The following lesson plan, which would take three days of class time, introduces the students to ThingLink, a website that allows users to create interactive graphics. These graphics can serve as stand-alone content or supplement an existing story. Like infographics and other interactive content, content created on ThingLink would enhance a scholastic journalism publication’s website by making some of its content more engaging and user-friendly. Also, since many readers today, particularly teenagers, are visually driven, the graphics created through ThingLink would directly appeal to a scholastic audience.
Name: Michael Gluskin
School: Libertyville High School
City, State: Libertyville, Illinois
Title: Creating an interactive graphic with ThingLink
- Students will be able to explain the importance of interactive graphics that accompany stories on the web.
- Students will be able to create an interactive graphic that could appear with a story they have previously written.
- Students will be able to use a variety of multimedia tools to help tell a story creativity and effectively.
Day 1 (50 minutes)
- To begin class, I will ask the students to recall examples of multimedia content that can appear on our website, based on websites they have read themselves and past work our publication has done. During this brief review period, I will remind students of the value that interactive features on the website possess, since they allow readers to access interesting content in new and innovative ways.
- Following this introduction, I will tell the students about ThingLink, briefly explaining what the site is. I will then show them various examples of graphics created with ThingLink, talking them through the following graphics:
- After that beginning part, I will next ask the students to go through our most recent magazine issue (or two) and, with those sitting near them, brainstorm different ThingLink graphics that could be created for various stories within the publication when those stories are posted online. Lastly, the students will share their ideas with the class about different graphics they think could work, including different links and hotspots that could appear within them.
Day 2 (50 minutes)
- To start this class period, I will mention to the students that they will soon start the process of making their own ThingLink graphic, which can then be posted on our website. There are two steps I would like to go through before they start this process. First, similarly to how class ended the previous day, I would ask my students to think about a story they’ve written this school year that would benefit from a ThingLink graphic; to help do this, they can review all of the content they have posted on our website. As part of this brainstorming process, they will also be asked to consider what sort of links and hotspots they could include in their graphic, and they should consult their peers if they need any help or want some feedback on their initial ideas.
- Next, the students will watch the Camtasia Studio tutorial that I have created on how to use ThingLink. We will watch this video together as a class, but it will also be emailed out to all of my students so they can re-watch it (or parts of it) by themselves.
3. Following the video, I will hand out and explain the students’ homework assignment (copied below, with its rubric) for these series of lessons, which is to make a ThingLink graphic of their own. After I go over this assignment and answer any questions the students have, they will have the remainder of the class period to begin working on their assignment.
Your task is to create a visually appealing, interactive ThingLink graphic to be published alongside a current story you have posted on our website. The graphic you create must meet the following criteria:
- Its main image should be a picture taken by you or another Drops of Ink staff member; this picture should be clear, well-cropped and provide a strong central visual interest for the reader (5 points)
- The image should feature a minimum of 4 hotspots and/or links. (5 points per hotspot)
- 1 of the hotspots should be a link to a related article; it is preferred the article is something else written by our publication, but if not, that’s OK.
- 1 of the hotspots should be a photo or video related to the story; whatever you choose must be properly identified and described.
- 1 of the hotspots should be text-only; it should include either additional information not found in the story or intriguing yet non-obvious information.
- The final hotspot is up to you. It can be an additional example of any of the three ideas mentioned above, or it could be a social media link, a quote or a link to a related website, for example.
- Your final graphic should be carefully edited so there are no spelling or style mistakes. Once completed, it should be correctly posted on the website page where your story appears. Graphics posted after the final due date and time will be marked late. (5 points)
Due Date: (this would have to be updated and entered depending on when the assignment was actually given out; as my lesson plan indicated, ideally I would conduct the series of lessons from a Wednesday-Friday, meaning the due date would be on the following Monday, at the beginning of class)
Point value: 30
|Categories and criteria||Points earned/ possible|
|FIRST HOTSPOT (article link)
|SECOND HOTSPOT (photo or video)
|THIRD HOTSPOT (text only)
|FOURTH HOTSPOT (your decision)
|WEB POSTING AND DEADLINE
Day 3 (50 minutes)
- This class period will be a work day for the students; they will have the entire time to work on creating and developing their ThingLink graphics. I will encourage them to ask their peers and/or I questions during class, so they can get whatever help and feedback would be beneficial for them. They would be expected to have their graphic completed and turned into me by the beginning of the next class period; ideally, I would end this third day on a Friday so the students could have the weekend to work on their graphics further, if needed.