ThingLink: Make Any Image Interactive

My students are currently in the early stages of research for an infographic project. In the past, I’ve had them explore and evaluate a range of infographics, so they can effectively design their own. When evaluating infographics, I ask them to identify the message/purpose of each infographic and identify the visual data that effectively supports that message/purpose. In the past, I’ve provided links in class to infographics and had groups of students critique each infographic.

This year, I am using ThingLink to allow them to evaluate and critique an infographic on a topic that interests them. ThingLink allows the user to make any image interactive. Students can attach notes, links, images, and videos to a picture. ThingLink is easy to use and encourages students to think more deeply about media and convey information in a dynamic way.

Here’s how ThinkLink works:

  1. Once you’ve signed up for a ThingLink account, you can begin creating an interactive image.
  2. You can upload an image from your hard drive, find an image online using the URL for the image, or import images from Facebook or Flickr (*only public Flickr images).
    Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.31.21 PM
  3. If you are grabbing an online image, it’s important that you do a Google image search. (Just Google your topic, then click “Images” below the search box.) When you’ve found an image you want to use, click on “View image” which will give you the URL for the actual image (jpg). I found the following infographic titled “Not Another Life to Lose: Suicide in America” to demonstrate the process of critiquing an infographic for my own students. Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.51.45 PM
  4. Copy the URL for the online image and paste it into the search window on ThingLink. It will pull up your image.Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.53.12 PM
  5. Once you’ve added your image, you can give it a title and begin to add the interactive elements. Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.54.07 PM
  6. If you click “Settings,” you can make your image public or unlisted. Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.57.29 PM
  7.  You can zoom in and out of the image which is ideal for a long and lean infographic. Students can add text or links to the infographic as they analyze the effectiveness of the visual data. Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 3.49.53 PM
  8. Once you’ve finished adding notes and media to your image, click “Save” and you can share your image. Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 3.59.32 PM

I plan to have each of my students create a ThingLink account. When they are done evaluating and critiquing their infographics, they will complete a Google Form with their name, class name, email, and the link for their interactive image, so it’s all saved in an organized Google Sheet! This will make it easy for me to collect and review their work.

ThingLink is super versatile! I can imagine history teachers using this functionality to have students label maps and create interactive timelines, science teachers can have students label the parts of a cell or ecosystem, art teachers can ask students to critique the elements in a piece of artwork, etc. The possibilities are endless for flipping images and allowing students the time and space to analyze, evaluate, critique and create!

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