Learning a New Thing(link)

I was at a technology conference recently and one of my favorite take aways from the day was ThingLink. This is a site that lets you make an image interactive. Students could use this to create an idea board, as a way to collect research, or even for a new way to present their own original information. I’m not sure how much I will have my students use it yet, but I can definitely see myself using this to present links to my students on our class website!

Here’s a finished sample that I quickly threw together about my blog. If you put your mouse over the image, you will see all the buttons pop up. Each button is a different link or bit of information.

Here’s how I made it:

  1. Sign in & Create a new project:

thinglink 1 

You can either upload an image from your computer or use one right from the internet (just right click on the image and click “copy image address”, then paste that into the box that pops up when you click “Import from URL”). 

Students could use a photograph as their background or have them create their own image in Google Draw, which is how I made the picture in my sample above. You can’t get text to stay up on a ThingLink without clicking on a tag, so if you want text (like I have above), I recommend making it in Google Draw, download as a jpg, and then upload to ThinkLink. 

**I am working with the free version of ThinkLink. So you can see there are more options available if you upgrade, but I haven’t tried them yet. 

2. Give your project a title & hit save! 

thinglink2a

Pretty straight forward, but in the day of Google Drive (which auto-saves everything all the time…), it is worth saying. You have to actually hit the button to save your image. **BE SURE TO MAKE THIS CLEAR TO STUDENTS OR THEY WILL LOSE ALL THEIR WORK! Hitting “save image” will make it go full screen, just click the pencil to continue editing. 

Start Adding Tags:

Click on the picture where you want to add a tag. This pops up a sidebar for you to customize the tag. If you are adding a link to a website (ie. the Wikipedia page on coffee), just copy & paste in the “link or image address” box and you tag will now contain that link. In the “text” box, you can write whatever you want about that link. This would be a great place to add a due date or instructions for how a student should use that link. 

thinglink 3a

From this point, you can also change the icon of the tag itself. Click on icon you want AND HIT SAVE! There are plenty to choose from, but more if you pay for the upgrade… 

thinglink 4a

Another cool option is to add a tag for a YouTube video. Just copy the link of the video you want and paste it in the address box. Again, type whatever specific info you want to come up for this video. The nice thing here is that when someone clicks on that tag, the video will play right there on your image!

thinglink 5a

You can also upload pictures & audio from your computer to a tag. This is a great way to add a personal touch. You can record yourself talking and all they have to do is click play. Just click on your image where you want to place the tag, then scroll down to “upload image” or “upload audio”. Easy Peasy.

thinglink 7a

CLICK SAVE!!! Then share it! 

If you go back to your ThingLink home screen, you will see all of your saved projects there. If you click on the 3 dots under the project, you can go back to edit more (which is nice, you can always make changes!) or share it wherever you want.

thinglink 8a

If you choose to share a link, it will be a link back to your image on ThingLink. There is also an option to allow anyone to edit, so be sure you don’t turn that setting on if you are sharing with students. Students could also share their projects to collaborate, but only one person can work on it at a time (regardless of how many computers you have)… so it’s really not ideal for that purpose. 

I planned to embed the ThingLink image right into my class website. I use Google Sites and it was a bit tricky, so I will go ahead and share how to do that: 

When you are editing your site, click on “insert” and then choose “HTML Box”. 

thinglink 9

Then paste the “embed code” from your ThingLink into the box and hit save. You can also adjust the size of the image here if you want to. 

thinglink 10

If you are still in edit mode, you won’t see your image yet. It will just look like this: 

thinglink 11

But once you hit Save, it should be there. 

thinglink 12

Simple once you know how to do it…  So that is a very basic intro to ThingLink. If you upgrade there are more options like being able to set up classrooms, but I am sticking with free for now… I am looking forward to using it this year with my students and giving them another option to show what they know! 

And a little bonus content: Check out how this Wisconsin school is using ThingLink to show students what to find in each part of the library! 

Please leave your questions, comments, and concerns in the comments for all to see! Thanks for stopping by. =) 

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