Tag Archives: tags

New feature: Upload Your Own Sound Recordings (or other audio files) to ThingLink Images!

Starting today, ThingLink PRO and PREMIUM users can upload MP3 and M4A audio files directly into ThingLink tags. This means you have another cool way to make your images truly engaging with narration, interviews, nature sounds, music, or sound effects. The audio files will autoplay on mouseover.


 

How to create Audio Tags

Creating Audio Tags is as easy as creating your standard image tag. Click to create your tag, then in the tag editor, click the Upload Audio button. Select an MP3 or M4A file from your computer to upload and you’re ready to listen! Audio tags will autoplay when opened, so you can also add an image and text, and let the audio play in the background.

Ways to Use Audio Tags

Audio tags are great for adding narration, nature sounds, interviews, your own music, or editorial comments that give context or create a special ambiance for your image.

Here, an audio file from NASA takes this image from purely visual to a multi-sensory experience. The audio also increases the time the viewer spends on the tag as they listen to the clip instead of just glancing at the image.

In this 360 image, the creator narrates the text in each tag. Not only does this create a more rich experience, it results in a more accessible image that can be enjoyed by those who may not be able to read the text. For teachers, this is a great way to encourage your students to create in many mediums.

Try it Out

Ready to test it out? Here’s a project to help you get started with audio tags. Make sure that you have one of our paid plans to access this feature.

Introducing Your Class

In this project, we’ll be using ThingLink and audio tags to provide a brief introduction to your class.

To start, upload a background image that represents your subject. I’d just suggest an image of your classroom or school.

Now, record a few audio clips that will help give the space context. I suggest using Sound Recorder on a PC or Quicktime on a Mac. If you have an iPhone, you can use Voice Memos, and send them to your email.  Here are some prompts to help you come up with some audio clips:

  • Why did you get started in teaching?
  • Explain the space around you. What can we see in this image?
  • Where is this space located? If someone wanted to visit your school, how can they?
  • What do you teach? Tell us all about your subject.

Back on your image, click to add a new tag. In the icon selector choose the play button, audio symbol, or microphone so viewers receive a visual prompt to what they’re unlocking. Now, use the Upload Audio button to add one of your clips. If you want, add an image and text as well to give your audio a label.

If you’d like to add a sound you can’t record yourself, try searching freesound.org. They host thousands of audio clips sourced from members that you can download and add. Find anything from the wind in the trees, to a helicopter whirring, to the sound of a barbecue being opened.


Now that you’ve learned all about audio tags it’s time to get started! If you don’t yet have the feature you can purchase a plan that includes it here. If you want to learn more about how to use this and all our other features, schedule a demo with a ThingLink expert. Happy Tagging!

 

 

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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 and WTF Helsinki Launch Interactive Book for iPad

ThingLink, the largest interactive image community for businesses and consumers, and Helsinki-based advertising agency WTF Helsinki, today announced the launch of an interactive book player for iPad powered by ThingLink.

The book, called Finnish Design Thinking, features 52 Finnish companies within design and technology. The iPad version of the book, powered by ThingLink, features interactive images with branded content, links and videos presenting contextual content on the topic.

”The consumption of the web is moving to mobile and we are pleased to work with WTF Helsinki on an interactive book that combines image viewing with a touch-based browsing experience,” said ThingLink CEO Ulla Engeström.

“The ability to touch and discover content inside ThingLink interactive images delivers a more compelling consumer experience around images that drives engagement and a stronger sense of a brand,” says Pauliina Savolainen – CEO, WTF Helsinki.

 

About WTF Helsinki

‘WTF Helsinki is a creative agency currently operating in Finland and the Baltic region. Our state of mind empowers to define and design new concepts while challenging existing idea. WTF Helsinki is idea driven rather than industry specific, and our customer base incorporates both ends of the business spectrum – from the Baltic’s biggest hotel chain to a small potato farm in Vuojalahti, Finland. We firmly believe that everyone is unique and find divergence a positive attribute that can help a company excel in its field. While we operate out of Helsinki and Tallinn, the world is our playing field’. -Pauliina Savolainen –

www.wtfhelsinki.fi

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Add Interactive Photos to your Bandzoogle Website with ThingLink

This is originally a guest post by ThingLink’s CMO Neil Vineberg for Bandzoogle.

