Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 12 -- LiveBinders

Today's guest blogger is Michelle Green from the ICATS group at Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation.

scheme for binders
By prallin

When I was in the classroom, I kept binders for every unit I taught.  Bulging, tattered remnants of those resources fill cardboard boxes in my garage. Fortunately there is no need for reality TV intervention.  I've started weeding out things and eventually will free up space so we can use the exercise equipment they currently surround.  Best of all, with today's tool the need to buy 4" binders in bulk no longer exists. LiveBinders, a free web 2.0 tool, provides a way to organize your collection of resources (websites, PDFs, videos, etc.), tag what you've created, store and present on "the cloud." And the neat thing, your teaching neighbor can borrow a binder and you never have to worry about not getting it back!

In an effort to hit as many features as possible, I decided to bullet what I've found useful the last two years as a LiveBinder user:
  • The site is full of screencasts and video tutorials to get you started on curating content.
  • You can rearrange materials easily in a logical order using tabs and subtabs.  
  • It is easy to update your existing binders.
  • You can personalize the appearance of your binders.
  • Using the Edit Menu you can insert text.  I find this really useful and you can see it at work in this binder. (You just have to accept my nerdiness when you see the binder.)
  • You can comment and rate other users' binders (on a side note, this is a practice we need to be more deliberate about in our 2.0 world).
  • Your binders can be private or public.  It's one of the decisions you make when you first create a binder, but you can always go back and change the setting.
  • You can search by public binders, by author, or by the Education category.  Use the search box on the upper right corner of the page. If you want to test out searching by author, I recommend entering "steven.anderson".  His "shelf" will come up.  I learned about QR Codes using one of his resources. 
  • After you search binders and find one you L*O*V*E, you can copy it to your bookshelf and edit it to fit your needs provided the author made it copyable (I always do).  So those of you who wanted more resources on Skype such as how to find partner classrooms, check out this binder.  Even if you decide not to copy it, you can add it to your shelf (see the bottom left hand corner of the screen for options).
  • When you are ready to share your LiveBinder, you have options.  Send a link by email, tweet it out, like it on Facebook, or present it using the Presentation button which opens a nice clean browser.  Remember those QR codes I learned about using a LiveBinder? I created some this summer for the LiveBinders I used at the eLearning conference. It was an easy, paperless way to share the resources.
  • Another option for sharing is to embed your bookshelf or a selected binder into your website or blog. The exception to this feature is WordPress blogs, but it works great with Blogger, Google Sites and Weebly.  The embedded LiveBinder below was created by the LiveBinder Team for new and returning users who want to learn how to maximize the potential of this tool.
LiveBinders Tips and Tricks

  • LiveBinders can serve as a bookmarking tool if you add a LiveBinder It toolbar to your browser (I tried this but went back to Diigo for my primary bookmarking).  I found this most useful when I was researching for a unit that I knew I would be sharing out. 
  • You can collaborate with others on a binder, but there are some limitations to this feature.
  • The LiveBinders support team actually answers your help requests (and in a timely manner).
  • One feature that I should point out is that you can automatically fill a binder using a Google search. Personally I have not found that useful; however, I could see some teachable moments being generated.
  • One of the newest features is that users can build multiple shelves.  Imagine having a shelf where you and your colleagues can share materials, a shelf just for your students and one for their families....

  • You're sure to find more ideas sifting through the Cybrary Man's cyber catalog of Educational Web Sites.  He offers a page devoted to LiveBinders.  I found what students have curated using the tool very inspiring.

    It seems I'm always recommending blogs, and today is not any different.  Tuesdays with Karen recently shared her excitement about LiveBinders by connecting it to TrapperKeepers of days gone by.


    For those of you who use Twitter, the LiveBinder ladies Tina and Barbara are very responsive. They love to learn how educators are using the tool and will promote your binder.  You can also go to to follow the conversation.

    Get Started with LiveBinders:
    1. Click the Sign Up link to get this window.
    2. Create a username and password
    3. Enter your email address (you can opt out of getting mail but they need this in case you forget your username and/or password--hey, it happens!)
    4. Check out the User Agreements and then click the Sign Up button.
    Your Assignment
    Once you have opened an account and explored the featured binders, take a look at your classroom or office shelves, file cabinet or perhaps your digital bookmarks and envision how you could reorganize the material using a LiveBinder.  Share how you could use this tool or better yet, create a LiveBinder and share it.

    1 comment:

    1. I'm interested in using LiveBinder collaboratively... What are the limitations of doing so? I think this could be great for building wide PD. All of the resources for a particular topic in one place.

      Great post, by the way! Thanks for sharing.