Author Archives: Ulla

Upcoming: Five Major Product Updates

We have very exiting news: in the next couple of weeks ThingLink is launching:

  • a new Premium teacher plan
  • a new school package
  • a new student management interface
  • a new version of the image editor, and
  • a new mobile creation experience.

Here are the main highlights for each:

A new Premium Teacher plan: all features for one classroom

The new individual teacher plan includes all features such as 360 editing for one classroom (35 students) at $35 per year. The plan will be available for new signups already this week! Read more about who should sign up or transition to the new plan. 

 

A new school package

Our new school starter package at $500 includes 500 accounts for use by teachers or students. This means new teachers in a school can now try ThingLink at much lower price ($1 per user). The school plan is designed to grow throughout the adoption phase, with the option to purchase additional accounts in increments of 250, or professional development on demand.

A new student management interface

The new interface offers more flexible ways to manage students and groups for individual teacher and school accounts. For example, teachers and school admins can now easily add more students to their account and see how many students have signed up. The new interface is available for teachers on Wednesday, May 2nd. 

New ThingLink editor

This new streamlined editor supports flat and 360 images with the same feature set. It features a new selection of layout templates for different types of content, which makes the creation flow faster and easier. The new editor will be available to our beta users users in May and all users in June.

 

New mobile creation experience

In addition to a new look and feel, the mobile editor supports direct audio recording to camera images. The iPad version that will be in the App Store in May, will support  audio recording to 360 images as well!

 

This is a lot to digest, but we believe these new features, packages and improvements will make ThingLink the most flexible and affordable immersive storytelling tool to improve digital literacy skills.

In the next weeks we will be writing about each feature in more detail based on the questions we get. We would like to invite you to join the discussion about new features on the ThingLink Education group on Facebook!

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Immersive learning for higher education

The challenges and opportunities for new technology integration at a large college or university are different than at an elementary school. Schools are bigger, shared facilities are crowded, students are quick to learn new technologies on their own, and research plays a bigger role. After my recent visit to Clemson University, I started putting together a list of use cases and applications for immersive learning for higher education. This list is work in progress, so feel free to email comments or additional suggestions!

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Guess Where In The World Are You with ThingLink’s 360 Holiday Game!

Happy Holidays!

Perhaps the best gift of the season is to be able to enjoy spending time with family and friends. To help you enjoy this special time, we’ve created an interactive guessing game for the whole family to play together.

Guess What is a 360-degree guessing game where players need to determine where they are, or what they see, within 30 seconds. In this version of the game, you are guessing where in the world are you. Try it with friends and family, and see how many cities each of you gets right!

Guess What

If you happened to get a 360 camera from Santa Claus and you are looking for a great way to use it, we have a little activity for you:  You can build your own 360 guessing game. All you need to do is put together a channel of 360 images on ThingLink, and email it to us at social@thinglink.com. We will feature the best guessing games from around the world on our blog and newsletter!

At ThingLink, we are big fans of the idea that immersive storytelling brings people together. We think you will agree when you explore Guess What.

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360 storytelling in early childhood education: a case example from the Kellarpelto preschool in Finland

The students of the Kellarpelto preschool in Eastern Finland make regular visits to a forest nearby. Inspired by another project called “Teacher’s Forest” at the University of Eastern Finland, some of the teachers at the Kellarpelto preschool had decided to try creating 360 images in a group of 13 students between ages 10 months and 2 years.


During the time we have developed the new 360 editor, I had not heard of use cases in early education, so I was thrilled to get an opportunity to connect with teacher Kati Roivio from the Kellarpelto preschool to learn more about their project. Here is a summary of our discussion:

U: What made you try 360 images instead of regular images?
K: Looking at regular images from our walks and activities is something that children can easily do on the iPad screen, but 360 images gave us a new kind of opportunity to go back in the forest, move there “with the finger” and touch the “spots” on the screen to hear sounds. Images became alive.

