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Now teachers and students can create collections of work within the safety of their own ThingLink Teacher classroom with an exciting new feature known as Channels.

ThingLink Channels provide users with the ability to organize images into embeddable interactive albums with the click of a button. Teachers and students have the flexibility to build Channels that are connected to learning goals and compliment classroom routines.  Channels are a fantastic addition to ThingLink Teacher, with many opportunities for use for teaching and learning. 

Ways to Use ThingLink Channels

 

Create a ThingLink Channel in 3 Steps

  1. Select an image and click the Edit icon.
  2. Click on the Add to channel link, just above the image.
  3. Select a channel or Create a New Channel, then click Done.

ThingLink has plans to continue to improve the functionality of Channels. One improvement in the works is an option to arrange images within a channel. They are also exploring the possibility of adding other people’s images to a channel, with notification features. All of this is in the works! Suggestions from teachers are always welcome at ThingLink, so if you have an idea please share it.

Learn to Use New ThingLink Teacher Features

Explore a Channel of resources and tutorials to help you build your own ThingLink Classroom.

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ThingLink Custom Icon Sets are a new feature available to teachers with premium accounts. They offer  a whole new layer of opportunities for using interactive images for teaching and learning. Think of Custom Icon Sets as visual labels that can be used to further define an image and provide a glimpse of the type of content to be explored behind the link. They are fun to create and have many great uses in the classroom. Here are three ideas to get you started.

Custom Icon Sets for Differentiation

Create differentiated multimedia content launchers to help students identify resources to match their personal learning needs. Teach students to self-select content at their own ability levels. Use colors to identify 3 levels of difficulty for links to text based information.  Create Custom Icon Sets to represent types of resources, such as video, text, audio, images or games. Start simple and before you know it you will be adding layers of differentiation at a glance.

Custom Icon Sets to Guide the Learning

Take students on a journey through a collection of resources by using numbers as Custom Icon Sets on interactive images. Grab students’ attention and walk them through a path as they explore, learn and interact with content. Take students on a virtual fieldtrip, design a webquest type journey, guide them through a process or teach a specific skill. Add order to your interactive images with Custom Icon Sets.

Custom Icon Sets to Create Something Original

Here is an example of something original I created while engaging in constructive play to explore Custom Icon Sets

Create a Custom Icon Set

Explore this interactive image to view the illustrated steps for creating a Custom Icon Set. Be sure to watch the video for a guided walk through.

 

Parting Thoughts

As an early adopter of ThingLink, I’ve spent quite a bit of time designing interactive images. Throughout this time I’ve had many thoughts and ideas about creating additional icons to improve the design process, but I never dreamed of having the flexibility to design my own. I believe this amazing new feature will be extremely useful for inspiring creativity and redefining learning. This is going to be fun!

ThingLink Custom Icon Sets are available with ThingLink Teacher Premium accounts. For an upgrade, email education@thinglink.com

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ThingLink is working hard to pack teacher accounts full of useful features for building and managing the ThingLink Classroom. I am excited to be guest blogging here in February and March to demonstrate great ways to use the new features. Let’s start from the beginning by taking a look at how teachers can create a ThingLink Classroom and add students.

Create Your Own ThingLink Classroom

Good news! When teachers sign up for a ThingLink Teacher account, a classroom group is now automatically created. Just sign up and grab your own classroom to experience the benefits of collecting, organizing and viewing the work of your students in one place!

 

Create Student Accounts

ThingLink has streamlined the sign-up process by providing teachers with the power to create student accounts from a simple list of names. Just pop your list into the designated box in your ThingLink Teacher account and the system will generate a list of student logins. After the first login, students can change their passwords if they choose. This feature is sure to help students get up and running in a snap.

Explore this interactive image and be sure to watch the video to see how easy it is to create student accounts with your ThingLink Teacher account.

Launch Your ThingLink Classroom

After students have accounts within your ThingLink Classroom, it’s time to let them to try out the tool. My advice is to start with something simple for use as an exploratory activity. Let students create an interactive image with familiar content to allow them to experience the ease of use of the tool in a way that doesn’t strain their brain. After students get their feet wet, you will discover many possibilities for teaching and learning with ThingLink.

Final Thoughts

ThingLink has been my trusted tool for quite some time and  I am truly excited to watch it grow into an amazing tool for students and teachers. Stay tuned for more exciting new ThingLink Teacher features to help you build your ThingLink Classroom.

