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.