Friday, July 12, 2013

Fill up your Toolbox

This week, I got to try three tools - URL shortening, QR codes, and Bookmarklets.  Although I have some experience with each of these, I learned a bit more about these tools, and came up with some ideas for using them in the classroom.

URL shortening:
I used Google's URL shortener to shorten the link to my blog.  The shortened link is  This was an extremely easy process!  I have used URL shorteners before with Twitter.  I often tweet links to another blog that I write, and with the 140 character limit, sometimes it is necessary to shorten the URL to fit it in the tweet.  I think that using URL shorteners would be helpful in my classroom.  I often call parents about their students progress, and need to direct them to the online textbook website, or the class homework website.  It would be much easier to give them a shortened link over the phone.  URL shortening probably would not be all that useful in school with my students, because they can not type in URLs until they get to high school.  However, I could definitely see myself using URL shortening to share links with faculty members.

QR codes:
I have used QR codes with my students before, but they have been text QR codes.  It's difficult to get cell phone service in my school building, so it's hard to have students scan QR codes in school that require them to connect to the internet.  I have used text QR codes to send kids around the school on scavenger hunts.  My students LOVED these scavenger hunts, and I definitely want to do more of them next year.  For this assignment, I used a QR code while I was working on curriculum writing this week.  While writing curriculum, we needed to constantly be adding differentiated instruction to the curriculum, and had to reference out county's Blackboard site for differentiated instruction.  Since each group was working with one computer, it was difficult to keep having to go back and forth from the curriculum template to the DI website.  We decided it would be easier to just pull up the blackboard site on our cell phones.  Rather than having to type in the address each day when we got to the curriculum academy, I made a QR code that we could scan each morning.  Here's my curriculum writing partner, Nicole, scanning the code:
I plan on using QR codes a lot more next school year.  One idea I have is to create one for Back to School Night that parents could scan in order to get information about my class.  There are a lot of practical uses for QR codes!

Bookmarklets are very helpful tools, and I got to try a new one this week.  I already use the Pinterest bookmarklet, and I think it is a great way to make Pinterest easy to use.  Rather than having to go to the Pinterest site to pin an item, I can just use the bookmarklet and pin right from the specific website.
I also decided to install the Printliminator bookmarklet.  I am often printing things from websites for my classes, since I try and use authentic materials.  A lot of times I will just want to print an ad, or a section of a website that has French vocabulary that my students can understand.  Printliminator makes this much easier for me to do.  I can easily print sections of a website in a way that makes them more visually appealing.  I could see myself using this often next year, especially with the new push for using online, authentic materials.
I use Google Chrome, and I like how these bookmarklets are stored in the favorites bar.  I like that I don't have to see them all the time, and I can just pull up the favorites bar when I want to use the bookmarklet (using cntl+shift+B).  I do not like my browser to be cluttered with a bunch of different buttons and toolbars, so this is a feature I appreciate.

No comments:

Post a Comment