Saturday, June 6, 2015

Interactive Images on ThingLink

Happy summer break! I'm always torn at this time of year -- do I take a break or use this time "off" to start exploring ideas for next year?

For those of you on board with the latter idea, here's a tool you might want to play with over the summer: ThingLink

logo via the ThingLink website

I've known about ThingLink for a couple years now but didn't start using it until this year....and I wish I had started sooner. :) It's such a unique tool with so many possibilities!

What is ThingLink?

ThingLink describes themselves as a way to create interactive images. Basically, you upload a picture and then add "tags" to it. Adding a tag creates a bubble that pops up when moused over; this bubble can provide a link and/or text. 

via the ThingLink website

Free Features
  • Access via the web, iOS app, or Android app 
  • Create 1 group of up to 100 students by registering the students under your account (so kids don't need an e-mail address in order to log in) OR students can log themselves in with their existing Google account
  • Tag images and videos with text and links
  • Create slideshows with your ThingLinks
  • Students who are logged in can only see other students' and teachers' ThingLinks

Premium Features -- $35/year for the teacher (my fav capabilities are italicized)
  • Advanced tagging tools (like these rich media tag options)
  • Create up to 30 groups with up to 1,000 students
  • Students who are logged into their student account (under your name) have the same abilities as you do (except they can't tag videos)
  • Ability to present your ThingLink full-screen 
  • Replace the image on your ThingLink without losing any of your tags or other information
  • Access to wider variety of tag icons (100+ options)
  • Ability to make icons always appear (so that people don't have to mouse over the image in order to see the tags)
  • Upload custom tag icons
  • Use the rich-text editor on tags (include bold/italicized text)
  • Make images private
  • Customize the bubble and text color of your tags
  • Add multiple interactive images to create one slideshow (unlimited images can be added to a show)
  • Google Drive links work directly within the image (see the feedback form embedded into the bottom, right corner of this presentation ThingLink)
  • Remove the ThingLink logo at the bottom, right of your slides or replace with your own image

Gettin' Fancy

You can upload any picture to create a ThingLink, but I like to upload images I've created on my own. Click here for an example of a ThingLink where I created the image.

You can create your own image in basically any photo-editing site or app, but I actually just use Microsoft PowerPoint to create my images. This post reviews how to edit and save pictures in PPT. I just use a colored shape for the background, import the pictures I need, group it all together, and save as a picture. This post has a video tutorial that shows how I use PowerPoint and digital scrapbooking elements to create an image

Ideas for Use
  • Teachers (for students): give your students a paperless or flipped lesson (like this, this, and this) -- works really well if you're incorporating a lot of media (like a Blendspace + EDpuzzle or YouTube video + Prezi + Socrative quiz, etc.) 
  • Teachers (for other teachers): create a professional development session/workshop in ThingLink (like this)
  • Students (any subject): ask students to create a ThingLink as part of a culminating project to show their learning
  • Students (any subject): create a mini-research project 
  • Students (back to school): tag a personal image to create a "getting to know me" ThingLink at the beginning of the year
  • Students (ELA): upload a student-made illustration, and then place tags that tell a story all around the illustration (Ooh...could you do a "choose your own adventure" story with this?! My wheels are turning...)
  • Students (ELA): tag the image of a book cover to give reviews on the book, favorite quotes, descriptions of characters, and/or examples of literary elements
  • Students (geography): tag a collage of land forms with a student voice recording explaining what each land form is/looks like and can be found
  • Students (geography): tag the capitals on a map 
  • Students (history): tag a map where each battle in a war took place (describing each battle and telling who won)
  • Students (history/social studies): tag an image of a person as a mini-biography (this would be particularly handy if students were using lots of different tools to display facts about the person -- like a video or audio recording of the person from YouTube, a mock Facebook page for the person, a Voki depicting what that person might have said about issue, an iMovie with photos from the person's life, etc)
  • Students (science): tag a collage of the steps or results of an experiment with a student voice recording explaining what's happening in each picture, a website or video explaining why the results occurred, etc.
  • Students (science): tag a diagram -- say, of a cell or a flower -- with labels, and explain each part's function

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