learn

As the start of the school year approaches, educators are busy preparing for a great year. As learners, many of us will approach the new year with excitement and optimism after reflecting on our own teaching during our time away from the classroom. 

Those of us who sport a growth mindset typically start each school year with the intention of being better. We have collected new ideas, thoughtfully considered how to implement them, and we are excited to make a difference in the lives and education of our students. 

I truly believe that all educators should consider blogging as a tool for learning and this seems like the perfect opportunity to once again try to encourage all educators to blog!

Why I Blog

Blogging about experiences makes me accountable for taking the time to thoughtfully reflect on teaching and pursue ways to kick the learning up a notch. I learn more from blogging than from any other professional activity I participate in. Quite simply, I blog to learn. 

Why Educators Should Blog

Becoming a blogger is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to grow as an educator. For many, blogging can become an essential part of the workflow, requiring us to dig deeper, engage in research, explain and reflect. Good blogging should include exploring the blogs of others as models, and sharing ideas and resources with your audience. The audience may be students, teaching teams, parents, or educators across the world. Blogging will ultimately help you become a connected educator. 

Why Students Should Blog

Blogging provides students with authentic opportunities to improve writing, engage in research, read more and personally connect with their own learning through thoughtful reflection. If that’s not enough, please consider these ideas.
  • Blogs offer an exciting way for students to engage in real-world writing. 
  • Blogs give students a voice and an audience. 
  • Students write better and put more thought into the revision process when they are publishing for an audience.
  • Blogs allow for feedback through comments which can be very motivating.
  • Blogging requires students to engage in everyday research and dig deeper to construct knowledge through the synthesis of ideas.
  • Blogging provides students with opportunities to connect with their own learning by remixing content, developing new ideas, and thoughtfully reflecting.
  • Blogging provides educators with many opportunities for teaching students about digital citizenship, including Internet safety, crediting sources and practicing good online etiquette.
  • Student blogs provide parents with a convenient and personalized opportunity to connect with their children’s learning experiences.

Advice About Blogging

Throughout the course of my career as a blogger, I have helped many teachers get up and running with a blog. Here is my advice, based on The School of Hard Knocks, so to speak.
    1. Start simple! A new blog will have just one post. Write the post for yourself to explain why you have decided to start a blog.
    2. Since it takes time and effort to get people to check a blog, do not spend hours and hours filling your blog with information. Just use the blog as a tool for yourself, but write it for an audience.
    3. As you continue to experiment with blogging, explore the use of simple original images to capture visitors’ attention.
    4. Learn to embed.
    5. Model good digital citizenship. We expect students to use copyright-friendly images, credit sources and share their own original work, and it’s important for education bloggers to dig deep into Best Practices and try it yourself.
    6. When you are ready to share your blog with the world, use Twitter and other social media platforms to connect with educators and build your PLN.
    7. Share your blog with your students and provide them with opportunities to blog.

    Educators Design Your Digital Self

    Join Us for the ThingLink Teacher Challenge

    I have been having a lot of fun connecting with educators and expanding my PLN this summer as I facilitate the ThingLink Teacher Challenge

    This challenge is a free, self-paced, online summer professional development opportunity designed to help teachers transform classroom teaching and e-learning with ThingLink, an easy-to-use interactive image and video platform. Teachers complete one activity each week and explore ways to use the tool in the classroom.

    The challenge this week is Design Your Digital Self. The goal is to use ThingLink to create an interactive avatar to serve as an introduction to other members of the challenge. The activity is well-suited for a variety of student-driven learning experiences in the classroom, and it provides educators with opportunities to remind students about Internet safety and protecting their identities when online. As a bonus, the challenge uses a guided lesson, or channel of interactive images, as a teaching tool which can also be used to facilitate classroom instruction. All the directions and resources are in one place.

    Showcase: Design Your Digital Self

    Images submitted for each challenge are displayed in a ThingLink Channel to showcase the great work educators are doing. As more participants submit images, the channels grow. Meet the ThingLink Challenge Teachers.

