Tech Tip: ThingLink – Creating Interactive Graphics

Creating interactive learning objects can be a technically demanding and time-consuming project. If you’ve never done it, it’s hard to know where to start. Do you need to learn how to code? What software should you use? Increasingly though, these are problems of the past. There are a number of web-based tools now that enable you to create your own interactive objects and they are relatively self-explanatory.

ThingLink is a tool that enables you to add interactivity to still images. You begin by uploading an image of your choice and can then add notes and links within this image. While you can add any URL, most will just show up as links, and will take you to another page. However, ThingLink recognizes URLs from specific sites and is able to embed them in the image. These sites include YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, SoundCloud, Photobucket, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. You can find a complete list here. ThingLink places excerpts or previews of content from these sites directly in your original image.

Whiskers: Something that Mittik and I have in common.

Whiskers: Something that Mittik and I have in common.

ThingLink is used primarily for advertising, e-commerce, and publicity purposes but I think it has some interesting applications in education. In art courses, ThingLink could be used as a way to point out specific details in a painting or link to articles about the social context of the artwork. In a chemistry course, this could be used to help explain diagrams and models. Be aware that while you can allow your images to be edited by anyone, this means everyone. You can’t restrict it to a certain number of individuals in your course. ThingLink images can be embedded in web pages (though unfortunately not in ECLearn). You can however, place a link to the image in your ECLearn page.

As with most tools, the best way to learn the possibilities is to try it out. ThingLink is very intuitive and it has a very limited feature set, so you’ll soon know everything that there is to know about it. That would make you a professional.

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