Tag Archives: interactive image

Using ThingLink to Express Teacher Appreciation

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 5th -9th this year and ThingLink is an amazing tool for showing teachers how much their efforts are appreciated. It’s fun, it’s flexible and users have access to all the resources available on the world wide web. Anything is possible with ThingLink.

No one would would argue that a handwritten note, card or poem from an appreciative student is something to treasure, but that type of activity only appeals to the learning styles of certain types of students. It’s safe to say that some students will not be able to create a product they are proud of to truly express their appreciation if only given one option.

Why not kick it up a notch and offer students flexible choices to ensure their success? Let students choose from a variety of options including text, images, audio and video to express themselves in a way that allows them to share their talents and take pride in their gift? All you need is a ThingLink Teacher account and access to a computing device. Create it at home or at school on any device that’s available at the time.

Show your teacher you care with a teacher appreciation gift created with ThingLink!

 

 

 

Each hand in the image above is an icon with a link to an idea to express teacher appreciation. (This is also part of a Channel that I can tweet to get some attention.)

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ThingLink Through the SAMR Lens

ThingLink Through the SAMR LensIf you are a teacher with a passion for teaching, ThingLink is an essential tool for your toolkit.  This flexible tool is well-suited for helping students dig deeper into content as they create. Learning to use ThingLink is an adventure worth exploring.

Getting Started with ThingLink

To find your starting point for learning to use ThingLink in the classroom, it’s helpful to examine the tool through the lens of the SAMR model of tech integration, developed by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, Ph.D. This model is extremely useful for the work I do to help teachers leverage the power of technology because it’s simple, easy to gauge, and something to strive for.

Teachers in the substitution and augmentation phase use technology to accomplish traditional tasks and enhance learning. These stages are necessary and should not be skipped, but the learning gain for students is the same with or without the technology.  At the modification and redefinition levels, technology is used to transform learning and embrace opportunities that are not possible without technology. At these levels, the task changes. This means that ‘Teaching Above the Line’ is where the real learning gains occurs.

 

 

ThingLink Through the SAMR Lens

ThingLink itself is a tool that starts “Above the Line”  because creating a multimedia enhanced interactive image requires technology. It is important to go through each of the stages of SAMR to avoid the pitfalls of chaos that can result by jumping in too quickly. This includes acquiring knowledge and skills to prepare for responsibly creating and publishing interactive images. Keep in mind that  the goal is to “Teach Above the Line”, but when you and your students get there, you will want to be comfortable with attribution, copyright and publishing. Start by creating and working with images.

Substitution: Create an Original Image

At the substitution level it’s important to remember that teachers are engaging in tasks that could be completed without  technology or with limited older technology. There are opportunities at this level to introduce students to the concept of copyright and intellectual property as they create original images and work with their own photos to present knowledge and ideas. All too often in school, students create posters that consist of printed images from the web, so this is a good time to stop and help them understand that those images are the intellectual property of the creator and, unless they are in the public domain or licensed for reuse, they are not free to use.

 

 

Augmentation: Create an Original Digital Image

Perhaps the most tremendous benefit of  technology is the ability to provide students with equal access to virtually unlimited resources available on an Internet connected device. At the augmentation level, technology greatly enhances the process of creating an original image because of the increased number of flexible options available. In simple terms, all student have access to an unlimited number of  colors to draw with, which exceeds the number of colors that could be available in any classroom. More importantly, the eraser is a game changing tool, unmatched with paper and pencil.

To make good use of working at the augmentation level, teachers should continue to explore digital citizenship with students and help them understand the concept of public domain and copyright free image use. Students can explore drawing and painting programs to create original digital images, and they can explore resources for finding images that are in the public domain or licensed for reuse. Additionally students can explore online resources to manipulate photos and create digital posters that they label with simple text.

The best way to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to responsibly create and publish images is to learn through constructive play. Engage students in tasks that require them to create their own original digital images to communicate ideas and demonstrate learning.

Modification: Create Interactive Images

When teachers and their students are comfortable creating and working responsibly with images, it’s time to “Teach Above the Line” with ThingLink!  The flexibility of this tool makes it well-suited for a variety of uses in the classroom. Custom icons can be used for differentiation and multimedia can be used to meet the unique learning needs of students.

At this level there is a lot of room for growth. Teachers and their students should start by creating simple interactive images about familiar concepts to get a feeling for the ease of use of the tool. After that, the sky is the limit. Start with an image. Define it through multimedia.  Present ideas. Pack it full of content. Create links to amazing sites. Explore, share and create at the modification level with ThingLink in the classroom!

Redefinition: Invent, Innovate and Inspire

At the redefinition level, teachers and their students have the ability to design a learning task or identify a goal, then make it happen with ThingLink by integrating appropriate tools from their own toolkit. ThingLink is an amazing tool at this level because it can be used to weave together a web of tools to support just about any learning experience imaginable. Use of technology at this level is seamless because it has become natural and comfortable. ThingLink provides teachers with the power to invent, innovate and inspire.

Here is an example of my most recent ThingLink invention designed to extend a One School, One Book initiative into the homes of families. In addition to sharing recorded chapters for all to enjoy, the interactive image is used to meet a variety of my own goals for integrating technology at the school. The best part about this graphic is watching it grow as new ideas develop.

Putting It All Together

Explore this SAMR and ThingLink Ladder for a big picture view of the ideas presented here.

