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Have you seen those short URL links that everyone seems to be using these days? These can be great if you don't want to waste a lot of space with a long URL. Maybe I'm just behind the times since I don't use Twitter and I image they were created for platforms like that where you are only allowed a certain number of characters. I have found it to be great for posting links on Facebook or even for your TpT slogan area where you are only allowed a few characters.
Google has their own URL shortener that is very easy to use. Simply copy and paste your link into the box and click, "Shorten URL" and it will give you a link to copy. The best part is it keeps track of all your links and gives you stats on how many people clicked on each one. You can click on "Details" to get even more stats including where the referrals came from (i.e. Facebook, Pinterest, etc.). It also gives you a little preview of each link if you check the box to select. It is really nice to have this quick visual without having to click on the link and open the page. The best part is it's free! Check it out at https://goo.gl
If you ever need to convert a file from one format such as a Power Point to another such as a JPG, ZamZar is the site for you! PDF to Word, no problem! You can convert videos, audio, music, e-books, images, CAD, etc. In fact, ZamZar supports over 1,200 different file format conversions! It's free and super easy to use. In just three easy steps you will have your new file! Step one: choose the file you want to convert. Step two: select the file format you want to convert it to. Step three: enter your email and then click convert. You will have to wait a few minutes and when your file is ready you will get an email with a link to where you can download your new file. It often gives you options for what quality you'd like to download (with size options). I usually pick the biggest file size (MB over KB) in hopes of getting the best quality.
Once you've received the email you will have up to 24 hours to download your new file before it is deleted from their database. If you'd like to have access to the downloaded file via their website, you can sign up for an account, which ranges from $9-$49 a month and gets you larger file sizes, on-line storage, faster turn-around time and more features. However, if you are like me and only need an occasional file conversion you can stick to the free version. Click on the image to the left to start converting!
Since Chris is known for interviewing educators in his podcasts, I thought it'd be fun to get to know him better by interviewing him with a little Q & A session! Here are my questions and his responses.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Do you have a family? How long have you been teaching?
A: I’ve been teaching middle school science for 5 years in the Houston area. This year I’m moving to a brand new school in the Cy-Fair school district, and I’m super excited about having a state of the art science lab to teach in. My wife teaches elementary school and last summer we adopted a baby boy named Colin. He is the joy of our life, and we’re having a ton of fun this summer together.
Q: How & when did you get started with TpT?
A: My wife introduced me to TpT last fall after she purchased a couple of products. She felt like I could sell products on the site and that it would be a great fit with my skill set. I poked around the site for a few days and then stumbled onto one of my friend’s stores, Math Coach’s Corner. I was floored by the following that she had and saw the potential immediately. I reached out to her on Twitter and we setup a conference call. I fired dozens of questions her way, and I’ve been full force ever since. I’m forever grateful for her mentorship that day.
Q: Where & when did the idea for Eduallstars.com and TpTschool.com come from?
A: The idea of EduAllStars started last spring when my co-host, Todd Nesloney, and I were talking about all of the incredible educators that we were connecting with on Twitter. A friend of ours has a podcast called Techlandia, and we setup a Google Hangout with him to talk through some of the technical aspects of hosting a podcast. From there we have done a weekly interview with some of the biggest game changers in the education field. We’ve even been able to interview the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
The idea of TpTSchool came about because I felt like there wasn’t a place that had good information for someone new to TpT. The forums are a great start, but to assimilate all of that information can be daunting for a newbie. The blog is also a place for me to reflect on what works and doesn’t work for me on TpT. Hopefully others can learn from my experiences through that process.
Q: Do you have other websites?
A: I have a couple of other websites that I maintain as well. I blog about my science classroom at KeslerScience.com
I also run GeniusHour.com which was a lot of fun when I had some autonomy in the classroom. Lastly, I own StubSearch.com which has nothing to do with education, but has provided me with a supplemental income for the last 8 years.
Q: Can you give a short description of each of your educational websites?
A: KeslerScience.com – My personal blog where I talk about the on goings in my middle school science classroom.
GeniusHour.com – A movement that allows students to take charge of their own learning by allowing them to learn about whatever they want to for 20% of the time that they are in class. It’s modeled after some major corporations that offer 20% time projects for their employees
EduAllStars.com – A podcast that does weekly interviews with the difference makers in education.
TpTSchool.com – A resource for Teachers pay Teachers sellers that helps them to increase productivity and maximize profits.
Q: How do you juggle teaching, TpT, blogging and family life?
A: This is a great question. On top of everything that I’ve already listed I’m also in grad school which takes up a considerable amount of my week. Our son is still young and fortunately has a great sleeping routine. I try very hard to work on a lot of my projects when he is asleep because I don’t want to miss spending time with him. My wife has been super supportive of my efforts over the last year and has taken on more responsibility around the house to allow me to grow my business. I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t some sacrifices along the way. You won’t find any successful entrepreneur that will tell you differently. I try and limit my tasks to 1-3 highly focused things per day. That saves me from feeling overwhelmed and helps me manage my time. The potential of a widely successful TpT store is such a great motivator, but nothing good comes without hard work.
Q: What are your top 5 must check out blog posts and/or podcasts?
A: In no particular order:
Teach Like a Pirate Interview with Dave Burgess
Interview with Todd Whitaker
The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started on Teachers pay Teachers
Analyzing TpTConversion Rates
Open Notes Assessments in the Science Classroom
Q & A with Chris Kesler
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