Action Planning to Implementation – Technology in the Science Classroom

After the November Cohort 21 session, I decided I would embark on planning and implementing the SAMR model in my science classroom.  Through much collaboration with my fellow colleagues, we were able to redesign the Biology unit in grade 10 science with UbD  (backward design) and SAMR being the main focus.  I introduced the online tool, ThingLink, to redefine how we assess, organize, and implement a dissection. ThingLink is an online interactive picture creator.  It allows you to take your own photos and pin information, websites, and videos to the picture.

Though some may think this is Modification, I argue that it has in fact brought the dissection to a redefinition state, but just barely.  Using ThingLink allows the students to pin their own pictures and thus create an interactive online dissection portfolio.  We begin the unit with the frog dissection, and use the pictures and ThingLink (which also has an app for your IPhone/Android) to add to their own personal dissection pictures as we teach the organ systems, organs, tissues, and cells throughout the unit.  Essentially, starting with the big picture and working down from there.  It not only allows students to connect better to the content, but also takes the dissection to a new level using interactive, embeddable images.

It in essence, redefines the dissection as a teaching tool that is not something to work to, but rather to work from.  Students can also add Youtube videos, websites, and pictures to their own dissection pictures to enhance their structure and function explanations. Beyond that, it is possible to add even more through the ThinkLink Rich Media add-on.

What it looks like:

How to use ThingLink:

Here is a brief step by step process to create a picture of your own:

  1. Go to
  2. Sign up for a free account (use an easy to remember login and password)
  3. Once you are signed in, select the ‘Me’ tab at the top right corner.
  4. To add an image to your account click on the ‘Add New Image’ to the left. (Remember that this is an open site and you should only add your own pictures to avoid copyright infringement)
  5.  Once you have added a photo, it is time to edit it. Click on the picture you have uploaded if it does not automatically allow you to edit it.
  6. Your mouse cursor should change to a + and you can pin information anywhere on your uploaded picture.
  7. Once you have chosen a pinning site the following box will appear:
  8. Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 9.14.25 AM
  9. For an example go to:
  10. Add as many pins as needed to fulfill the assignment requirements (See below)
  11. Have fun!


  • Class 1: Our first class with ThingLink was an introductory one where students took pictures of their own hands and pinned information using ThingLink.  They were quick to learn and can ‘follow’ you (the teacher) easily which allows you to follow them back and keep track of their dissection portfolios.  You can also comment on them to provide feedback!
  • Class 2: The dissection was aided by the ‘Digital Frog Dissection’ which is available as a program or online.  Also, I created an assignment that had requirements for pictures that they must take during the dissection. See below for a photo of all the tools they had at their disposal (Laptop, phone/camera, assignment sheet, dissecting tools, and of course, the frog).
  • Class 3 and beyond:  Students will be given lessons on the systems/organs/tissues/cells followed by instructions to pin their photos with structure and function and any other relevant websites/videos.
Lakefield College Students using technology to enhance their dissection

Lakefield College Students using technology to enhance their dissection

Why I think the redefinition stage has not been met fully: Taking it to a new level could mean embedding their interactive ThingLink photos into a iBook Author program where they have reflected or kept their notes throughout the Biology Unit, essentially making a digital and interactive textbook of their learning.

Over all, it has been successful but we are yet to see the end result.  I will have to follow up from here.

Feedback? I’d love to hear any other suggestions you might have on my implementation of the SAMR model or uses with the ThingLink program.

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8 Responses to Action Planning to Implementation – Technology in the Science Classroom

  1. Tim, this is a really interesting post – particularly because you are making an argument for redefinition of what you are asking the students to do. I think part of your argument is that you are not asking kids to dissect; rather, you asking them to build, correctly, a reverse-dissection. That is an interesting way of going about it.

    I am glad that you’ve found ThingLink useful as well. I’ve enjoyed using it for poetry analysis as well!

    Some other things that might interest you come from the Google Chrome Store:
    Check out “Instant Anatomy”:

    and there are more at:

    Thanks, and I think this is a really great Action Plan that you’ve started on. You’ve got a foundation of content and lens through which to be critical of your approach. For next steps, it will be important to get student feedback on the way that you are redefining how they are learning and their success!

    Good luck, and looking forward to seeing you on the 24th!

    • Thanks for the feedback Garth. I am certainly going to have to get some student feedback on how they like the use of ThingLink and for the change up in unit design. I still think it will be more powerful in connecting them personally to all the lessons by constantly referring back to their own experience and pictures.

      I also didn’t know that there were so many Crome apps for science. Thanks for the links, though some take it a little higher level than the grade 10 level.

      See you on the 24th!


  2. Lisa Picerno says:

    I think you have explored a fantastic tool with ThingLink. I would like to hear how your students feel about it in the future.

  3. Can you share how you embedded a working Thinglink interactive image in your iBook. I tried a number of things and nothings seems to work. Help!! Feel free to email me directly [email protected]

  4. Erin Todd says:

    I am an Anatomy and Physiolgy teacher and utilize cat dissection that lasts for 5 weeks at the end of a full year course. The students upload pictures and videos to their Google classroom for practice purposes before their practicums. My students also are taken to a human cadaver lab and a simulation lab at a medical school. How/would this enhance what I already do?

    • These are amazing opportunities for your students. We don’t have access to these opportunities at the High School level where we are in Canada. I found that having the students upload their own photos connected them more deeply to the experience and allow for an opportunity to label, make connections, and bring in new information. The tags allow you to write information and upload information/videos/papers/sites to show a deepening in their learning. Connections and understanding rather than memorization of tissues, organs, etc. This may not be the best option for you as you already have made the experience a center of your class. I would love to get my students to a facility to allow them to see a real cadaver.

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