10 ways for teachers, students to share links in class

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Friday, January 8, 2016

10 ways for teachers, students to share links in class

Links are like digital currency in class. Teachers and students can distribute those links quickly and easily with these options. (Public domain image via Pixabay.com)

Links are like digital currency in class. Teachers and students can distribute those links quickly and easily with these options. (Public domain image via Pixabay.com)

In a class with technology, links are like digital currency.

If you have the right ones to the right places, you can quickly open up doors to great learning opportunities.

The key is having them at the right time and being able to deliver them to students.

Sometimes, teachers ask me, “That’s a great activity, and I’d love to do it, but how do my students access it?”

Or they ask, “How do students turn that in to me after they’re done with it?”

Here are 10 ways to make those link transactions much easier:

(Note: In this post, I’ll use the term URL a lot. The URL, sometimes called the web address or the link, is what you type into your browser to get to a site. i.e. This site’s URL is DitchThatTextbook.com. Fun fact: URL stands for “uniform resource locator”, or how your computer finds resources on the web.)

1. TodaysMeet — TodaysMeet is intended to be a backchannel chat, but there’s much more you can do with it. In my classes, I’ve always created the same TodaysMeet room (and corresponding URL) for the entire year. My students bookmark it and can be there in one click. If I need them to visit a site quickly, I’ll just add the link to our TodaysMeet room and they can access it quickly. (Check out these 20 ways to use TodaysMeet in your classroom.)

2. URL shortener — These sites let you shorten your URLs so they’re easier to share on social media — or easier to type. There are a ton: bit.ly, goo.gl, is.gd, and more. The one I’ve had the most success using in the school setting is TinyURL (tinyurl.com); I’ve found it’s least likely to be blocked by Internet filters. You can go to tinyurl.com and enter a long URL, and TinyURL will make it short enough for students to type. You can even customize it. For example, tinyurl.com/dttbook is one I set up for my book.

3. Google Tone/Chirp — URLs can be distributed by sound! Google Tone is an extension to the Google Chrome web browser. It broadcasts URLs by emitting a sound that other Chrome web browsers can understand. They translate that tone to a URL and direct users to that site. This is great for sending a whole class of students to one site quickly. If you’re using iPads, the Chirp app does the same thing.

4. Learning management system — Many schools and school districts offer these, such as Edmodo, Canvas, Schoology and more. (Google Classroom isn’t a full-fledged learning management system, but it fits the conversation here.) If your students meet, collaborate and turn in assignments in a learning management system already, it’s an easy place to direct them to other sites. (Looking for Google Classroom how-to’s, tips and tricks? Check out my Classroom posts.)

5. Padlet — This is a bit more visual and spatial option for delivering URLs. Padlet is like a digital cork board. Anyone who accesses the Padlet wall you create can add virtual sticky notes to it with text, images or URLs (unless you change the privacy settings). Create a Padlet wall and add URLs to it, or your students can add URLs themselves. (There’s a lot more you can do with Padlet, too.)

6. Email — This is so “old school,” but it works so easily sometimes. For schools that have given students their own email accounts (and access to them at school), sending links via a whole-class email list is pretty easy … especially when you’re comfortable with email already and it’s not something new to learn.

7. Remind — For BYOD schools (bring your own device), texting a URL to students might be easiest. Remind is a service that lets teachers send text messages to students and parents safely without divulging their personal contact information. If students are using their phones and tablets for school work anyway, signing them up for a Remind class and texting them through Remind might be an easy option. That text message with the link would stay on their phones for them to access later if they wish. (The sky’s the limit for communicating with Remind. Here are some more ideas.)

8. Class website — If students will need a link multiple times, this is a good way to put it in a more permanent place. If you have a class website (provided through your school district or through a website builder like Weebly or Google Sites), just add the link to the URL on your website. (Want to jump start your class website with great content? Here are some ideas.)

9. OneTab — Do you have a tab addiction? When you surf the web, do you constantly have a ton of tabs open? OneTab can help, and it can help distribute a list of URLs to students. Open the URLs you want students to get in different tabs. With OneTab installed as an extension in Google Chrome, just click the OneTab button in the top right part of your Chrome browser. It will combine them all into one tab with links to each one. It also creates a shareable link that you can distribute to your students so they’ll have all of those URLs in one place.

