Here’s one way to save time and space in your next professional development (PD) session: Use the only URL shortener that generates a QR code at the same time!
For teachers, students and presenters in BYOD or mixed-device environments (say, at a conference, etc.) a URL shortener as well as a QR generator are the quickest ways to share resources like a Google Presentation (my personal favorite), YouTube videos or even surveys. For those who like to re-use items, it is sometimes hard to keep track of which URLs you used and where they point to. And you have to pull out your smartphone and snap a QR code to test that it is still live…
But no more! Enter: goo.gl, Google’s URL shortener, URL tracker and QR code generator… all in one, simple-to-use and archived service. (Isn’t that the Google way?) Simply navigate to goo.gl, sign into your GMail/Google account, and start shortening. The QR codes are just a click away in the details view.
For PD presenters, you also get valuable data from Google (Isn’t that really the Google way?). As your session continues, you can tell how many users are on Windows vs OSX; Chrome vs. Firefox (…and dare I even mention IE?); Android vs iOS; etc. This will help you mention any specific bugs or tweaks you have to do on these different formats. For a BYOD campus or teacher, this information can be invaluable for surveying students’ devices without singling students out. For trainers, this is also one way to verify that everyone is on the right browser or has the latest updates before proceeding.
Unfortunately, unlike TinyURL, goo.gl does not allow custom URLs…this seems to be its only drawback. However, the listing does allow you to “Hide” URLS that youv’e used, so you can keep those frequently-used URLS at the top of your list and let the one-day, one-use URLS fall into hiding. I also wish Google would add some functionality to “search” your listings in goo.gl, but alas, the world can never be completely (Google) perfect!