Another Quick Use Of A Good Site

In a stack of papers called Technology.

  • Apr
  • 08
  • 2006

Today brought the 2nd of 3 Spring Saturday events sponsored by the San Jose Area Writing Project. Titled Super Saturday, these events offer 3 different workshops, typically one each for elementary, junior high, and high school. Our numbers were slightly lower than the last 2 Saturdays we met, but we still had a good turn out with roughly 47 participants in attendance.

I gave the opening speech (wanna read it?) and it went better than I expected. Well, if you don’t count the fact that I brought but forgot to press “record” on a little digital recorder that would have allowed me to share the morning’s speech with you. I’m pissed about that, especially because it went so well.

But anyhow, I successfully walked the line between provocative and welcoming, something I was significantly stressed about this week. It was good and I think it really helped give a focus to the sessions.

A Short Task

As the Super Saturday sessions were going on, the project director and I wanted to get a little flier out to all the participants to have them partake in an online survey from the National Council of English Teachers (NCTE) about the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Let me shorten that for you: it’s a survey from NCTE about the NCLB section of ESEA.

Well, maybe it isn’t always convenient to shorten things. But with Web addresses, it’s not only convenient, but sometimes necessary to shorten things.

Unfortunately, NCTE is using Zoomerang to run their survey, so they have an unwieldy, awkward, difficult to remember, and impossible to pass on URL. Our original version of the flier had the long address on it, full of capitalized letters, numbers, question marks, and the like. It’s ugly, so prepare yourself.

http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?p=WEB2257BN7L3Y9

TinyURL.com, true to its name, provides a short version of long URLs. To our flier that we would pass out to teachers and hope they would take a survey, we added the following URL:

http://www.tinyurl.com/ok77z

Much shorter, easier to remember, and likely to get passed on because of those things. We got lucky in that it has “OK” in it, making it that much easier to remember. If you’re a teacher, take the survey. It should only cost you 2 minutes.

I can easily see TinyURL entering the classroom, offering students a much shorter way of getting to important sites for class. A Blogger site is often a hassle to type into the computer. A TinyURL version may stick in their heads better. My classroom Web site is a long sprawling thing. I should get a TinyURL to pass on to the kids instead of torturing them with “slash” this and “slash” that.

So, use TinyURL whenever you have a long Web address you want other people to remember or if you just want to impress the project director of a program for which you are the tech liaison.

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