Sell Your School Short

I still remember a passionate university mathematics professor and a moment that still sticks.

  • What does a good basketball playing student do to get better?
    – Practice, Practice, Practice.
  • What does a good baseball playing student do to get better?
    – Practice, Practice, Practice.
  • What does a good mathematics student do to get better?
    – Do the odd numbered problems on page 37 and then go outside and play baseball

Secondary school teachers can appreciate this.  “Gym rats”, if they are able, are using any free minute of the day to refine their skills.  Before school, after school, wherever, whenever…

There are other groups of students.  Those that love mathematics.  Those that love computer studies and coding.  In my computer science class, there were always a few students who just couldn’t get enough.  They’d be in the computer room before and after school, and during lunch.  They were beginning their hacking experience.  It wasn’t just extra time to do their assignments.  It was extra time to do their assignments better.  Then, they would turn to personal projects just for the love of it.

They always knew where, in the cupboards, I kept the computer magazines I had subscribed to and the extra software that I had subscribed to.  They’d key in programs or load from the subscriptions and then modify things – just because they could.  They were always up for a challenge and I remember a couple that had even written a very primitive Learning Management System.  They’d ask for suggestions; I’d give some; and they’d be back to modifying it.

These days, some Computer Studies classrooms have their own dedicated servers where they get to experience web applications without testing them out on production servers.  It makes so much sense.

If I had those students today, we’d definitely be all over this article that I read this morning.  “Build Your Own URL Shortener With YOURLS“.

It’s timely given the current state of things.  Who hasn’t experienced bit.ly or goo.gl or t.co?  The premise is something that I think we all take for granted.  You take this huge long URL and shorten it so that it’s easily typed or so that it fits into the Twitter 140 character limit.  If you look closely, you’ll see that many companies and organizations have their own URL shortener.

So why not your school?  What a stamp of technology knowledge!  There’s just something special about making your own.

There are other full blown tutorials but this particular tutorial intrigued me.  It’s sort of a hybrid solution.  It uses YOURLS which is available on Github but provides a nice, student understood tutorial that’s fun to work through and then would be off to customise it for their own experience.

Wouldn’t it be nice to customize your school’s long URL to something that’s easy to remember?  Then, drop a load of statistics on your principal’s desk?

Your student have the power to “sell your school short” with a customized URL.

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