Using photos as a design element in web design is a powerful way to connect with fans. Great fan connections start with compelling photos. Bandzoogle makes it easy to add your best images to your website and also supplies a wide assortment of stock images that make your Bandzoogle site look awesome.

By using ThingLink, Bandzoogle users can make those personal and stock photos interactive with audio and video players, social links and social sharing.

What is ThingLink?
ThingLink is a free app that turns any photo in a platform for content and sharing. By activating a ThingLink account alongside Bandzoogle, you can make your website photos interactive. Add music and video players. Sell merch and albums inside photos. Place any interactive photo as an app on your Facebook fan page. And fans viewing your interactive photos can share them across their social networks and embed them in blogs and tumblrs, extending the power of your Bandzoogle site through images that live across the Web.

Who is Using ThingLink?
ThingLink has been popular with labels and artists like Van Halen, Keane, Evanescence, Seether, Blink-182, Gorillaz. Hundreds and thousands of bands like JCQ from the UK and Conveyor from Paper Garden Records in Brooklyn, NY, also make images interactive with ThingLink.

Why Interactive? It’s all about Engagement
Fans like to discover stuff. If you’re building a fan base, Interactive images can help you engage fans in content discovery and position content (an audio player song sample) on an image right next points of sale (shopping tags for Amazon, eBay, iTunes, BestBuy and more).

Thanh Nguyen, digital marketer at Atlantic Records, who has promoted albums by Jason Mraz, Simple Plan, Christina Perri, and Bruno Mars, uses ThingLink to “aggregate and link back to all of the band’s social properties” and he suggests that promoters “customize the offering as much as possible…make sure the content is compelling.”

Nick Lippman, manager of Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20, sees ThingLink as a way of “promoting the different avenues an artist and a brand are trying to get out simultaneously, such as single, new video, new tour dates, fan club opportunities, contests and more – all in one place!”

Go Facebook Interactive
In addition to adding interactive images to a Bandzoogle website, ThingLink is a DIY editor for creating apps for Facebook pages. Now any interactive concert poster or CD cover with links can appear as a Tab (App) on your Facebook Fan Page. Here’s how.

Lynn Grossman, at Secret Road Music Services, used ThingLink on Facebook to preview tunes from Songbook, the new album by Ingrid Michaelson. “We came up with the idea of publishing an embeddable online songbook that would preview a song a day, offer downloadable lyrics to the song and have her talking about the meaning of each song leading up to the day of the release. The goal was for people to engage with the songbook daily for 2 weeks and to share this experience on their social media sites. Thinklink proved to be the perfect solution.” The click through rate on this campaign was >80%.

What Can You Add With an Interactive Photo

  • Showcase your videos, sound clips and social links inside a photo.
  • Add iTunes, Amazon or Topspin sales tags to an album cover image.
  • Add a Bandzoogle tag featuring your band’s URL so viewers can link back to your Bandzoogle webpage
  • Create a Tab on your Facebook fan page featuring your interactive image.

What Can you Do with your Image App on Facebook

  • Post a concert tour poster with interactive links
  • Publish a concert image with sound or video links
  • Turn a merch package image into a store with sales tags.

What Kinds of Tags can you use on your images?
Check this slideshare of ThingLink Rich Media Tags.

 

In addition to these awesome tags, you can add any URL and up to a 1500 character description to a tag and it will show up as a tag.

Get Started with ThingLink
Sign up for a free account at ThingLink.com. Bandzoogle users will receive a free year of ThingLink PLUS when you use coupon code “ILuvBandzoogle” during the signup for PLUS.

