Teaching teachers how to create simple Link Loops

Step-by-step explanation

I’m teaching teachers how to create simple link-loops.  By link-loop, I mean create two web pages and link them to one another, so a click on the first takes you to the second, the second links back to the first, and so on.  In my first try I learned quite a lot about what our average teachers know and don’t know about the concept.

I wanted to teach them using the simplest tools possible. All our teachers have Google accounts, so I decided to have them create two Google Docs, make them public on the web, and insert a link in the first to the second, and to the first from the second.  I created another Google Doc, also public on the web, and shared it with the half dozen teachers, so that they could write in the link to one of the web pages so we could all see if their links worked.

I tried to get them to visualize that their first link could become their class portal, while the second one represented any one of numerous links they would later set up to link from the portal (and include a link back to the portal of course). Since the class portal created in Google Docs has an unwieldy URL, I got them to create a mnemonic TinyURL for it.

I modeled the process with my own portal created for the session: http://tinyurl.com/ncpd2012june

To further illustrate, I created a link from there to the page where they could record their results, http://tinyurl.com/ncpd2012teachers. These two pages form a link loop (you can link from one to the other) and on the latter page you can link to all the teachers’ link loops. I later filled in the second page with details on what happened.

If you are following this so far, depending on your prior knowledge of what this is about, you might find this so-what? simple or exceedingly complicated.  This was the range of reactions I encountered when I tried to teach it (you can read more about those at the second link).  

It’s probably mostly my fault if I made it appear complex.  To resolve that problem, one of the attendees requested step by step instructions, which I decided to put in a Posterous blog, because then I could take Jing screenshot and share them online, and their URLs would display here as the underlying images.

So, if you are trying to create two Google Docs and link them to one another online, here’s what you do, step by step:

  1. Log on to your Google account and create two Google Docs like this


    View on screencast.com » 

  2. You’ll need to track where you are in the link-loop so give each of your pages a title, like this:


    View on screencast.com »

    and this


    View on screencast.com »

    Now your HOME folder in Google Docs should show the two new files


    View on screencast.com »

  3. The two files you created are by default PRIVATE only to you.  To make them web pages you need to CHANGE their privacy setting to make them public on the web (they can be public to anyone who searches in Google for them, or public only to people to whom you give the link; either setting will make them web pages).

    Start with the blue SHARE button


    View on screencast.com »

  4. Click on CHANGE, select a privacy setting, and click SAVE 


    View on screencast.com »

  5. To make it easy for your students to reach the page, copy its URL


    View on screencast.com »

  6. Paste the URL into http://tinyurl.com and give it an easy-to-remember tiny URL


    View on screencast.com »

    Click Make Tiny URL! and it should look like this:


    View on screencast.com »

  7. Do the same with the second page, only this time, making a TinyURL is not necessary. The purpose of the TinyURL is to give you an entry into the loop.  Once you’re n the loop you can make it work with embedded links.

  8. Now in the first page (your PORTAL) you need to place your LINK to the SECOND page. To do this, use the SHARE/privacy settings to find the link to the second page, copy it, highlight text in the document being linked FROM, and click on the LINK TOOL


    View on screencast.com »

  9. When you click on the link tool, you can paste the URL in the dialog box and click OK


    View on screencast.com »

  10. Almost done! Now you need to go to the second document and put in a lnk to the first (the portal in this case), and if you’ve done it correctly, you should be able to go to the entry point (http://tinyurl.com/mynew-portal in this case) and bounce from one to the other, like this:


    View on screencast.com »

Finally, If you attended the PD session June 11, 2012, or if you just want to comment on these materials, then please complete the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2S96KVK 

 

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