Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Time Saving Strategies: For the classroom

             In today’s crazy digital world the amount of information that each person must remember is astronomical.  From passwords and usernames, to the name of that amazing website you just visited and are trying to tell someone else about, all of it needs to be transmitted and communicated quickly and easily.  However, with URL’s that can drag on for lines or the need to quickly get everyone to the same location online teachers need a way to get this information quickly and easily to our students.  TO that affect, this post will be discussing URL shortening, QR codes and ways in which to use can use bookmarklets.

The first technology that I found to be incredibly useful was the ability to shorten the URL for a specific webpage.  While domain names are relatively short, you often times want to send people to a specific page on that website which can result in long URL’s.  I know that with students, trying to copy down a long string of random numbers and letters will ALWAYS result in at least two students being unable to get to where you need them to be.  To the rescue is  I like this particular website because it provides you the option of creating a custom alias for the URL you are trying to shorten.  Now, I was going to show you how this would look on my class website but because of restrictions placed by my district that proved impossible.  Instead I am linking you to a video that I created with my son earlier this year.  When I posted it to Youtube I received the following URL,  Which if I wanted anyone to see my video would be next to impossible for me to communicate to them over the phone.  However, after visiting Tinyurl I now have the following link to the same video,   This I can easily tell people over the phone or write on the board for students to type in and visit.

The next time saving piece of technology I am exploring today is a QR code creator.  A QR code is basically a barcode for a digital item.  By simply using a QR reader on any smartphone, people can instantly be linked to any information on the internet.  For instance, I start off my second semester of the school year with a quick survey that I want the students to complete.   What I would do is go to and create a QR code for my survey.  I would then post that code on the door for the students to scan as they come into the room.  With the QR code I know that everyone is going to the right place and the students are providing me valuable data.  With, you can also keep the same QR code but change the link, meaning that QR code you have on the door to your room can lead the students to a different place everyday . 
              Finally, I looked at a bookmarklet for a website called  I know that with the CIPA, websites like Youtube can be a dangerous place for students to venture.  However, with keepvid you are able to download the video clip that you would like and then embed that clip in a PowerPoint presentation.  That way the material will have been screened by you as well as making sure that there are no adds or previews for other videos that are not appropriate.  All you need to do is drag their icon onto the links toolbar and while watching a video simply click the button to download the video.  It is incredibly easy to do and offers a wide range of video sharing websites that it supports.

Taking these three ideas in their totality would allow anyone to simplify their digital lives.  From creating short URL’s that can easily be shared to links to specific websites with just a click of your phone, the digital world is becoming easier to navigate.  Hopefully you were able to grab onto some ideas for your classrooms, but if not just using these in your everyday lives will makes things easier. 

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