Teaching Practice

In-Class Linking with URL Shorteners

Literacy: navigating hybrid and digital cultures

This simple teaching practice quite literally models navigating digital cultures.

It can be a hassle to enter a long URL into a browser, especially on a smartphone or tablet. A URL shortener does just what it says it will: create a shorter URL. That makes it easier to share with your students verbally or on the board.

Some tips for these tools:

  • Shorter isn’t necessarily better if the new URL is random, complex, or confusing. Tools like bitly allow for custom URLs if you create an account. Pick something memorable.
  • URL shorteners also collect valuable analytics about the volume and sources of traffic on your custom link. This can be useful depending on your context.
  • Unlike most URLs, bitly links are case-sensitive. It’s best to stick to lower case and use hyphens to separate words if necessary, e.g., bit.ly/dig-lit-kit

Ministry applications

Shortened URLs are great for sending a group to a page on their devices—say, an electronic giving page or an event evaluation form. They’re also handy to stick on promotional posters to refer viewers for more information.

Background image: “mini microbus” by Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)