Rounding Up a Community of Learners with the ThingLink Teacher Challenge

I’m excited about the great response to this week’s announcement of the next ThingLink Teacher Summer Challenge. So far, more than 100 teachers from 10 countries have signed up to participate, collaborate and create resources for use in our schools during this free, self-paced PD opportunity.

An Opportunity for Global Collaboration

Building a global community of learners is a powerful way to adapt to the changing climate facing educators today. This summer’s challenge offers educators the opportunity to build global relationships that lead to trust and turn collaboration into results. 

Explore this interactive Wordle of participant locations so far, and please consider signing up to join us for the next ThingLink Teacher Summer Challenge. The first activity will be launched on June 28, 2015 via the ThingLink Blog.


3 Reasons to Take the Next ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge

We are pleased to announce the 2nd ThingLink Teacher Summer Challenge, back by popular demand.  Sign up now to prepare to join us when we officially launch at ISTE 2015 during the week of June 28th.

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. Here are 3 reasons to take the ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge.

Engage in Self-Paced Summer Learning Through Constructive Play

Summer is a time when teachers can enjoy a break from the highly scheduled daily routines of the school year and the ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge is designed to compliment your summer lifestyle. There are no rigid deadlines to interfere with your plans, so you can progress at your own pace and enjoy the freedom and time you need to learn and experiment through constructive play. Of course, there will be plenty of support available as you need it throughout the challenge.

Connect and Share with a Community of Learners to Build Your PLN

As use of technology in the classroom becomes more prevalent, and we strive to adapt to the changing educational climate, it can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming to keep up if we are trying to do it all on our own. The ThingLink Teacher Challenge is designed around the idea that we are all learning together.

One of the of the goals of this professional development opportunity is to connect, collaborate and build on the ideas of others through a shared workspace. We will utilize the streamlined management and workspace available within a simulated District Organization to facilitate immediate sharing of work and to inspire each other throughout the challenge. As a bonus, all participants will get a 3 month EDU Premium trial for use to provide you with the opportunity to unleash the full potential of ThingLink.

Create and Curate Resources for Use in Your Classroom

In addition to learning to use the powerful features available with ThingLink, each of the weekly challenges is designed to meet several EDU goals aligned with best practices and standards. The end result will be the creation of your own ready to use customized portfolio of differentiated resources to match your learning targets. In addition, you will learn to embrace the use of slideshow channels to curate a collection of resources created by others. You can use the resources as is, or remix them to fit your specific teaching and learning goals.

ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge at a Glance

Week 1: Design Your Digital Self
Get started with ThingLink, a very useful activity to get you and your students started

Week 2: Curate Incredible Content
Discover, collect, reuse and remix the work of others.

Week 3: Design an Interactive Collaborative Student Project
Learn to combine ThingLink with the power of Google Docs to create engaging learning experiences

Week 4: Explore ThingLink UnPlugged
Explore learning on the go with a mobile device without wireless access.

Week 5: Flip It with ThingLink for Video
Learn 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.

Sign Up to Take the ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge

Interested participants should sign up using the form below. This will allow us to share the invite code so you can join our district organization group and access the shared workspace. This will also give you access to the 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 excited, self-paced professional learning opportunity. Questions? Please email



Free Webinar: Transform Teaching & Learning with ThingLink

Are you looking for a user friendly and flexible tool to help you easily create engaging multimedia rich content to redefine teaching and learning? Are you interested in using technology to meet the personal learning needs of the students in your classroom? We invite you to attend our free webinar and explore the powerful possibilities that exist with ThingLink EDU. 

ThingLink EDU is a digital tool that provides users with the ability to turn any image or video into a multimedia rich interactive learning tool. Start with an image or start with a video. Annotate it with audio, video, images and links to any content on the Internet with the click of a button. 

Please join us for a free webinar as we explore inspiring examples and easy-to-follow instructions to help you transform teaching and redefine learning with ThingLink. 

August 18th at 4:00 PM CST

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. 

    Create Custom ThingLink Icon Sets in a Couple of Clicks

    ThingLink icon sets are useful, visually appealing, and easy to create in a couple of clicks! I’ve been having fun during winter break engaging in constructive play and exploring creative ways to use them.

    I have uploaded 25 icon sets and used them to create an interactive professional development calendar and a set of social media buttons. I’m also working on an interactive map. 

    I believe the ability to create and upload custom icon sets is a major improvement for ThingLink and I’m very excited about this new feature!

