Most of the time I write about different tools that teachers can use in their work for and about education, but sometimes one needs to stop, look around and see if there are some basics that people seem to have bypassed without realizing their importance. In a course I am co-presenting, I noticed that many of the participants are not using hyperlinks, and when they do, they just stick the entire endless URL in and let that hyperlink automatically.
So I'm taking a step back, to help some of you jump ten steps forward.
The URL (internet address of a webpage) is long and complicated. I can remember when the Internet first came into my life, you used to have to go to the browser window and type in the whole interminable thing (MAN am I dating myself now! ;-) Even though on most digital platforms where you stick a URL (a website, an email, a wordfile, a Googledoc, etc) the gobbledygook URL automatically turns it into a live hyperlink (it gets underlined and turns blue without you having to worry your little head about it) but still ...it looks... how shall I put it...? Awkward.
In order to prevent this, there are three things you can do.
1) You can add a hyperlink to a word, phrase or object (ex. picture/graphic) which, when clicked on, will take you to another website.
2) You can make a long URL shorter. You would want to do this for digital products that are going to be printed out, or presented via an online platform where hyperlinks are not live and clickable, or if you want to project something for an audience, so that they can go into a website (like with the new Q&A app;A tool for Googlesides that I wrote about in my previous blog).
3) For when you need to kill off a few trees and print material out hardcopy, or project it on a screen because you want an audience to go into a website, you can also turn the URL into a barcode. Barcodes are fun, and get people using barcode scanners. I did that - and wrote about it - in an activity last year, although that blog was about the activity rather than the technicalities of how I made the barcodes). But fear not, for Google URL Shortener (one of the tools I talk about in this tutorial) will do that for you easily.
I hope the following tutorial, which introduces bit.ly, tiny.url, goo.gl url and the (ridiculously simple) art of hyperlinking, helps you get your head around this, in under 6 minutes.
If you have any questions; if anything isn't clear, please write in the comments. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Promise :-)
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