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Today ThingLink is launching a new feature called “Channel”, an easy way to organize images into embeddable interactive albums. ThingLink Channel is an exciting feature that will allow for a multitude  of new storytelling applications via rich media tags.  Below are some examples for personal, business, and educational usages:

I. Channels for Personal Use

Interactive lifestyle magazines  and and guides for travel, recipes, design, arts & crafts: Think about channel as a new way to start your own mobile magazine. If fashion or food are your passion and images are your preferred mode of expression, you can now start your own interactive magazine on ThingLink. ThingLink Channel works as a YouTube Channel: you can update it anytime and when you add new content it will be shown to your followers.

Interactive family albums: We all have our cameras full of images and videos of our pets and kids. With ThingLink you can combine the best of your gallery, adding notes, quotes, and music to images, ultimately creating albums that allow you to travel back in time and remember how your darlings looked and sounded just a couple of years ago!

Interactive slide sets and storybooksOnce you start using interactive image channels for your professional presentations, you can forget about powerpoint and keynote and problems with large file sizes. Not only will your slides be more visual, they can now play music, show video or embed any content from the web. Sharing? Just share your channel URL and people can replay your content at any time.

II. Channels for Businesses

If you run a small or large business, ThingLink Channel will be your new favorite tool for creating engaging material on social media. From now on, you can serve fans and followers interactive product catalogs and PR images.

For publishers, interactive image channels work both in display or native advertising. Contact us at sales @thinglink.com to learn more!

III. Channels for Teachers Teachers can use ThingLink Channels to organize student homework and projects. For example, a history teacher could create a channel for each course they are teaching this semester and have students add their homework to this channel.  At the end of the semester, a channel will become a collection of student work that can be shared with other classes and studied for examinations.

Start using ThingLink image channels with 3 simple steps:

1. Above every image, you will see an “add to channel” link

  2. Select a channel or create a new one by clicking “new channel”     3. Now click “done”. To view your images as a slideshow, click the slideshow button on the left.  Some channel functionality will still improve, such as adding an option to arrange images within the channel, as well as the possibility to add other people’s images into a channel and be notified when that happens. All of this is in the works! If there is anything else you would like to see, as always, please let us know!

 

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Have you checked the latest update of ThingLink iOS App?

 

Automatic tagging
photo 4 (1) - Copy

In order to make ThingLink fun and fast, we are adding 2 images and 1 info tag on each of your newly created ThingLink image.
Before saving, you can delete those 3 tags or add more tags if you like.

 

Visual editor

photo 2 (2) - Copy

Now you can preview, right from the editor, your  link tags, video tags, image tags and other tags.

 

Download ThingLink App NOW, it is free.

 

 

 

 

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ThingLink has just launched a new feature: hashtags. Hashtags are handy searchable smart phrases that will make it easier to search and follow interesting content on ThingLink. In this post Susan Oxnevad writes about how hashtags can be used to accomplish some important classroom tasks, and how they can provide teachers and students with a way to easily organize ThingLink content within a safe learning environment.

Use ThingLink Hashtags to Easily Organize Content

1. Create Classroom Hashtags
Create a classroom hashtag and use it to help students quickly search for interactive images created by their own group. Keep it simple and slightly unique, try something like #Oxnevad101.

2. Create School Hashtags
If you are lucky enough to have a few colleagues in your school to explorie ThingLink EDU with, consider creating a school hashtag, like #BeyeSchool, to connect and collaborate. Teach students to use multiple hashtags to organize their searchable content.

3. Create Content Specific Hashtags
Create content specific hashtags to collaborate with members of the ThingLink EDU community. If you want to extend your reach, use the hashtags in your classroom Tweets too.

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4. Use ThingLink Hashtags to Address Internet Safety

Use avatars and pen names to remind students about Internet safety every time they create an interactive image. Students can create and use their own custom avatar icon to identify and organize their images, They can pop hashtags into the image description. They can create and use their own avatar pen name hashtags to protect their identities when online while providing them with opportunities to express themselves through their own personal ThingLink identity.

5. Use ThingLink Hashtags to Teach Students to Search
With the Internet in our pockets, searching has become an extremely important and useful skill to teach our students. Using hashtags can help students understand how the Internet is organized while allowing them to participate in the organizational process. Students can use multiple hashtags on every interactive image they create, but start simple and grow your hashtag network through experience.

6. Use ThingLink Hashtags to Collaborate & Connect
Teachers can invent and use ThingLink hashtags to collaborate with others and expand your personal learning network. Use hashtags to search and find content to target current initiatives and best practices. Here are a few ideas:
- Bloom’s Higher Order Thinking Skills
- Levels of Difficulty
- Multimedia Type
- Common Core State Standards

Try ThingLink Hashtags today!

