Tech Tip: Using Bitlinks in the Classroom

I realized as I was talking to some fellow teachers that the use of bitly.com to shorten really long URLs is NOT a commonly known strategy. So I thought that I would share how easy it can be and how much time and frustration is saves me when sending students to websites and other documents.

Tech Tip: Use a free online service to shorten long URLs for use in the elementary classroom. Read about how simple it is to customize links to be easier to remember and simpler to type for younger students.
Maybe you're thinking, "WHY does any of this matter to me in the classroom?"
Well, I've found bitlinks to be helpful in several ways.



At my school, we have three carts of ipads, which is wonderful. IF you get them signed out early enough. However, if you're like me and tend to sign up late, you're stuck with the laptops or the stationary computer lab many times. Don't get me wrong. I am very happy to have access to as much technology as I do. But scanning QR codes with an iPad isn't always an option for me. So using bitlinks that have been customized has become my go-to method when I need students to visit particular websites.

I like using online sign-ups for things like party donations, parent teacher conferences, and field trip volunteers. When I use Sign-Up Genius (which I love so much I've written a whole blog post about it here), I end up with a long, complicated link that I have to share with my parents. Using bitly to shorten and customize the link is a great option for me!

I learned a while back to have an online storage system for my files. This has been such a lifesaver for me as I travel from home and school. I can even access files on my phone. I collaborate with other teachers in my district frequently, and I have found that sharing a bitlink to one of my files is a great way to allow access to the file. It's especially helpful for files that I am likely to change or update. Any updates that I save to the file show up when someone accesses the bitlink. It works the same way with Google Drive. Soooooo much better than emailing my fellow teachers six or seven times every time I find a typo or make a formatting change to a document.

In case you've never heard of bitly.com, I've put together some quick steps for setting up an acocunt and creating customized bitlinks. I hope it helps!

As with most sites, you'll need to create an account. Just go to bitly.com and sign up for a free membership. Easy peasy. I've even set my computer up to save my login information to make it simpler when I return to the site time after time.
Tech Tip: Use a free online service to shorten long URLs for use in the elementary classroom. Read about how simple it is to customize links to be easier to remember and simpler to type for younger students.

Open a second browser tab and go to the webpage that you would like to link to. This can be an image, a document, a website, etc. As long as it has a URL, you can create a shortened bitlink for it. I've even used it to link to a file I have saved in my Dropbox or Google Drive.
Tech Tip: Use a free online service to shorten long URLs for use in the elementary classroom. Read about how simple it is to customize links to be easier to remember and simpler to type for younger students.

 Copy the long link into the box at the top of the bitly page.
Tech Tip: Use a free online service to shorten long URLs for use in the elementary classroom. Read about how simple it is to customize links to be easier to remember and simpler to type for younger students.
On the right you will see a pop up window that shows a bitlink that has been created.
Tech Tip: Use a free online service to shorten long URLs for use in the elementary classroom. Read about how simple it is to customize links to be easier to remember and simpler to type for younger students.

I like to customize my bitlinks so that they are easier to remember and also simpler for my students to type into the navigation bar when they are using these links.
Tech Tip: Use a free online service to shorten long URLs for use in the elementary classroom. Read about how simple it is to customize links to be easier to remember and simpler to type for younger students.
For example, I changed a really long link to a file in my Dropbox account to a bitlink that was a series of letters and numbers and then customized it to be bit.ly/2016TCAP which was sooooooo much easier for my students to keep track of when typing.

Really that's it, but if you'd like to use these links to track how many people actually click on them to visit the page you've shared bitly has a simple way to do that as well. Simply highlight one of your bitlinks and you'll see how many total clicks there have been on your link. There's also a nifty graph that shows what days your link has been clicked.

The other day in class, one of my students raised his hand and let me know he had noticed that I had not posted on this blog for a while. Um, yeah. It's been a month again. Darn it. I have such high hopes and then life gets busy. So in honor of EVAN (in case you're reading this) this is a blog post that is LOOOOOOONG overdue.

4 comments

  1. We love using Bitlinks - especially customizing them! We often add "2016" at the end of link we use from year to year, such as a Google Form for feedback or signing up for an event. Thanks for some great ideas!

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    Replies
    1. I end up using my school name in them too. It helps when I find the customized link I really wanted was taken!

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  2. Did you know you can create short links with AdFly and get dollars for every click on your short urls.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just saw this after I wrote about how I used bitlinks in my classroom. Too funny - we both hate long URLS :) I never thought about using it with parents or to connect with my own folders - great ideas. I'm linking to your post now!

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