Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shorten URLs with goo.gl

When using the class sets of Chromebooks or iPads it can be hard to get links out to your students.  You can send them a document using Doctopus or post links on a webpage, but sometimes you find something in the middle of class and you need a quick way to send out a link.  

Goo.gl is the answer.  You can go to the goo.gl website and paste in a link to the web address you want to shorten.  

To make things even simpler, you can download the goo.gl shortener Chrome Extension which will show up right next to your Omnibox.  Then, all you have to do is be on whatever website you want to share, click the extension, and it will give you the short URL.  This short URL is much easier to write up on the board to share with students.  (Just be careful with some characters such as a capital i and lowercase l.  You can always click the link again to get a different short URL that is easier to read.)

Or, you can get a QR code which you can project or you can copy (Control C) and paste (Control V) it onto a document.

This should help you share links with students and get students to the right spot much quicker.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sound the Alert!

Alerts is not one of Google's most well known tools, but I have found it very useful.  

Google Alerts allow you to automatically receive email alerts for search queries that you set up.  

As a teacher, I use Alerts to notify me of current events that relate to the topic I am currently teaching.  For example, during my last unit, evolution, I set up an alert using the keyword speciation.  I wanted to find current and relevant news articles that I could share with my students, but I didn't want to spend the time to keep searching the web.  Anytime google found this keyword, it sent me an email with a link to the website.

If your students are doing a research project, you can teach them how to set up alerts to get new information about their topic.

I think that Alerts would be a useful tool for school administrators to get emails each time their school is mentioned on the web or in the news.  Here is an example of a Google Alert email that I received about my school.  

It is pretty easy and quick to set up.  Just go to http://www.google.com/alerts and fill out the form with your search query.  You can change the settings to customize the search and the amount of emails you receive.  You can even set it to search blogs, news, videos, other websites!

I would love to hear other creative ideas on how you would use Google Alerts.  Please share in the comments below.