    View our weekly Showcase of images.

    Take the ThingLink Teacher Challenge

    Since the challenge is self-paced, there is still plenty of time to sign up and join us.

    Embrace Change This Summer with Professional Development

    Summer is the time of year when teachers can enjoy a break from the the highly scheduled daily routines of the school year. It’s also a great time for teachers to engage in professional development to keep up with the challenges of our rapidly changing educational environment and connect with others to build a PLN.

    I am fortunate and excited to be able to offer a variety of professional development experiences this summer to help teachers embrace change and adjust to the instructional shifts that will ultimately help our students develop the 21st Century Skills necessary for success. 

    My Professional Development Goals

    Help educators
    • Use free and user friendly digital tools to transform learning.
    • Explore, connect with others, and learn together through constructive play as you build a personal learning network.
    • Align learning experiences to the Common Core .
    • Shift instructional practices to focus on student centered collaborative learning that engages students in the 4 C’s.
    • Maximize instructional time.
    • Model digital citizenship.
    • Effectively differentiate and manage the student-centered classroom.

      Explore My Interactive Calendar

      Learn more and sign up for professional development in June. I hope to make some new connections this summer and look forward to collaborating with some familiar and talented friends. 

      SAMR: Design a Flexible Toolkit for Success

      SAMR: Design a Flexible Toolkit
      I just finished putting the finishing touches on the presentation for a webinar I’m hosting on Tuesday of this week, SAMR: Design a Flexible Toolkit for Successful Tech Integration. This free webinar is sponsored by Infinitec and registration is open to all.

      Assembling the resources has caused me to dig deep into my toolkit to examine ways the tools I frequently go to can be used effectively to align with each level of the SAMR model. I have been evaluating the usefulness of my favorite tools and reflecting.

      What is SAMR?

      SAMR is a model designed by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, Ph.D. that provides a framework for viewing technology integration in the classroom. The model identifies four specific levels of use and a clear point at which technology can be integrated into the classroom to go beyond engagement and transform learning to provide greater educational benefits.

      The SAMR model is useful for helping teachers think about their own tech use to begin to make small shifts in the design and implementation of technology driven learning experiences in order to Teach Above the Line and take advantage of higher level learning. Teachers at the Substitution and Augmentation levels use technology to accomplish traditional tasks, but the use of tech doesn’t result in increased student learning. The real learning gains are achieved when technology is used to facilitate learning experiences that could not be accomplished without the tech. At the Modification and Redefinition levels, traditional tasks are transformed, allowing educators to use technology to design learning experiences that were not possible without it.

      A Flexible Toolkit is Essential

      A flexible digital toolkit is essential for helping teachers design learning experiences that reach the Modification and Transformation levels of the SAMR model. As I reflect on my own digital toolkit, I recognize that none of the tools I frequently use are content or task specific, rather they are blank canvasses powered by features I can use to design any type of learning experience I can imagine. The tools in my toolkit allow me to start with the learning goals and higher order thinking skills and make use of the technology to design learning experiences that provide students with opportunities to achieve those goals. 

      My favorite tools are those that support multimedia to provide flexible options for student success by supporting their unique learning styles. These tools are user friendly, allowing teachers to begin to use the most basic features at the Substitution and Augmentation levels and take advantage of more features as they increase their comfort levels and make strides towards Teaching Above the Line. 

      My Flexible Toolkit

      This blog is filled with examples and ideas for using digital tools for learning. My favorite tools are woven into many different learning experiences that are most often at the Modification and Redefinition levels of SAMR. If you are interested in a clear bundle of specific examples to learn how these tools can be used to support teaching at each level of the SAMR model, I invite you to attend the free webinar I am hosting on Tuesday, November 5th, sponsored by Infinitec.
      SAMR: Design a Flexible Toolkit

      SAMR: Design a Flexible Toolkit for Tech Integration

      Tuesday, November 5th
      4:00-5:00 PM CST
      Sponsored by Infinitec

      Registration is free and open to all!