 

 

 

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Weaving a Web of Flexible Tools with ThingLink

ThingLink is a flexible tool for teaching and learning that can be used for a wide variety of purposes in education. At it’s most basic level, teachers and students can start with an image, define it through multimedia and pack it full of content to present knowledge and ideas. It’s a great tool for teachers at any level of tech integration because of it’s simple, flexible design.

A Simple Flexible Tool

Teachers don’t need a lot of tech expertise to create a ThingLink interactive image, they just need to know how to copy and paste. My advice to teachers just starting out with ThingLink is to spend about 15 minutes engaging in constructive play to create an interactive image about something familiar, like “How to Make Sun Tea” or “Favorite Recipes”. This allows users to experience the ease of use of the tool itself without getting distracted by the possibilities that exist for designing more powerful activities. After trying the tool, teachers will soon discover that the simplicity of ThingLink will allow them to keep the focus on teaching without having to struggle with learning how to use the technology.

ThingLink images are powered by ideas and intellect. Right out of the box, teachers can use the tool to provide students with differentiated learning experiences that support unique learning styles through the use of multimedia. As teachers become more comfortable with tech integration, this flexible tool will continue to support their needs. More experienced tech users can truly test their creativity and challenge themselves to think outside of the box when designing powerful learning experiences. For this reason, ThingLink is one of the most frequently used tools in my toolkit.

My Web of Flexible Learning Tools

A flexible digital toolkit is essential for helping teachers design learning experiences that leverage the power of technology to transform learning. As I reflect on my own digital toolkit, I recognize that all of the tools I frequently use are blank canvasses powered by features I can use to design any type of learning experience I can imagine. The tools in my toolkit allow me to start with the learning goals and higher order thinking skills and make use of the technology to design learning experiences that provide students with opportunities to achieve those goals.

Please explore my web of flexible learning tools, powered by ThingLink.

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GUEST POST: Thinglink: A Tool for Journalists That Journalists Should Actually Use

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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Halloween ThingLink Style

Enjoy some Halloween ThingLinks that caught our eyes. A Happy Halloween to all!

 

 

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ThingLink: Upgrade to our Small Business Premium Starter Package: Now Self-Serve

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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ThingLink Shares First Interactive Image Benchmarks in Pivot Conference Report

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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ThingLink’s Twitter Card: Update

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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ThingLink Mobile: Now with Image on Image

ThingLink Mobile, our iOS app, is constantly evolving and here’s a brand new feature for you. In addition to the ability to add video, text and @twitter IDs to your interactive images, we’ve added the ability to add image on image. Now you can tag a photo with images from your photo gallery.   This enables you to tell a deeper story through pictures like the one below, which was  created with an iPhone and ThingLink’s Mobile app.

Journalists, teachers, students, event bloggers and  iReporters can make full use of the new feature when creating interactive ThingLink images. Now you can tell a deeper story and capture fuller moments. Here’s my story about a Blackbird which had created a nest in an unusual place to feed her young ones.

HOW TO BUILD IT: Start out by taking or selecting the image on which you would like to overlay your other images. I had this photo with bikes on it so I started with that to tell my story.

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Tap anywhere on the image to add a tag and select which kind of tag you would like to make. We’re doing image on image so head over to your gallery by clicking on “Choose from gallery”.

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Pick the image you would like to add to the image as a tag.

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As usual you can add a text tag.

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Add a few more tags, either using text, video or images, and then you’re done.

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The image is now shareable to social channels, and browsable either in the app or online at thinglink.com.

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How are you using ThingLink Mobile?

 

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ThingLink Raises $2m For Offering Interactive Image Solutions to Publishers and Brands

ThingLink has closed a $2 million financing round for offering interactive image solutions to publishers and brands, it was announced today. This is ThingLink’s second funding announcement since launching in August 2010, to bring total funding to $3.9 million.

The round was led by Helsinki-based VC firm Inventure Oy. Participants include social media and ad tech angels from New York and San Francisco including Terrapin Bale, led by former Tumblr president John Maloney, the CEO of Fremantle Media N.A. Thom Beers, the managing partner of Trimaran Capital Dean Kehler, SoundCloud CTO Eric Wahlforss, and TEKES, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.

“ThingLink has proven itself as a highly engaging media solution that enables new and creative ways for brands and consumers to connect through images. The team and I are excited to have onboard investors and advisors with strong experience in media, publishing, advertising and entertainment,” said ThingLink founder and CEO Ulla Engeström, who will relocate from Helsinki, Finland to New York City to lead the company’s growth.

As part of this funding round, ThingLink also announced new appointments to its board of directors, including Entertainment Media Ventures CEO Sandy Climan and former Facebook media sales director Craig Coblenz.

Former Meredith Publishing and Newsweek/Daily Beast executive Hillary Billingsley was also appointed as chief revenue officer.

Over 220,000 publishers, including 4 of the top 10 newspapers and 10 of the top 50 global brands, use ThingLink to transform images into an interactive surface for rich media – including video players, social links and other apps – that makes content discoverable, engageable and sellable.

Hundreds of automotive, fashion, entertainment, B2B and consumer brands have used ThingLink to introduce products, educate customers, and deploy shoppable images with interactive video, music, and information links.

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About ThingLink
ThingLink is the most popular platform for creating and distributing interactive images for blogs, web pages, social channels and advertising. ThingLink is used by more than 220,000 publishers in 46 countries, including leading newspapers and magazines, brands, digital agencies, universities, schools, and long-tail bloggers. For more information visit: ThingLink.com and ThingLinkPress.com

Contact: Neil Vineberg, CMO (+1 631 377 1494)

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