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Teacher Feature: Maria Getahun on Thinglink as a Discussion Tool


Maria Getahun currently teaches Russian for ICLS at the Foreign Service Institute, and she occasionally works as an SME for the National Foreign Language Resource Center (University of Maryland). She started using Thinglink after coming across this example put together for the Thinglink workshop that ICLS offered in April 2021.

Maria Getahun on Thinglink as a Discussion Tool

In the spring, she was assigned an advanced group of Russian learners who wanted to discuss gun control policies in Russian. Maria used Thinglink to scaffold the discussion. Here is a link to her activity.

Although you can use any photo as your background, Maria created a custom background in Canva (a web-based tool to create graphics). Her Thinglink includes a Quizlet set to allow students to learn or review the relevant words and phrases; a summary of critical points on gun control; a matching activity (built with Learningapps); a video clip in Russian; an infographic; statistics about gun violence, and finally, an article from the BBC. 

Maria Getahun on Thinglink as a Discussion ToolMaria sent the Thinglink to her students and asked them to go over the various resources independently and at their own pace. In class, Maria then led a discussion on gun control in the US and how it compares to the situation in Russia.

The students’ feedback was very positive. They enjoyed the resources made available to them and even shared the Thinglink with their Russian-speaking colleagues. One student created a Thinglink of his own for a class presentation.

If you would like to learn how to use Thinglink, you can access the training materials (video and handout) on the Ed Tech Portal (under Modules > Workshops). Contact Edwige at if you don’t yet have a login for the portal.

Learn more about using teacher tools online (including ChatGPT for language teachers) at our Teacher PD tech workshops.


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