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ThingLink joins Active Learning Alliance to develop future learning environments

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Active Learning Alliance is a group of companies aiming to develop new kinds of holistic learning solutions for educational institutions in change. The members of the alliance work together to create customized services combining physical space, virtual space, as well as supporting technologies and materials in an environment that encourages creative problem solving and collaboration. Founders of Active Learning Alliance include Samsung Electronics, Isku Interior Oy, and Edutukku Oy. Product and service providers include Qroom Oy, Seppo.io, ThingLink, Treston, eOppi, Samsung Service and Beiz.

Key to collaboration is the concept of a “Learning Lab”, a physical space where member companies develop and test new services for active learning. In 2016 Active Learning Alliance is planning to open and operate a Learning Lab in seven cities in Finland: Espoo, Lahti, Tampere, Turku, Jyväskylä, Kuopio and Oulu. Located at the facilities of Isku Interiors, Learning Labs also work as meeting, conference and co-working spaces for the member organisations and their clients.

The same way learners in today’s schools construct knowledge for themselves, and combine different kinds of resources from different sources, developers of learning solutions also need to collaborate and learn from each other. We are inspired to be a member of the Active Learning Alliance and look forward to creating engaging demos about new digital learning environments in 2016!

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More information: education@thinglink.com

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2016 Greeting to Educators from ThingLink

The year 2016 will bring exciting new things to ThingLink users in education. At the same time as we are working to make it easier to create and share interactive images and videos among teachers and students, we will start offering new interactive resources for teaching and learning.  Here is an overview of what to expect this year!

1. Easy creation 

Creating interactive images is going to take a big leap forward with a whole new set of improvements. Teachers and students with a Premium Education account will be able to use animated icons and easily modify the layout of a tag. We are also looking into enabling suggested tags, and making it easier for students to search and link relevant content related to their images.

2. NEW: Sound recording for ThingLink iOS app

Great news for everyone who uses ThingLink for creating books and documenting projects: ThingLink iOS app will make it easy to add sounds to images using the phone microphone or the existing sound library.  This opens new possibilities for engaging projects with students from kindergarden to middle school!

3. NEW: Interactive lesson plans 

This spring we will be piloting the use of lesson plans with ready-made interactive images and video, made available to our EDU Premium users. These standards-aligned activities will be packed with multimedia and designed to engage students in learning like never before. Stay tuned to the ThingLink Blog for Education for news about this exciting journey as our pilot unfolds.

4. NEW: Interactive virtual reality tours

Virtual Reality videos offer students a unique way to explore distant locations, environments, and events without leaving the classroom. These videos can contain clickable  notes and links — just like images and videos today on thinglink.com! During the spring ThingLink will visit events and schools to showcase the possibilities of interactive virtual reality for teaching and learning.

5. Our Expert Educator program

We are always looking to connect with talented educators who are interested in joining our group of Expert Educators. This is a great opportunity to learn, share and grow within our professional learning community. It’s also very beneficial for verified educational organizations to have a ThingLink Expert Educator on staff. If you are an educator who loves to share your passion for ThingLink with others, we encourage you to view a quick slideshow  to learn more and apply to become an expert educator. You can also contact Susan@thinglink.com to start a conversation.

6. Activate ThingLink for your whole school

A ThingLink Verified Organization account makes it easy to onboard all your students and teachers, access everyone’s work, and manage accounts. The price for premium upgrade is based on the number of students in your school and is discounted from the individual rate.  Contact us for more information and a quote!


 

Do you have questions about any of the above material? Please get in touch with our team and we will get back to you right away.  Contact us.

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THINGLINK ACTIVATES PRODUCT IMAGES ON SHOPIFY

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We are happy to announce an integration with the leading cloud-based commerce platform, Shopify. ThingLink on Shopify lets retailers drive conversion with interactive images that communicate the various product details in a quick and elegant way. Shopify currently powers over 160,000 businesses in approximately 150 countries. ThingLink powers 2 million media publishers in 190 countries.

Retailers who download the Shopify/ThingLink app can easily:

1) Annotate their product images directly on Shopify, and this way communicate details and special features on their product images,

2) Link promotional images to individual product pages

3) Add depth to their brand’s story with embedded videos and music, or

4) Collect valuable product feedback with several other call-to-action options.