Setting up Bandzoogle and ThingLink
Now that you’re signed up on ThingLink, here’s how to make your Bandzoogle images interactive.

1. Locate your Thinglink account embed code.

2. Copy the embed code to clipboard.

3. Open your Bandzoogle site and go to Bandzoogle’s “Design & Options”.

4. Click “Footer Text” on left side menubar.

5. Paste the contents of the clipboard to the Footer Text box. If you already have some existing contents, just make sure that you don’t overwrite them, but put the code after the content.

6. Click Save.

While you are logged into Thinglink, log into Bandzoogle at the same time. You can edit your images at Bandzoogle as long as your Thinglink.com account is also open.

For questions about ThingLink, visit ThingLink’s support forum.

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ThingLink Launches e-Commerce Tags For iTunes And Topspin, Offers New Options For SoundCloud Users

ThingLink, the provider of in-image interaction tools and Rich Media Tags, today announced the creation of exclusive e-commerce tags for Apple Inc’s online retail platform, iTunes and independent artist promotional platform, Topspin. Artists hosting their music through wider audio creators platform SoundCloud can now also import third party ‘buy’ links to their profiles via ThingLink’s Rich Media Tag system.

From today, music artists and their promoters can embed ‘buy now’ links to iTunes or to a Topspin custom store in the images they use throughout the web. Any hosted image – from artist pictures, album cover art or event photography – can now be converted into an ad hoc music store, providing an innovative and engaging new method of getting new music into the hands of those who want it most.

“By providing an embeddable, direct route to purchase, ThingLink’s e-commerce tags remove another barrier between artists and fans looking to buy their music,” commented Neil Vineberg, ThingLink CMO. “As a team we’re keen to progress the conversation on how music retail is evolving, and teaming up with platforms of the calibre of iTunes, Topspin and SoundCloud can only help us to achieve that aim.”

First announced in June this year, ThingLink has brought a new dimension to images on the web via Rich Media Tags, transforming static images into navigational platforms. From hand-drawn artwork to professional photography, Rich Media Tags can be applied to any image and already allow the in-image embedding of links from some of the world’s leading social content platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and many more.

“We at Topspin are fans of any method of distributing artist offers, especially when the method is as simple and powerful as adding ‘buy now’ links to artist images,” says Ian Rogers, Topspin CEO. “Photos are a big source of traffic for artists, so it makes sense to attach links to artist offers and let those images travel the web.”

For more information on creating Rich Media Tags, visit ThingLink or check out out most awesome Music Guide instructing you how to make the most out of the service.

 

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Why I Love ThingLink – On the Disruptive Potential of In-Image Linking

This post was originally featured  on the Tumblr of the newest member of our team, Jake Cox but we wanted to lift it up for all ThingLink users to see. The post not only presents Jake as a person but it also delivers a great vision of how we think about image tagging and its disruptive nature.

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Why I Love ThingLink – On the Disruptive Potential of In-Image Linking

Some estimates put the number of images online at over 90 billion as of early 2011.  At the same time, brands are starting to spend more ad dollars online than they are through traditional media channels.  The photo sharing and online ad spend trends are unlikely to reverse, given the near ubiquity and rapid adoption of internet and social media on the part of consumers globally.  For publishers, retailers, advertisers and consumers, in-image linking opens up new avenues for how we all interact with web content.  The image has become a platform for engagement.  This paper explores the implications of ThingLink in-image linking and discusses the businesses that are most well suited to capitalize on it.

 

Why I Love It

Publisher’s Perspective

Publishers have been relying on CPM, PPC and affiliate advertising, among others, but ThingLink opens up new revenue opportunities to anyone with a blog.  With the Savalanche and Amazon Associates partnerships, any publisher now has a checkout window within his or her blog.  Adding a layer of point-of-sale functionality to images will allow established affiliate partnerships to become much cozier, and it gives some leverage to publishers who would like to try some affiliate marketing. 

