In this blog, I often post about sites and applications that can change the way we as educators instruct and assess our students. But sometimes, I want to focus on tools that just makes our teaching a little easier. TinyURL is one of these tools. TinyURL allows users to take a complicated URL and make it easier to share. You just copy and paste the URL into TinyURL and the site will give you a shortened URL that will redirect visitors to that page. You can even create a TinyURL that is more logical or easier to remember by typing in your own custom alias.
Some might think that TinyURL is really useless, but it actually has many applications. You can use it to post long URLs into Twitter or use it to share a cumbersome web address more easily. I started using TinyURL after becoming frustrated in a class with students who were having difficulty typing in the complicated URL. I wanted them all to contribute to a Typewithme document, but some students were struggling and mistyping the URL. I copied and pasted the web address into TinyURL and created a URL that everyone could remember. Actually, when you think about it, TinyURL works by some simple educational psychology. Given a set of letters to remember (or type) that are completely random, say like “reggoWeGhnaotsni,” most students will have trouble remembering it. But reorder those same letters into some logical chunks, like “George Washington,” and the letters are easier to remember. TinyURL allows individual educators to take illogical strings of letters in a URL and create logical chunks out of them and make them easier for students to remember and access. While it won’t revolutionize your teaching, TinyURL can make sharing URLs a little easier, especially when you’re doing it in a face-to-face classroom setting.