ThingLink offers its users over 70 rich media tags including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Wikipedia, YouTube, Vimeo, MailChimp and PollDaddy. To embed content from these services to images, users only need to copy and paste a link from each website to the ThingLink image editor that is now directly available on each Shopify store that has downloaded ThingLink.

An additional bonus for Shopify users comes from ThingLink’s recent HTML5 integration with Facebook. Shopify sellers can now share interactive product images to Facebook and let shoppers explore items without leaving the Facebook News Feed.

Images and videos are most powerful assets for a successful online business; the key is to understand that they are not only illustration, but the place where consumer action happens. We are happy to help Shopify retailers drive engagement and conversion with interactive product images and video.

 

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Show Teacher appreciation with an upgrade to Premium EDU

The end of the year is the perfect time to show appreciation for the educators who have worked very hard to help our children learn and grow throughout the year.

With already hundreds of thousands of teachers and students using ThingLink to create interactive images and videos, parents can power up their favorite educator’s or school’s digital toolkit with a ThingLink EDU Premium account for the entire year.

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JES Debuts ThingLink Interactive Video with iTunes Store Inside Facebook News Feed

Magik Muzik recording artist JES has debuted ThingLink’s new interactive video format with iTunes Store inside Facebook News Feed.

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Bands and video producers can now use ThingLink to add music discovery, movie rentals, stores and call to action to the surface of any Facebook, YouTube or Brightcove video.

ThingLink offers over 70 unique rich media tags that let viewers browse information from 3rd party websites directly from images and videos. ThingLink’s new iTunes rich media tag includes full album listings and options to preview and buy songs.

“As visual media has become our window to the Internet, ThingLink helps online video publishers to deepen their storytelling and drive conversion with tasteful interactive storefronts and discovery options that engage fans,” says founder and CEO Ulla Engeström.

JES added, “ThingLink’s new iTunes product tag provides a new sense of discovery within music. My fans have a unique opportunity to explore, sample and download additional songs in my full catalogue all without leaving the current music video or behind-the-scenes video they are enjoying at the moment. I’m thrilled to be a part of this ever growing world of discovery that interactive content is providing.”

ThingLink interactive videos contain clickable rich media tags with several types of call to action options: storefronts, video play, email collection, and surveys. Rich media tags appear for viewers during play giving an option to explore the embedded content while pausing the video in the background.

Interactive elements in video multiply viewer engagement, including time spent and and click through rates.

Annotating a video with web links is easy. Simply copy and paste links into ThingLink’s editor. ThingLink automatically transforms and displays the web link as a rich media tag. ThingLink also offers tools to customize rich media tags with branding, icons, images,  and several font types and colors.

ThingLink interactive videos are embeddable in web pages and deliver new, real-time performance metrics from across the web, including video views, tag displays, clicks and actions, time on video, and more.

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ThingLink Interactive Videos Come to Facebook

JES Interactive Video on Facebook

ThingLink’s New HTML5 integration now plays the entire suite of ThingLink rich media objects inside of Facebook News Feed. In addition to images, ThingLink interactive videos with embedded notes and rich media links can be experienced without leaving Facebook.

We are also announcing support for annotating native Facebook videos. Publishers and brands can make Facebook videos more engaging with several call-to-action options such as email sign-up, donate, video play, Facebook “Like” and more.

Content creators on Facebook benefit in two essential ways:

New tool for building engaging Facebook experiences: The new ThingLink integration allows publishers to build engaging, visual social media experiences for their followers on Facebook. Interactive elements on images and video multiply engagement and time spent on visual posts.

Support for multi-channel publishing: ThingLink supports creating and sharing rich media content across the web. The new ThingLink Facebook integration brings easily customizable interactive video to the largest social media platform.

As social media becomes increasingly visual, publishers are looking for new ways to engage their audiences through videos and images. The ability to easily create interactive content and experience it in Facebook brings a new dimension to digital storytelling.

Read more on:

How to share interactive videos and images to Facebook News Feed?

How can I promote my ThingLink posts on Facebook?  

 

 

 

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