Fashion blogs, lifestyle blogs, you name it—every image you put on your site can now be a surface for advertisements.  If you’re a hotel and you want to give visitors to your site a unique experience, how about something like I’ve done below.  (Links are not for actual hotel products.)

 

You give anyone who visits your site the ability to buy your plush pillows or your Egyptian Cotton sheets—at once you make your brand seem more personal and you open yourself up to additional revenue streams.

Most importantly for publishers, every visitor becomes much more valuable.  As ThingLInk illustrates on its blog, the CTR for in-image advertisement links is between 1.5% and 5%: much higher conversion rates than the <1% CTR banner ads typically see.  In many cases the ThingLink number is 50X higher.  So for publishers who don’t choose to pursue affiliate marketing but prefer CPM campaigns, the number they demand can be much higher.

Also, musicians will absolutely love this product.  See below how the ThingLinkteam has enabled Youtube videos or SoundCloud songs to stream without navigating away from the photo.

Finally, ThingLink opens up all sorts of opportunities for destination branding.  Five minutes with Powerpoint and New Hampshire looks like someplace I’d consider visiting for some summer vacation time. (Though I’ve hardly done the idea justice.)  

This type of strategy could be employed by agencies with destination clients, or the destinations themselves could easily execute on something like this.  By making images interactive, ThingLink can bring something staid an entirely new life, and it’s all so easy to learn.

Writer’s Perspective

This point is certainly tied somewhat into what the publisher will experience, but Writer as profession is undergoing some major shifts today.  The free content on blogs diminishes readers’ necessity for buying a subscription to their favorite paper.  But ThingLink puts a little bit of power back in the hands of any wordsmith.

Including pictures with articles is an simple addition for writers, and it already makes their posts more engaging.  In the New York Times a few weeks ago, there was a story about how sugar consumption might lead to some types of cancer.  The author could have included in it something like the pic below, helping to tell the story.

Lets say you’re not a professional writer, but that instead you work in promotions.  There’s only so much text that potential customers are willing to read.  But pictures can attract a lot of attention, especially when the pictures have extra information inside of them.  Summer Stage promoters could use something like I’ve created below to help spread the word about the festival.

By putting music inside of pictures, you serve the double function of giving your reader more information as well as increasing the likelihood that people will show up at your event.  Bands and brands using ThingLink soon will have the ancillary benefit of positive PR from being an early adopter.

 

Retailer’s Perspective

Since ThingLink turns any image into a potential checkout window, savvy retailers will soon realize they can earn a windfall by placing images of their products on blogs.  Take golf balls, for example.     Let’s say your website sells golf balls, and you’re looking for ways to grow your business.  Why not partner with a photographer who can take amazing photos like the one from your author below.  The partnership would make sense as it might generate revenue for both parties.

Certainly one potential shortfall of broad ThingLink adoption is that photo owners might not want to taint their precious image with dots.  I think there are practical ways around this issue, but its worth pointing out that, as good of a tool as this is, there is some potential for hiccups.   Another interesting application for ThingLink involves restaurants.  People have sufficiently demonstrated that they appreciate food pictures.  So why not do something like the pic below.   Food reviewers can easily make their posts more engaging by putting the information that they don’t want to include in the actual post, inside the picture. Restaurants themselves can even utilize this technique for growing the brand.

 

Advertiser’s Perspective

Not that advertising agencies don’t have enough on their hands, but now that every one of the 90 billion images online has the potential to serve as an ad, I suspect agencies and freelancers will soon be offering “In-Image Linking Ad Solutions” to their clients.  The technology ThingLink brings to the table obviously opens up a massive stream of possibilities, and I am anticipating an ecosystem evolving around this platform.  ThingLink is building the infrastructure that will support a better way to advertise.

Average Internet User

Remember VH1’s “Pop Up Video”?  Well, ThingLink is sort of like Pop Up Video for images.  And just like that was hugely popular, this is going to be hugely popular.  And I think one of the biggest reasons is this: ThingLink makes browsing pictures more fun.

