Sunday, April 7, 2013

URL Shortener


Setting: Teacher in the Computer Lab


Student A: Mr. Gibson this website isn't working!
Mr. Gibson: Did you type it in correctly? 
Student A: Yes, I tried everything!
Mr. Gibson: You typed in .con not .com. Try it again.  
Student B: Mr. Gibson this website isn't working!
Mr. Gibson: Argh!


URL Shortener in the Classroom


Are you tired of watching students mistype long web addresses?  Shorten them with a URL shortener.  I feel like I'm writing the intro to an infomercial.  Here is an example of a URL Shortener's benefits.  Take a look at this long Google Docs URL: 
Even your most tech-savvy student would struggle with this Google Docs web address.  Now try the next two shortened web addresses (*an additional resource can be found by clicking either one of the following links):

Short List of Shorteners

Additional Benefit and One Warning


There are some URL shorteners that allow for tracking.  For instance, if you gave parents a shortened URL at parent teacher conferences and wanted to check how many parents actually accessed the link, it could be done with Owl.ly.  

I will warn that some shorteners may be blocked by your web-filter; however, I know TinyURL, goo.gl, and Owl.ly work.  Many other URL shorteners were blocked by my school districts web-filter, but don't let that discredit the idea behind using shorteners.  Try it the next time your students have to go to a long and overly complicated web address.

For another alternative similar to using a shortener, check out my post on QR codes.  

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