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By Stacey Decker

It’s a premise familiar to online journalists: There’s a new tool for creating interactives. It’s sleek and it has the potential to increase reader engagement. Fast forward 6 months and you can’t even remember your login information to get on the site. (Let’s hope you know your mother’s maiden name.)

Online tools are a lot like real tools that way—some just collect dust. In modern newsrooms, where journalists are strapped for time, new forms of storytelling need to have a high impact, but a low barrier to entry. ThingLink has those elements. For us at Education Week, it’s a useful resource … and one that we actually use.

Why We Use Thinglink

There are a few complex features of ThingLink that are especially impressive. The interface is extremely user-friendly. Thinglink is integrated with other platforms we already use, like YouTube and Soundcloud. Thinglink provides publishers with a lot of useful analytics about images and viewer behavior, including hovers and clicks. And the site has an engaged community.

But the real beauty of Thinglink is its simplicity. It’s easy to conceptualize a story that works in this format. There aren’t any prerequisites to begin using the tool, other than a good idea. And that good idea gives back. Embed a Thinglink on your site and you can take create an immersive experience on any page.

How We Use Thinglink

At Education Week, we have two main uses for Thinglink:

1. Narrative Storytelling

When using Thinglink to tell a story, we let our photography take the lead. The context, links, and additional material we layer on ties everything together. In this example (now with more than 4,000 views), images, text, and audio, converge to reveal the complexities of arming educators:

2. Infographics and Resource Multimedia Thinglink can be helpful to journalists looking for interesting ways to present data, information, and tips and tricks. In our most popular Thinglink to date (with almost 20,000 views), we used the tool to show our audience of educators how to teach students to vet research materials:

Three Tips for Journalists

If I’ve convinced you to try Thinglink, here’s some helpful advice:

1. Look at what other publishers are doing.

Plenty of newspapers—international, national, and local—are using Thinglink to show off their front pages, section fronts, and $126 billion dollar magazine covers. Others have gotten more inventive. The Washington Post partnered with Thinglink on their coverage of the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The Guardian has used Thinglink to layer videos and archival material on top of infographics. Mashable’s used it to make a holiday gift guide. And Discovery Communications has worked with Thinglink to use the tool as a way to deliver advertising.

2. Look at what everybody else is doing.

Commercial outfits like Home Depot, State Farm, and Groupon are using Thinglink to share tips and promote products and services. Thinglink’s unaffiliated users are arguably the most innovative, using the medium to enhance posters, illustrations, maps, and historical photos.

3. Experiment and Edit.

The best way to get acquainted with Thinglink is to upload an image and start tagging. (If you want to do this in private, change your image visibility to “unlisted” until you’ve got your image the way you want it.) Look for additional media (videos, audio, photos, tweets, etc.) to make your images richer. But don’t overdo it; tags shouldn’t overwhelm your image. In the same vein, keep tag descriptions short. And think about the order of your tags. In the end, your Thinglink should service your reader.

Bonus Tip: Get the browser plugin. (It’s a huge time saver.)

I look forward to seeing more of the creative and complex ways newsrooms and publishers put this tool to work for them.


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Stacey Decker is Online News Editor at Education Week (www.edweek.org), America’s source for news and opinion on K-12 education issues.

 

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If you’re a startup, a small-to-medium sized business, a not-for-profit, a political action committee, an indie record label, a college, a small publisher or a professional educator interested in using ThingLink’s premium features, now you can upgrade online to our Small Business Premium Starter Package.

For as little as $250 you get an annual account license with:

  • 50,000 Views — Add more views as you need them.
  • Unlimited Images — Post an unlimited number of images to your account.
  • Multi-User – Invite multiple team members and colleagues into your group/channel to create, distribute and manage images.
  • Make Images Public, Private, Unlisted — Set a preference for each image and control views – from public to private to unlisted.
  • Advanced Dashboard — Get detailed metrics on how your images and content perform, and metrics for web and social channels where your images are shared.
  • Personalized Icons — Upload company logos and graphics to customize your images.
Premium Small Business includes comprehensive performance metrics on each image.

Premium Small Business includes comprehensive performance metrics on each image.

 

Upgrade to Premium Small Business today and start driving higher engagement for your images on web pages and social channels.

Questions? Write Sales@ThingLink.com.