    Explore my Social Media Icon Set

    Learn How to Create Multimedia Graphics with ThingLink

    Webinar, sponsored by Simple K-12
    January 16th @ 4:00 PM EST

    Explore this interactive calendar to learn more.

    My Interactive PD Calendar – Created with ThingLink

    I’ve been engaging in some constructive play and exploring the use of the new custom icons and slides available at ThingLink EDU. 

    My first slideshow is an interactive Professional Development Calendar. I believe the calendar will be able to grow with me throughout the year and I think it will be a lot of fun to use.

    My First ThingLink SlideShow & Calendar

    Click the side arrows to view this ThingLink_EDU Slideshow

    Grab your Free ThingLink_EDU Premium Upgrade
    Offer ends 12/31/13

    Learn more

    mQlicker – Create Interactive Presentations

    mQlicker is an audience response system that that allows users to turn a PowerPoint into an interactive slideshow to engage audiences and collect useful feedback. mQlicker is free, flexible and definitely worth checking out for use in a variety of educational settings. This cool tool has a lot of potential for collecting feedback and fine-tuning instruction.

    mQlicker for Interactive Presentations

    mQlicker is a useful tool that allows presenters to engage audiences in the classroom, during professional development or via online presentations. The response system works with any web capable device, and there is enhanced support for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices. From an audience participant perspective, mQlicker couldn’t be easier to use. Members of any size audience can access questions through a link, or they can quickly scan an auto-generated QR code. Audience members identities are anonymous and their connection is secure. 

    From a presenter’s perspective, mQlicker goes beyond traditional audience polling options to collect many different types of useful information. Presenters can collect and display responses to traditional types of questions through polls and surveys that are displayed in real-time, and they can utilize some flexible options for collecting free response feedback. mQlicker allows presenters to do more than just check the pulse of their audience. 

    Types of Questions

    There are several options for creating different types of questions to engage audiences. In addition to traditional text based polls and surveys, presenters can embed YouTube video and images into a question, providing audiences with rich content. For use as a quick quiz, multiple choice answers options can be shuffled to avoid sharing of answers. Several questions can be grouped on one page. 

    Types of Responses

    mClicker includes the ability to capture feedback and display results in unique ways. In addition to traditional option, such as bar charts and pie charts, mQlicker provides the option of displaying results in the form of sticky notes and word clouds to provide interesting visual results. Participants can use a link to view real time results in full screen or they can view them embedded into the presentation itself. Presenters can export results and download them as a spreadsheet for evaluation and insight.

    Uses in Education

    The flexibility offered by mQlicker makes it a useful tool for a variety of purposes. There is no limit to the number of responses collected and multiple sessions can be created and open at the same time, a feature especially useful for teachers who teach more than one section of a class. Once you try mQlicker for yourself, I’m sure you will find it to be well-suited for a variety of purposes to help your audience tune in and to help you fine tune instruction. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    In the classroom
    Turn a traditional presentation based lecture into an interactive session to give students a voice. Start with a video to provide students with a common starting point for instruction and provide them with an open-ended question that allows them to type questions and comments throughout the lecture. Display the Questions and Comments as sticky notes in real-time. Divide longer lectures into sections and create Exit Polls throughout the lesson to gauge understanding.

    In the Flipped Classroom
    Create an online presentation and assign it to students as homework to prepare them for work in class. Use mQlicker to collect feedback and monitor use, then use the results to inform and fine tune the instruction and activities students participate in when they return to class. 

    For Professional Development
    Get the most out of professional development and demonstrate your own expertise by gauging the level of knowledge and interest of your audience. Use video and questions to launch collaborative group work and brainstorming sessions and use results collected to give the audience what they came for.

    Final Thoughts

    As someone who frequently presents to students and adult educators through a variety of formats, I am excited to add mQlicker to my toolkit of resources. I have used it successfully with a few small audiences and intend to use mQlicker in the next few weeks during a webinar and also a break out session at a conference. I believe the tool will allow me to capture those teachable moments and make the most of the time we have together.

    Try mQlicker for Yourself

    SAMR – Flexible Toolkit Slideshow

    I enjoyed presenting the Infinitec webinar today and truly appreciate all the attendees! Here is a link to the interactive slideshow with resources.

    The final webinar in this series will be held on December 3rd at 4:00 PM CST. SAMR Through the Lens of the Common Core. The webinar is free and registration is open to all.