10. QR codes — This one’s getting pretty “old school”, too, but it’s worth mentioning. (Plus, I like to make my posts an even multiple of 10 when possible!) QR codes are most effective in schools with iPads (or other types of tablets) or BYOD (bring your own device). Use a QR code generator (like QR Stuff) to deliver links to students. Print them and put them on the walls for common sites (i.e. class website, announcements/lunch, etc.). Display them on a projector screen … students’ devices can scan them from there, too. Or put QR codes on homework assignments or other papers students get to make web access quick and easy. (Want to create a QR code scavenger hunt? Here’s how!)

[reminder]How do you direct students to certain sites — or make it easier for them to deliver content to you? [/reminder]

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  • Science teacher should be unique and more complicated.

  • IPM says:

    We are using LinkiBag.com. They are free and best for sharing web links when teaching or tutoring.

  • Olivia says:

    There are 5 people in a room i came and kill 4 how many will remain.

  • alok kumar says:

    How can you solve quadratic equation in one variable using quadratic.

  • Craig Klement says:

    If using iPads, you can also airdrop links. My district also purchased Apple classroom and you can push out a link to the entire class at the same time.

  • Tracy says:

    Helpful list! Thinglink is also another great tool to share links!

  • Terry Borko says:

    I have been using ‘Share to Classroom’ extension on Chrome (GAFE). Students can also share their links with me too.

  • Jamie says:

    10 years ago, delicious had a great cross-platform bookmarking site. It was shareable and had tagging, so you could tag a fancy website map as “map”, “transport”, “economy”, and so forth. Delicious subsequently sold out and changed, so I switched to Google bookmarks which gives tagging, but not sharing (ironically, the search features are not as good as old delicious either).
    I’m told delicious is better now, and surely there are new options now. This would be the way to go imho.

  • Jill Fay says:

    You can insert links in a Google drawing! Then one bit.ly can provide all the info. Check this one to see what I mean bit.ly/4CApps

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  • Jen says:

    We use Hapara at our school. I love it!

  • Thomas says:

    Tip #9 needs to be edited to “OneTab”. TabCloud is an extension to recall a saved list of websites with one click. OneTab is the extension to turn several tabs into One with the option for a shareable link.

  • Tracy Buchanan says:

    I use Alice Keeler’s extension for Google Chrome, Share to Classroom. I think that works great for certain activities. It is pretty cool.

  • Mike Petty says:

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for all the great methods!

    One teacher I work with has used the Chrome extension Share to Classroom for this. If students are on Chromebooks or signed into Chrome with Google Apps for Education accounts, this tool works great.

    The teacher can visit the site on her computer, then push it to any students who are in her class in Google Classroom. You can also add the links as an Assignment in Classroom.

    Students can share links back to the teacher this way too, so it could be good for sharing links when researching together as a class.

  • Sean says:

    I use Symbaloo for creating bookmarks of websites and links for my students. The great thing about it is that you can share the Symbaloo and have student bookmark it or what I did was embedded it on my classroom website.

  • […] 10 ways for teachers, students to share links in class #edtech @jmattmiller ditchthattextbook.com/2016/01/08/10-… […]

  • Frau Davis says:

    I use my LMS, Canvas for 90% of my link sharing. But occasionally I’ll tweet a link if it’s not during school hours. I think the Google Tone sounds freakin’ cool, and I would totally use it if we had Chromebooks or were a Google-affiliated school.

    Update on using Google Slides! I took my new students down to the computer lab to have them work on a photo essay in groups. The first day was mainly researching and reading, but some groups got started. After running into some issues using the iPads, I had all my students try it on PCs today. It worked really well! Some students were absent and we had no loss of progress, everyone was able to work simultaneously. This was a group of mostly low-ability Seniors (English class) and they were surprised how much they could do, and so was I. Here’s our finished product (URL shortened courtesy of goo.gl my preferred site) https://goo.gl/R5mFIp

  • Thank you for sharing!

    Another one I recently stumbled upon is called Shomi.

    I wrote about it here: http://teacherstechtoolbox.com/?p=495

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