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Friday, May 24, 2013

u03a1 URL Shorteners, QR Codes and Bookmarklets


This week I created short links for my classroom website and for my blog that I am using for this Wilkes EDIM 514 course.  To make these short links, I used the Goo.gl URL shortener.  It could not have been any easier than it was!  It was as simple as copying and pasting the long website addresses onto the shortener page.  With one click, a shortened address was created.  It may be apparent, from my excitement, that I haven’t been using shorteners.  As a relatively new Smart Phone user, I can see that using these shortened addresses would be much easier than using full addresses on a handheld device. With them you do not need to type in so many symbols.  It can be frustrating to type long addresses, with one hand, on these small devices.   My shortened URL addresses can be kept on my note taking app so they will be easy to access. They will be available with a single click.  The shortened address will allow more room on the small screen of my note page too.  Now in school, shorteners can be used for all of the web sites that my students use.  I can make a list of the site names and create shorteners for each site.  Then I can share this list with my students so they have it on their Google Drive page.  They can also open these with a single click.  They could be given individual shortened URL codes also, to better handle the task of typing in web site addresses.  My students can create their own shortened addresses for their presentation files, documents, or projects that they want to share with others.   Another way to use them would be for me to post shortened addresses of favorite web pages or student projects on my class web page for students and parents to access.  Here are two shortened addresses that I created this week:

My Second Grade Website shortened address:
My EDIM 514 Blog shortened address:

Next, I went on to creating a QR code.  At first I really was not sure how to use these in the classroom. However, as I started looking around my classroom, I started thinking of so many ideas, I had to narrow them down and try to focus on something very useful.  Since we are currently studying North America, I chose to put a QR code above our world map that links to a website called ducksters.com.  This website has a page for the continent of North America, with maps and information about the continent.  Using delivr.com I copied and pasted the ducksters.com address in to the delivr.com page to create the QR code. Then I printed and attached it to the poster.  I tested it out on my phone by downloading an app called Bakado.  This morning, I had my students try it out and they thought it was pretty cool!  To use these in my classroom, I will need to download a bar code app onto the classroom net book computers so they can scan QR codes.  I see potential for putting bar codes on other posters to link to websites with more information about the poster's content.  They could also be used to access digital materials that the students or parents need, such as my book report form, spelling lists, homework papers, blank concept maps and math facts.  There are so many items that could be coded, I can imagine having a bulletin board filled with classroom information, that has a bar code on each item that is displayed.  Here a link to a photo of it in my classroom:

QR Code in my classroom


Last I added some bookmarklets onto my browser bar.  The first one is Quiet Tube.  I chose this one because the extra list of videos on the side of the YouTube video and the comments below it often have pictures that are very inappropriate for the classroom.  There can be bad language in the comments too.  Quiet Tube will allow the video to be shown without having to see anything else on the page.  Another problem with watching YouTube videos, without Quiet Tube, is that when the video is over, it displays a variety of videos to choose from that sometimes have images and words you do not want displayed in your classroom.  I would also like to use Quiet Tube for sending videos to others or for linking videos in a project, so the viewers only see the video and do not have to view the rest of the page’s content.  It is cleaner and more appealing to just view the video alone.


The other bookmarklet that I chose was Delivr because it creates shortened URLs and QR codes and this is something that I would like to start using in my classroom as I mentioned above.  I like the convenience of opening web pages with a short address or by scanning.  For me, I hardly ever type in whole web address, because of the inconvenience.  I usually use Google to search for a topic, click a provided link, or choose an address from my bookmarks.  I am teaching the students to do the same but sometimes they have a web address that they want to try and they type in the very long address with some difficulty.  These two tools are going to be helpful to the students.  They will be able to use them with my help at first, but then independently they will be able to make their own shortened addresses and QR codes.  

I also bookmarked Printliminator because I love being able to clean up a page before printing it so only the part I want will be printed.  For students, the extra text and image around the edges of the content is distracting.  Using Printliminator also saves ink, as the extra unwanted information usually has background color and images that require much more ink than the plain text does.  

Printliminator:

Quietube


Delivr

I learned so much from this week's assignment.  These are all really great tools that I am now very excited to use.  Until I explored what each could do I did not think I really needed such tools.  Now, I think differently.  I can see that they are going to make learning more fun and make accessing information easier and clearer for my students.  All of these tools are about eliminating extras that are distracting and making easy, short, clear paths to digital resources.





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