Last month, one of my students, who was cheesed-off about some comments I'd made on his progress report, stomped up to another teacher and announced that "that old coot Mr. Fladd is getting senile!"

While I'm not all that worried about senility yet, the fact remains that I tend to forget... um... stuff... and...

Um, what were we talking about?

Anyway, I've been making an earnest effort to model ethical internet use for my students. One of the areas where they (and I) tend to cut corners, ethical-use-wise is citing picture sources. In the past, I've tended not to cite photographs in my PowerPoints because I didn't like the way the citations cluttered up my slides, but since I found my solution to that, I've been pretty good about citing my sources.

If I can remember where I found the pictures, that is.

Here's how I address the "where-the-heck-did-I-find-that?" problem:


 

When I save a picture to use later in a PowerPoint or on a worksheet, I copy its URL (its web address). I do this by highlighting it, then right-clicking it and choosing the "copy" command.






 

 

 

Next, I open the folder I've saved the picture to and right click it. When the menu pops up, I choose the "Properties" option.




 

 

The window that appears will tell me a lot of less-than-riveting technical information about the picture file I've just saved. The particular information I'm concerned with is located in the "Details" section, so I click on that tab.


 

 

I click on the heading labeled, "Comments" and paste in the URL that I copied earlier, by pressing Control-V.


 

 

Next, I click on the heading labeled, "Date acquired". The neat thing about this is that I don't even have to actually remember the specific date. (As you will recall, I'm losing my mind and have memory issues.) All I have to type in is the number of the month and my computer fills in the rest for me. I click on the little calendar to the right of the date. This will bring up an actual calendar. I select the current date, then click the "OK" button at the bottom of the window.

Now I've saved the date and location where I found a given picture that is attached to the actual picture file, so it will be much more difficult for me to lose. (Not impossible, mind you, but definitely more difficult.)

Last year, I tried to show this trick to some of my students who were working on school computers and it did not work. Our version of Windows XP does not have this feature, apparently, so this may be a trick that will only work for you at home.

Or maybe just for me.

At home.

When I remember to... um... er...

Uh.. what were we talking about, again?


 
 

This is one of those really, really useful websites that make themselves such a basic part of your life that you forget to tell anyone about them. Sorry I've been holding out on you.

You know how annoying it is when you want to share a weblink with someone and it's so insanely large that there is no way in the world that anyone will copy it down correctly?

Let's use this as an example:

http://www.amazon.com/Lives-They-Left-Behind-Suitcases/dp/1934137073/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=I16P44YOKQ94PA&colid=2JQX7AV3CZQ03

Sure, it's ugly and annoying dumped in the middle of a blog, but that really isn't such a big deal is it? I mean, all you have to do is click on it; so what if it is as ugly as a Bulgarian mother-in-law?*

Lets put it this way:

Have you ever wanted your students to write down a web address, but it was so big and cumbersome that you ended up not giving them the link?

TinyURL does something very simple and quite wonderful. It makes long web addresses short.

Let's use that same Amazon link as an example. If you run it through TinyURL, it comes out like this:

http://tinyurl.com/5rgw4n


You now have a smaller version of the same web address that you can use anywhere. It is a permenent URL that will stay good forever (at least in theory.)


It's that simple and that cool.



* My apologies if you happen to BE a Bulgarian mother-in-law; it just a phrase I've always wanted to use.

(Great. I've got three readers and with my luck two of them are in the Former Warsaw Pact. Sigh...)