Web 2.0 Tool Review: thinglink
thinglink (http://www.thinglink.com/) is a communication tool used to create interactive graphics. In other words, you can create a graphic with links and videos that appear from just scrolling your mouse over the screen.
In the above example, I used this Web 2.0 tool to create an interactive graphic on a city called Ha Tien. I wanted to say a lot, but pictures are worth a thousand words, so I linked several pictures to my graphic, instead. In addition, videos and a more detailed webpage on Ha Tien are also linked. Icons bulge from the image indicating that a link is active. Any readers looking at my graphic can navigate and choose what they want to learn about Ha Tien in one glance. thinglinks are most often used as a sort of map-like graphic in which links lead to related or more detailed information.
thinglink is an online tool that only requires an account registration. Usage is free for personal or commercial use, but fees apply to use it on a larger scale. One of the best things about this tool is its simple interface. You can easily add icons by clicking on the image, and a box automatically asks you to insert a url link and text. One only needs to have basic computer and internet navigation skills to use it. Having some digital graphics skills will come in handy if you want to make your graphic look more purposeful by adding arrows, trails, smaller graphics, etc.
How to Use thinglink
thinglink in Educational Contexts
thinglink is a tool to express concepts in creative ways. I think its biggest appeal is how it works as a sort of infographic. You begin with a picture or graphic and then add extra information to expand on the big idea without overwhelming it with words. There are so many ways to use it-- here are a few:
- Timelines (Ex. https://www.thinglink.com/scene/309133048903892993?buttonSource=userPage)
- Book Reports (Ex. http://www.thinglink.com/scene/480560688792600578)
- Information Page (Ex. https://www.thinglink.com/scene/267311030659448834)
- Map (Ex. http://www.thinglink.com/scene/532536273814945794)
- More Maps (Ex. http://www.thinglink.com/scene/500859588443111424)
- Labeling (Ex. http://www.thinglink.com/scene/496861522299977729)
- Processes and Cycles (Ex. http://www.thinglink.com/scene/527894589101572097)
Now that you know a few great things about thinglink, how about the disadvantages?
- Video links - Sometimes the video links show the video as a small window on the image, but sometimes it opens in a new tab/window
- Embedding - Depending on what webpage you want to post the graphic on, you may have to go through a process of adding thinglink onto your site and insert it into your page's HTML
After exploring this tool, it's definitely in my digital toolbox for future use! I highly recommend it for both educators and students to use as a communication tool when they want to explain ideas and concepts in creative ways.