Although we are rapidly growing into a digital world, there are still times when sending a letter home is necessary. If the information you are directing them to is on the internet, here are two options you can use: URL Shorteners and QR Codes.
Website URLs can be very, very long. With each additional letter, you increase the chance that a mistake is made when it is typed into the computer or mobile device. The next time you want to include a website in your newsletter to parents, try using a URL shortener. They are an easy way to greatly reduce the number of characters in the URL and still get you to where you want to go. Although there are many out there, I prefer goo.gl for shortening URLs. No log-in is required, but it does keep a history of your URLs if you are logged in to your Google account. Also, if you use Chrome, there is an extension for the Google URL shortener that gives you the shortened link with just one click. Shortened URLs made using this program are case sensitive, so you may want to include this in your letter as well.
Quick Response (QR) codes are another great way to share information in newsletters. Once parents download a QR reader (there are many that are free) to their mobile device, they can scan the QR code you have put on your newsletter and they will quickly be directed to the appropriate link. Once again, there are many options for creating QR codes. The website I use the most to create QR codes is QRStuff. This website allows you to create QR codes specifically designed for a variety of links. Once you have created the QR code, the image can be downloaded and inserted into the letter before you print it.
Once you have tried it for newsletters, you will likely start seeing other ways you can use these two tools in your classroom. Have fun!
I am a high school Social Studies teacher and EdTech Integrationist. I am constantly looking for ways to bring innovation into the classroom. Working on developing a growth mindset everyday.