Friday, March 24, 2017

Fill Up Your Toolbox

URL Shortening 
URL Shortening is a great technique. Oftentimes I'm faced with that daunting task of having to copy and paste a long link and/or share that link with another person via email/text message. I really like the idea of links having their own shortcuts while still taking user to the original site. I decided to use to create a shortlink for my EDIM 514 blog, and my classroom website. I must say, signing up for the account and creating these shortlinks were very easy. I never used a tool such as before, so I was very please with the website being so user friendly; here are the shortlinks I created: (Blog) and (Classroom Website). The fact that provides a bookmarklet feature, that makes it easier to shorten a url with a single click, is quite rewarding. I could see using in the future when it comes to sharing shortlinks with my students, parents, and colleagues. There were many times when I had to send these long links to my students through webmails, and during the copying and pasting transfer (pasting the link into the search bar on their part), the results were missed due to parts of the url being lost. Hopefully, I'll get use to this tool fairly quickly.

QR Codes
I will confess as being one of those individuals who would see these images all around downtown Philadelphia, on books, in advertisements, etc. and have no idea how to interpret them beyond the squared image;  I later learned that you needed an QR code app to read these images, and I never took the initiative to download this app and decipher these QR codes. I've watched someone use their mobile device to read one of these QR codes, and I saw firsthand that it can lead to more than just a website--it appeared to expose some hidden message. Using the tool was simply and fun; I couldn't believe how easy it was to create these QR code images. I created my QR code for the website Purdue.Owl. As an English 11 teacher, my students are assigned so many papers to write throughout the year that requires MLA formatting. Every time I go over the directions for the paper, I mention using Purdue.Owl as a reference for help with in-text citations and the Works Cited page; I know most of the time, students either forget how to access the link, or type the url/copy and paste the url in the search engine incorrectly. I would hope the QR code would easier for students to access and recognize on our classroom website or message board; that would be a great idea. For me QR codes are innovative and different; I enjoyed creating one for this assignment.

This week's assignment was the first time I ever heard of bookmarklets. I was the individual who would either have 17 tabs open for months so I did not lose my place, or bookmark hundreds of them to review later. I reviewed some of the sites available to venture through for this assignment, and I really enjoyed Quietube the most. Now, I don't stream videos in my virtual classroom because the students will only get picture with no sound, therefore, I download the video using either Keepvid or prior to class. Nonetheless, I can see the advantage of using Quietube to stream Youtube videos when trying to avoid commercials, advertisements, and comments on the page that could be inappropriate. Because I enjoyed the tool so much, I did add Quietube to my bookmark toolbar to use for personal use. Even if I might not use this tool for educational purposes, I can encourage my students to use it to view content found on Youtube or other sites, so that they could enjoy the videos without distractions.

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