Thursday, August 15, 2019

Three Ways to Create Shortened URLs People Can Actually Spell

Whenever I have a webpage that I want a group of students or colleagues to go to at the same time, I use a URL shortener to turn long URLs into things that are easy to copy and spell. Sure, I could email the link in advance or post it on Google Classroom, but when I do that I've introduced an intermediate step that is full of distractions (colleagues start reading email, students start looking at grades).

Bitly has been my URL shortener of choice for many years because it lets me customize the shortened URL and track click-throughs. That said, lately I find that I also like Yellkey a lot. Finally, I can't write about URL shorteners without mentioning TinyURL which has been around forever, it seems. All three of these tools can be used to create custom shortened URLs. Demonstrations of how to use all three tools are included in the video below.

How to Add an Animated Clock to PowerPoint Slides

This afternoon I received an email from a reader who had watched my video about adding timers to PowerPoint slides. My video features a timer with a digital countdown display. She wanted to know if there is a way to add an analog clock countdown display to a PowerPoint slide. It is possible to do that through the use of shapes and animations in PowerPoint, but it does take some time. Normally, I would make a video about how to do this, but this time I'm just going to refer you to this tutorial from The Tech Train channel on YouTube.

And if you're curious about how to add a digital countdown to PowerPoint slides, my tutorial on that process is embedded below.

How to Annotate Webpages With Seesaw's Chrome Extension

Seesaw recently released an updated Chrome extension that makes it easy for students to save and annotate articles in their digital portfolios. With SeeSaw's free Chrome extension installed students can save an entire webpage or select a portion of the page to save. Once they've made a selection of what to save the Chrome extension will automatically open SeeSaw in a new browser tab where students can then highlight, draw, and type on the saved page. Students can also record themselves talking about the pages they've clipped. Watch my video below for a quick overview of how SeeSaw's free Chrome extension works.

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