Somehow I stumbled upon the coolest tech tool last semester. I believe I was looking for a way to share my case study analysis for tech use in the classroom. I wanted to use something visual to present the three examples I had found. I explored some of the resources we were given, and went down a rabbit hole looking for something free to use. When I want to try something out, I don’t like to pay for it, or even give out my credit card info for “free trial.” In these cases, I often search “free alternatives to (expensive tech tool).” When I did this, I ended up checking out Thinglink.com. This is a tool that allows you to upload an image (png or jpeg), a video, or a url image and make it interactive. While I was able to make my way through it enough to create the presentation that I wanted, I did not become an expert in any sense of the word. However, I spent enough time in it to give you a general idea of what it’s about, and to be excited about taking more time to consider how I might use it in the future.
As I mentioned, I discovered Thinglink while looking for a way to share my case study analysis in a visual way. Mainly, I wanted to record my reviews for the three examples I found, while giving the reader the ability to see a snapshot of the lesson, a brief description, and a link to view the example directly. I started by taking screenshots of each of the examples I found, and using collage app to get them all into one image. From there, I downloaded the image and added the icons for the recordings, more info, and links to the examples. Not bad for one long evening of exploration on the site and watching Youtube tutorials. It’s very user friendly! Here was my result:
One difficulty I experienced was the sizing of the icons. Being as OCD as I am, I would have appreciated the guiding bracket images that Google docs and drawings gives you when images line up together or are centered. Another issue I had was the size of the final image for sharing. It was much smaller than I thought. Once I had done all that work, I was a little disappointed about that. Thinglink now has a fullscreen option, for an upgraded account of course.
Thinglink has so many more uses and features. Virtually any image can become interactive with customizable icons that are visible, or hidden and revealed by the hover of the mouse. Icons (activated by your hovering mouse) can be created to include a pop-up text box, hyperlink, video, gif, sound recording and more. Teachers can use any image for students to explore and learn from: maps, document screenshots, periodic tables, scientific charts, primary sources, ANYTHING. The possibilities are endless for embedding connections to additional resources, google docs/assignment pages, other apps, videos, and the list goes on. Want to learn more? Here’s a “Thinglink for Teachers” 3 minute Youtube tutorial (Rich Colosi Media, published March 12, 2015):