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Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 11.30.52 AMThe Interactive Image Revolution – How Top Brands are Powering Engagement,” a report presented today at the Pivot Conference, features the first independent analysis of ThingLink interactive image performance and its use by major publishers and brands.

To obtain a specific sense of ThingLink’s impact on ad fundamentals, The Pivot Conference and ThingLink worked together during the summer of 2013 to study ThingLink programs of companies across four core categories: Editorial Web, Editorial Social, Brand Web and Brand Social. In each case, actual, live ThingLink implementations were examined. In each category, 15 ThingLink enabled images were studied.

The results of the study show a dramatic impact for ThingLink images as response generators. At a time when banner ad click rates subsist between .01% and .04%, depending on source, ThingLink delivered an average click rate of between 5.7% and 16%. Not only was the overall response rate breathtakingly high, the study indicated some clear reasons why.

According to Mike Edelhart, CEO of Pivot, who authored the report, “One of the reasons ThingLink’s information-embedding approach has power is because it transforms an image from a single object, clickable or not, into a cornucopia of information choices. This produces an engagement intensification that neither standard images nor content approaches can deliver.”

ThingLink content elements generated “hover” engagement at up to nearly 4X the level of views. This means a ThingLink image can generate four interactions from a single view. At the lowest level, ThingLink produced a 50% secondary engagement per view. Any one of these intensified interactions can be the trigger for a click.

“In short, the information-enabled image appears to be a more powerful tool for generating clicks than any other we have seen before,” said Edelhart.

The ThingLink study shows clearly that the more information options in an image – shown on the table as number of Tags – the higher the engagement intensification. That doesn’t necessarily lead directly to higher click rates, but it certainly increases the potential for maximization.

Another view of ThingLink’s power can be seen by diving into the performance of Groupon’s program in the summer of 2013. Across six different products, ThingLink produced a remarkable click rate of 16% and an intensification of 96%, which means that nearly all of those who viewed the images saw the additional content that ThingLink delivered. In essence, that is a fundamental doubling of engagement; each user sees both the image itself and at least one additional piece of content on each view. We feel it is this essential intensification that drives ThingLink’s high response rates.

In addition to studying how others use ThingLink, Pivot itself used the platform to enhance promotion and information delivery for the Conference.

“We addressed the challenge of bringing a star-studded preview video about Pivot to our home page without pushing other key content below the fold by embedded the video thumbnail into our home page header with ThingLink,” noted Edelhart.  “There was a 41% increase in new traffic to Pivot’s external marketing programs after creating a Thinglink button to promote the program within Pivot’s web header.”

Pivot Conference also used ThingLink to transform the images of Pivot’s speakers into information launch pads.  “With ThingLink we were able to bring web pages, social connections, bios, videos and other speaker background right into the pictures,” added Edelhart.  There was an increase in the average time on the speaker section of Pivot’s website from 3:07 to 4:04. Conference organizers also received a gush of pleasure from Pivot’s generally hard to please speakers to this implementation, as many asked to include additional content within their pictures on the site.

For more information visit ThingLink.com. For a copy of the report visit the Pivot Conference.

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urlWhen Twitter launched Twitter Cards last year, ThingLink was the first interactive image solution approved by Twitter. Thanks to you, we’ve expanded the possibilities for engagement on Twitter beyond even their expectations.

While Twitter continues to evolve and refine the Twitter Card program, the Player Card that enables ThingLink is being scaled back to focus on video and audio solutions only. As a result, ThingLink will transition to an interim Twitter Card.

Here’s how it works:  When you post a ThingLink image to Twitter, viewers on desktop and mobile devices will see the image with icons indicating interactivity just like before. Those icons will no longer be interactive inside Twitter.  A click on the image, title or the URL provided with the tweet will lead the viewer to the interactive image on the user’s channel at ThingLink.com.

Because a majority of viewers on Twitter click back to ThingLink anyway, we think this solution will advantage both viewers and brands sharing ThingLink images on Twitter.

The current Twitter Player Card will remain active until September 30 after which all ThingLink users will transition to the interim Twitter Card.

For more visual information, check our slideshare presentation about this transition.

In the coming months we will be working with Twitter to enable a new Twitter Card type that enables interactive functionality on Twitter and delivers a consistent performance on both web and mobile devices.

Twitter is also requesting feedback from ThingLink about the kinds of Card experiences our publishers want to see inside the Twitter channel. Please send us your feedback on how you would like ThingLink images to perform inside Twitter.

In the meanwhile, if you have any questions about ThingLink and Twitter,  please contact our COO Cyril Barrow.

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