ThingLink: Super Useful

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At Music Toolbox we are not only interested in music specific technologies. We also want to present general eLearning tools that can be used to enhance your face-2-face, blended or fully online music classes. In that vein, I would like to present one of my favorite new tools, ThingLink.

ThingLink is a flexible and powerful image annotator. Images placed into a ThingLink account can be tagged with buttons; buttons that can contain a variety of added information such as: weblinks, videos, graphics, and text. This annotation drastically increases the value of an image in your course. Any image, of any sort, can be made “data rich” with ThingLink.

Here is an annotated image of an ear that could be used to teach acoustics. The red targets icons demonstrate, through a series of videos, the different functions of the ear. One of the most obvious advantages is the centralization of information. Instead of a series of videos taking up real estate  in your LMS (learning management system) page, you can now have everything in one location.

Rolling-over a ThingLink image causes any hidden buttons to appear.
In this example, students’ creative projects are bring shared. The image of the gallery was imported into ThingLink, then tagged with links to the students’ audio.

Rolling-over a ThingLink image causes any hidden buttons to appear.

Musical scores can also be annotated. In this example I have marked-up the beginning of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata with information about performance tempi. There are YouTube videos (labeled A-E), that demonstrate the 1st movement being played in five very divergent tempi. There are also a series of additional resources (stars), that discuss how to deal with tempi in Beethoven Sonatas.

Rolling-over a ThingLink image causes any hidden buttons to appear.

 

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[title size=”2″]Ease of Use[/title]
ThingLink is remarkably easy to use and setup. If you are able to copy and paste text/links you will be able to add annotations to images. It should be pointed out that this linked-to content can be your content created in advance. For instance, you can link from an ThingLink to your own audio commentary you created in advance.  This allows an even greater control over the message of your ThingLink.
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[title size=”2″]Pricing and Accounts[/title]
ThingLink offers free accounts for students and teachers. The teacher accounts also allow for the creation and administration of student groups. Students can annotate images as a group (but not simultaneously).
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[title size=”2″]Mobile Compatibility [/title]
There is a great mobile iOS app, and all ThingLinks are HTML5 compatible.
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[title size=”2″]Web Sharing[/title]
Thinglinks can either be linked to, or embedded directly into your LMS, website, or social media platform.
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[accordian][toggle title=”Pros:”]

  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Free teacher accounts that are functional (no obvious attempt to force users to upgrade by limiting features)
  • Well documented and supported
  • Customizable Icons
  • Support of text, weblinks, images (Flickr, Instagram, Imgur) audio (SoundCloud, Spotify) and video (YouTube, Vimeo, Ted)….Rich Media list
  • Easily sharable on a number different platforms (twitter, facebook, LMS, Edmodo)
  • Mobile Support including an iOS app
  • Does not require Flash (HTML5 compatible)
  • Student collaboration supported
  • Supports outside commenting

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[accordian][toggle title=”Cons:”]

  • Dragging and placing tags can be problematic if you are trying line up tags cleanly.
  • Tags fade after about 30 seconds, so unless a student see this fade they might not realize that an image has been tagged.
  • There is no offline support for ThingLinks. As a result, users are dependent on ThingLink for support and longevity. If the company goes away where does the content go? It would be nice to be able to download these presentation.

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ThingLink.com Official Demo Video

By | 2014-05-17T11:29:41+00:00 April 3rd, 2014|

About the Author:

Composer, Music Educator and Instructional Designer, Stephen Wilcox received a B.M. in instrumental performance (tuba) and a B.M. in music theory from West Chester University, a M.M. in Composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a Ph.D. in Composition at the University of Pennsylvania. Most recently, he has been creating online music theory courses for Rutgers University and working as an instructional designer at UC Berkeley.

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Stephen Wilcox

Stephen Wilcox

Stephen Wilcox received a B.M. in instrumental performance (tuba) and a B.M. in music theory from West Chester University, a M.M. in Composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a Ph.D. in Composition at the University of Pennsylvania. Most recently, he has been creating online music theory courses for Rutgers University and working as an instructional designer at UC Berkeley.

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