One more educational use for Google Drawings is to create an interactive multimedia poster. This is very much like creating a Thinglink. Let’s call it a Googlink.
If you are not familiar with Thinglink, it is a powerful online tool that lets users annotate images with pop-up text, pictures, videos, weblinks, documents, and more. It can be a great way for students to demonstrate their learning. You can see many examples of Thinglinks here: www.thinglink.com/featured
Although Thinglink is an excellent tool, its free version does have some limitations. As an option, Google Drawings can be used very much like Thinglink, and might be the perfect alternative for you and your students.
See below for information on how to use Google Drawings in a similar way as Thinglink to create, edit, and share interactive multimedia posters, as well as a sample Googlink to test out.
Thinglink versus Googlink
It offers a free version that many users may find will meet their needs. The free version does have some limitations though including limits on the number of students and types of icons (only 10 icons in the free version).
If want more options and customization you would need to upgrade to the premium version of Thinglink for $35 per year.
- No cost
- Unlimited users
- Unlimited choice of icons (through the many image options in Drawings)
What is a Googlink?
If you are familiar with Thinglink, then you already know what a Googlink would be. For those who are not, here is the gist:
- The user chooses an image they would like to annotate. This could be a diagram, a map, a painting, a photograph, or such.
- The user then adds icons on top of the image. These could be simple shapes, or they could be icons for videos, pictures, documents, web links, and such.
- The user then adds a hyperlink to each icon that links out to a related resource that explains, elaborates, or further illustrates that portion of the image.
- The links might go to a video the student has recorded, a video on YouTube, a document they student wrote, a website, an online image, a map, a slideshow, or anything else that can be accessed online.
- The user then shares their final product so other people can click on the links to open the related resources and learn what the user is explaining.
Uses for a Googlink
In school students could create a Googlink as a fun and interactive option to show their learning of most any content. Examples could include:
- The parts of an insect
- Key locations of a battle on a map
- Examples of geometric shapes in real life
- Their interpretation of different lines in a poem
- Steps in a lab experiment
- An “About Me” poster
- And much more...
As an example I put together a very simple Googlink to demonstrate how this could look. Use the links below to test it out. Be sure to click on the various icons in the Googlink to open the linked resources.
To open the Googlink as a Google Drawing on its own click here: Google Drawing link
To open the Googlink as a Drawing embedded in a Google Site click here: Google Site link
Creating a Googlink
Below are the basic steps for using Google Drawings to create something like a Thinglink.
Create a new Google Drawing
To create a new Google Drawing:
- Go to your Google Drive, then click “New” then “More” and then “Google Drawing”.
- A new blank Google Drawing will be created.
- You can give it a name by clicking on “Untitled Drawing” in the top left corner.
Add the Base Image
Next you will want to add the image you will be using for the base of your Googlink. This is the picture you will annotate with links to websites, videos, documents, other images, and more. You can add the image in several ways.
- Click “Insert” then “Image” and then upload the image, take a webcam snapshot, choose an image from your Drive, search the picture, or more.
- Or click “Tools” then “Research” and search for an image to drag and drop into your Drawing.
- Or find an image online and then drag and drop the image from its website into your Google Drawing.
If you need to resize your Drawing to match your base image, you can click and drag the bottom right corner of the Drawing, or you can click “File” and “Page setup”.
Add the Shapes and Icons
Next you need to add the shapes or icons on top of the image that people will click on to get to your related resources. There are several options for adding these images.
- Probably the easiest way to add icons to your Googlink is through the Research Tool.
- Click “Tools” then “Research” top open the Research Tool panel.
- Type what you want in the search box such as “video icon” or “document icon” or such.
- Choose “Images” from the drop down menu at the left of the search box to just get picture results.
- When you find an image you want, click, drag, and drop it onto your Drawing.
- As needed you can resize it and drag it to the correct location.
- Click “Insert” then “Shape” then choose the shape you would like to add.
- Your cursor will now turn into crosshairs so you can click and drag out the shape.
- As needed you can resize the shape and drag and drop it to the needed location.
- If needed, you can click the “Fill color” (paint can) button to make the shape hollow so you can see through it.
Add Images from the Insert Menu
- Click “Insert” then “Image”
- You can then upload an image, take a webcam snapshot, choose an image from your Drive, search the picture, and more.
- As needed you can resize the image and drag it to the correct location.
Add the Hyperlinks
Now you want to add hyperlinks to the icons or shapes so they will link out to your related resources.
- Click the icon or shape to select it.
- Next click the “Insert link” button in the top menu bar.
- Paste in the link to the video, picture, Google Doc, website, or such.
- Note: If linking to a Google Doc, Slideshow, or such, be sure you have shared the file properly so other people will be able to view it.
Share your Googlink
When you are all done adding hyperlinks to your Drawing, you are now ready to let other people view and click on your Googlink. One option for this is to share the Drawing.
- Click the blue “Share” button in the top right corner of the Drawing window.
- To share with specific people, enter their email addresses in the “People” box.
- To make the Googlink viewable by everyone, click “Get sharable link”.
- For permissions, you only need to give people View rights to be able to view and click on your hyperlinks. They do not need Comment or Edit rights.
Embed your Googlink
Another option for sharing is to embed your Googlink on a Google Site. When you add a Google Drawing to a Google Site, all of the links in the Drawing stay live, so people can still click on them to open your related resources.
- Open the Google Site webpage you want to edit and click on the "Edit page" (pencil) button.
- Click “Insert” then “Drive” then “Drawing”.
- Select the Drawing you created for your Googlink.
- As needed edit the “Length” and “Width” values to match your Drawing.
- Save the changes to your page.
People will now be able to view your Google Drawing on the site and click the links you have put inside of the Drawing. As always though, make sure you have properly shared the Drawing and the Site as publicly viewable so people can access them.
Google Drawings is an easy to use, but powerful and versatile tool, that can be used by students and teacher for many applications including a Google version of a Thinglink. If you would like to learn more about using Google Drawings in general, feel free to access my detailed Google Drawing help guide here: Google Document link
If you have suggestions for other ways to use Drawings like a Thinglink, or if you have examples of your own to share, please share your ideas in the comment section below.