The following is a post written by Laura Moore and published on the Sutori Blog on November 14, 2017. Laura is a K-12 Technology Integrator for North East Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas. Laura is a longtime ThingLink Certified Educator who continues to amaze us with her talents and innovative ideas for embracing technology for learning. Explore Laura's work on ThingLink and Sutori. Connect with her on Twitter at @LearnMooreStuff and follow her amazing blog, Learn Moore Stuff.
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could design a lesson any way you wanted without platform limitations?
The term App Smash was coined by Greg Kulowiec (@gregkulowiec), who shares much of his work and thinking on his website, The History 2.0 Classroom. After working with iPads for some time, he quickly realized the following,
“Most processes couldn’t be completed with just one app. While many apps slightly overlap in terms of functionality, there tends to be a few black holes in each app that require the use of another app to complete the process.”
The same can be said for web-based tools such as G Suite. In a perfect world, I would have the ability to embed content within a Google Doc. There are a few hacks you can use to embed a YouTube video, but it’s really not the same. When platforms allow you to work in conjunction with other platforms, then your “what if?” can become a reality.
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:
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.
Make ThingLink your solution for iReporting on the world around you. Whether you’re a journalist, a cause-related advocate or a student, images are an ideal way to tell a deeper, more engaging story about your world with video players, text, Twitter links, and more embedded right in your images. And you can do it with ThingLink’s web app and mobile app.
@EduardCousin and @HoqookEnglish publish daily updates in Twitter and Facebook on the situation in Egypt using ThingLink to host status links and related media coverage.
HoqookEnglish5:45am via Facebook
The news from #Egypt brought by Hoqook: Deadly clashes erupted in cities at the Suez Canal, in the Delta and in… fb.me/20riE2INm
Blogger @ryanburdick shares yummy restaurant reviews on ThingLink images.
The Press-Enterprise newspaper reported on the Perseid meteor shower with an annotated graphic that added a deeper dimension to a story that appeared in their online edition.
Adam Broitman reported on the Citibike program in NYC with a ThingLink image.
The summer sun has given our developers an extra boost and we have a sunny surprise for our users and the organizers of the TED conferences. You can now create TED Rich Media Tags with Thinglink!
Just insert TED talk URLs straight into a tag’s link field and it will turn it into a video tag much in the same way as our previous YouTube and Vimeo video tags. We love the innovation and inspiration TED brings to the world and we want to make it easy for everyone to embed and share TED videos on their images.
Follow the following steps to create your own TED image tags and help spread the videos around the world:
1. Take any TED talk URL such as this one: http://www.ted.com/talks/rebecca_mackinnon_let_s_take_back_the_internet.html
We have a nice little update for you that many have been asking for. One of ThingLink’s core features is the possibility to embed tagged images anywhere on the web. Embeddable features have always been a useful addition to other services such as YouTube, Flickr and Soundcloud, enabling the dynamic spread of great content across blogs or other websites. ThingLink now enables you to track all of the places where your images have been embedded, allowing you to see who is using your images and where.
The feature is located on ThingLink’s dashboard above each of your images, but naturally if the image hasn’t been embedded elsewhere there is only one location (in the example below you would only see the URL http://lovegolf.tumblr.com). We believe that the updated embed feature opens up new perspectives for ThingLink’s users that want to either launch campaigns and track them in real time or just see how their images are spreading around the world.
Now if you haven’t tried the embed feature yourself, you can try it out by hovering the top left corner and selecting embed image. This gives you a snippet of code which anyone can embed on any site to make your tagged image appear. The best thing is that if you have links or tagged media in your image, the links and media still point to the place you specified regardless of where the image is embedded.