Of course, it’s impossible to say what the adoption curve will look like—will it be a hockey stick spanning this next decade?  Will it reach a plateau in the next year?  To me, both seem possible.  As with any social technology, becoming hugely popular depends on actual, real human beings using your product.  There’s going to be a learning curve for people to figure out how to best utilize this new tool, but I believe that a well-executed ThingLinked image is magnitudes better than a plain image, so the incentive is certainly there for people to figure it out.

Some anecdotal evidence shows that there might be an optimal number of links to include in an image.  About my ThingLinked images, a friend said to me, “When you scroll over a picture and see the dots pop up, it makes me want to scroll over each one to see what it says” [emphasis mine].  There’s a little cloak of mystery around the dots, so optimizing the number of dots we include will be part art, part science—balancing the desire to attract click-throughs with the knowledge that one link is good, two might be great, but 20 is overload.

“In Pop Up Video”, there were usually two or three Pop Ups per scene.  I imagine something in the 2-5 range will be optimal for most uses—and, as a consumer of internet, that’s the range that seems most likely to draw me in—but I could see some scenarios—submitting captions for a New Yorker cartoon, for example—in which the best ThingLink photos could contain dozens of links, especially when the publisher has allowed “Anyone to Edit” the tags.  (Readers, add your best caption to the image below and that would be awesome.  I will definitely give you an @ tweet if it’s good.)

Conclusion

Overall, if I’m a product analyst, I am recommending an investment in ThingLink.  For one, it makes the image browsing experience better.  Products that make the internet better for the average user tend to become fairly popular.  So I say the odds are good that ThingLink becomes fairly popular, and it’s important for all companies to answer the call when innovation rings.

There are tremendous business possibilities when you leverage the ThingLink economics.  I’ve outlined a few of those ways in the preceding paragraphs, but I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface. Try it out and I think you’ll like it.

ThingLink turns images into an engagement platform.  Pretty cool.

[Find inspiration in the ThingLink Gallery]

 

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ThingLink and Eventbrite Launch Ticket Purchases From Images

ThingLink, the leading provider of in-image interaction tools, and online events platform Eventbrite have today announced an integration partnership to allow direct ticket purchases from images. Eventbrite users will now be able to boost attendance wherever they use web-based images to promote their events, via the incorporation of ThingLink’s unique Rich Media Tags to the ticket-selling platform. Event flyers, promotional images and other listings can now be transformed into direct selling platforms, linking users and potential customers directly to an Eventbrite listing.

ThingLink allows our users a greater level of flexibility and customer interaction when promoting their events,” commented Mitch Colleran, Eventbrite Partner Manager. “As well as providing a direct selling platform, ThingLink will allow our users to bring their promotional images to life with video, audio and whatever social features they desire.

Our aim with Rich Media Tagging is to empower online images with all of the functionality of the modern web and through this latest collaboration with Eventbrite we have brought on board a true market leader,” added ThingLink Chief Marketing Officer Neil Vineberg. “In-image purchases remove a barrier between ticket holders and event goers, as well as open up a new realm of creativity for those building flyers and promotional imagery for their events.


This is how you set it up

By now you probably want to try it out and promote your own event. Here is an easy 8-step tutorial on how to sign up for ThingLink and Eventbrite in order to start creating and using your own ThingLink/Eventbrite Tag.

1. Sign up for ThingLink. We’ll come back to this.

2. Sign in to or sign up for Eventbrite

3. At Eventbrite, search for an event that you want to feature in your image or create a new event.

4. Fill out the event registration and Save and publish the event.

5. Copy the event’s URL link. It should look something like this: http://sfmts9.eventbrite.com

6. Single tag an image or ThingLink-enable all your images on the site where you want to show the images. Paste the event’s URL in the link field of the tag editor. The editor will state that this will become an Eventbrite tag. You don’t need to enter a description.

7. Voila!

8. Watch the ticket sales roll in. Remember that ThingLink also offers many more Rich Media Tags such as YouTube, Flickr, Soundcloud and Wikipedia.

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ThingLink: Engaging Students in Learning and Discovery

“I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. I wanted to empower them to have a voice through creating, collaborating, and connecting,” writes Shannon Miller, a librarian, teacher, and technology specialist in her blog, Van Meter Library Voice.

ThingLink turns images into a platform for rich media. Educators and students can take any photo and add video and audio clips that play inside the image. You can also add Wikipedia links, Flickr images, annotations, and include social touch points like Twitter and Facebook.

Images now become a platform for creating, collaborating and connecting, because ThingLink images are far more engaging than static jpgs with viewers clicking through to content as high as 50% of the time.

Lets take an example from one of the key moments, or maybe The Key Moment in American history; The Declaration of Independence. John Trumbull’s famous painting –pictured below– is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. However, it’s rich with taggable content, and a great example of how ThingLink can be used as a fun participant/community driven educational tool.

“Tools like ThingLink “have potential for increasing our own productivity, for enhancing our teaching, for organizing our information resources and/or for helping students learn,” says Donna Baumbach who publishes WebTools4u2Use, a popular wiki for school library media specialists.

A large quantity of historical imagery is available for educational use without charge. Using images in education is a great way to get students to interact and enhance peer-to-peer learning. Let us say students in groups of two or more each choose an image filled with taggable content, research the image and tag it accordingly during a set period of time. They can then give the image over to another group who can further explore the image and learn about what the previous group created in the image. In the process a great deal is gained; learning to do research, using technology, spurring team work and last but not least, digesting the educational content in the image at hand.

 

Teaching and learning through images

Returning to the image above; as you can see, the tags have been used to virtually demonstrate not only the people behind the Declaration, but also provide the viewer with other rich media content, demonstrating there is only the limit of creativity. Not only does ThingLink make your teaching more fun, it helps establish two-way communication inside classrooms. Everyone can be a teacher and a learner with ThingLink. It can drive students into a concise, creative group, and help spur rich ideas and new interest by the dozens.

To use ThingLink, educators have to simply connect their website or blog. Tumblr blogs work great with ThingLink and they are easy, free and fast to set up. ThingLink tagging tool is provided at no cost, with an embeddable code to make all or individual images taggable. The installation takes a few minutes and is done by following the easy install instructions. You can also close and open images for tagging, i.e. enable anyone or no-one else but you to tag your images.

 

ThingLink Freemium account enables these features:

1) On-site tag editor: ThingLink tag editor lets you define interactive hotspots inside an image — from a THING (an object, a person, or a place) to a LINK (a site with more information, a blog post, or anywhere you like). The editor works on your own enabled site as long as you are logged in to ThingLink.

2) Easy Sharing: ThingLink makes images shareable: anyone can share a favorite image via Twitter, Facebook and email, and embed them on websites and blogs with tags.

3) Image community: ThingLink provides real-time statistics on user interaction with images. We measure image and tag-specific views, hovers, and clicks. This helps you evaluate the successfulness of interacting with you participants, i.e. students.

Thinglink could be a good way to have students take group blogging to a new level. Students working on a group blog could upload images then work together to add more information to the blog post in the form of image tags,” suggests Richard Byrne in his popular blogFree Tech for Teachers.

 

Lets sum up why ThingLink is so great for education:

  • Free of charge for educators;
  • Easy and fun to use;
  • Involves two-way communication;
  • Spreads information through social networks;
  • Everyone can be a teacher and a learner;
  • Community- and participant-driven; and
  • Can be used for either an ongoing forum or one-time exchange.

ThingLinktag, explore, and learn.

How could you and your students benefit from using ThingLink in your educative work? Here is an evolving document with tips and interesting reflections from teachers using the tagging tool in their work. Thank you @AuntyTech for creating the document and engaging our community.

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