Organize Success Podcast: Elizabeth Kahn and Success in Preserving History

How One Librarian Made a Difference

It’s been nearly two weeks since the wrongful death of George Floyd; with major events going on in our society on a daily basis, I feel compelled to announce and release this podcast that speaks to our still turbulent time, when we are far from ready to start what we thought would be a new normal. Life needs to move forward, but not without some poignant reminders to keep our focus on what we feel is right for tomorrow. This blog post highlights key take-aways from our interview with Elizabeth Kahn. I contemplated whether to postpone this until a later date, but then realized that the points that were powerful to me during the podcast are even more relevant today.  

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On March 12th, 2020, literally days before all of our lives changed by the COVID-19 lock down, Linda Houle (a long time LiveBinders curator) and I Zoomed with Elizabeth Kahn, the Library Media Specialist at Patrict Taylor Science and Technology Academy in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, to talk about her Hurricane Katrina LiveBinder.  In the interview, Elizabeth clearly demonstrates how important our role as custodians to historical events really are.  Here is why.

In 2005 those of us old enough will remember Hurricane Katrina and how devastating it was to New Orleans and the towns, schools and people who were displaced by it.  Fear was palpable, but through time the impact, the trauma, the fear starts to fade.  Elizabeth and her colleagues had a simple epiphany: A generation of students are growing up without any knowledge of this devastation and how it displaced a million people in a matter of hours and impacted their own family’s lives.  

At that time, Elizabeth does what librarians are trained to do, she goes out and finds information, resources that can help tell the story of what happened in 2005.  She vets information and then she goes a step further, she builds a narrative in the way she organizes her resources. In this case, she puts them in a digital binder because so many things that she wanted to illustrate are captured on film. She starts to build activities that she can share with teachers, who are the medium through which she can distribute this body of work.  It moves from one classroom to many classrooms, even to classrooms outside of the neighborhood she is trying to preserve. 

But there is something that happened that is unique only to this digital world.  Those primary sources started disappearing, and that’s the part where you hear Linda and I reflecting upon it in the beginning of the podcast.  In the actual interview, you’ll hear Elizabeth bring this up as something that is part of her routine, but it is significantly more revealing about her commitment to the cause and to what it takes to keep a history alive.  

Video clips taken by news agency were disappearing from the internet.  Why do you think that is?  What happens when primary resources disappear – does the history disappear? 

That is why it is so interesting to listen to this podcast and apply it to today.  How does Elizabeth’s project with Hurrican Katrina provide a model for preserving the Covid-19 pandemic or the #blacklivesmatter protests? That we all know will fade as the media’s interest fade.  How do we become the custodians for historical events? How do we make sure that we don’t let history repeat itself?  The heroes of destabilizing events are often those who learn how to take small steps and make them tangibly accessible. If you haven’t appreciated your librarian recently, now is the time to think about that in the context of learning. Thank you Elizabeth for all of this.

Listen to this podcast on:

iTunes

PodBean

LiveBinders

Organize Success Podcast: Fred Cochran and his UDL Toolkit Binder

We often discover great public binders on our website that we feature on Twitter, Facebook and our Featured binders page.  Although they have been perfect avenues for highlighting great resources, what’s been missing over the years is a deep dive into the why and how of these binders.

We’ve had the privilege of hearing great stories directly from our curators. Our Organize Success Podcast was born out of a desire to start sharing those conversations with you.  We think you’ll benefit from learning what our curators have already figured out from their own research and organization.

Episode #1 – Success in Universal Design for Learning – Fred Cochran’s UDL Toolkit Binder

Our very first podcast features Fred Cochran, Coordinator for Continuous Improvement and Support at the San Joaquin County Office of Education and his UDL Toolkit Binder.  UDL is an education framework that act as guidelines to help you create flexible learning environments that accommodate individualized learning differences.  Although it is an education framework, the guidelines can be effectively used in any interactive setting where you are trying to make a connection with your audience. 

If you’ve ever tried to teach an individual or a group of people new information, you’ll appreciate how Fred candidly shares the UDL mindset he adopted to improve his own work, where he happily saw, time and again, better audience participation and engagement.  These are gems you won’t want to miss. We believe you’ll walk away  knowing how to improve your own face-to-face or remote presentations.

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Highlights from our conversation: 

  • From architecture to education
    • Keen observations reveal how design benefits everyone
    • Rethinking ‘access’ from physical to conceptual
    • Teacher as designer
  • UDL as a mindshift practice
    • Value of giving choice, and the flexibility to change it
    • Gilligan’s Island and the 3-hour tour
    • How to use time as a participation tool
  • Fred’s LiveBinder editing tips
    • Using color intentionally
    • Using tab organization to unveil the context
    • Adding voice to the binder 

This  link will take you to the podcast recording located in Fred’s UDL Binder.

You will  have the option to listen to the podcast from our Youtube or Podbean link depending on your preference. The podcast will soon be available on iTunes and Spotify. Enjoy!

Remote Learning Assistance during COVID-19 and Beyond

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of you who have taken the big step of social distancing to help all of us #flattenthecurve of the COVID19 virus.  It is proving to be the best course of action.  We also want to send our thanks and support to the doctors, nurses and caretakers who are risking their lives to save the infected.

Remote Learning Toolkit

The Remote Learning Toolkit is a fantastic, and timely, binder for those who are looking for free tools on how to get your remote classroom started. You’ll find templates for online attendance records, free online planning tools, whiteboards and chat applications.  Please feel free to use and copy Stella Maris Berdaxagar’s Remote Learning Toolkit Binder. This is a great example of app smashing at its best.

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COVID19 Explained

In terms of your knowledge of the virus and what it means to you, please take a moment to read this  article.   Written in very clear terms, it helps explain what is going on with the virus, how the data can guide us on the best course of action and what you can expect to happen in the immediate future.  It is worth reading and is very powerful.  Please share it with others.

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Click on Image to launch article.

Sending safety and healing to all of you from all of us at LiveBinders.

View at Medium.com

Changing the privacy access name ‘Limited Binders’ to ‘Team Binders’

Our Team plan allows users to manage multiple LiveBinders accounts from an administrator’s panel.  In addition, the Team plan lets members mark their binders with a team plan privacy setting formerly known as ‘limited access,’  now known as ‘team access.’  ‘Limited access’ gives private restrictions to a binder, similar to ‘private access’, Team tag-label-4but makes it viewable without an access key to all members on the same team.  This is a way to create a team library of shared binders.

For those who are members of an existing team plan, you can still find your limited binders from the ‘All My Binders’ dashboard, just look for ‘Team Binders’ instead of ‘Limited Binders’.

You can find more information from our Help page under “Team Shelf.”

If you would like to learn more about the Team plan or about the team library, please sign up for a free demo here.

 

 

Academic Success – Getting Organized for Homework

As a follow-up to my blog post on the power of goal writing for students, I did some more research around resiliency, and started learning more about executive functions. According to www.beyondbooksmart.com, executive function are skills that students need for the following:

  • Managing time
  • Organizing thoughts and materials
  • Paying attention
  • Planning and prioritizing
  • Getting started (task initiation)
  • Staying on track
  • Remembering what to do and when to do it
  • Problem solving
  • Self-reflection
  • Managing emotions and impulses

I did a search for “executive functions” on our website, and found a group of binders with free resources created by MindPrint Learning.  There were so many interesting resources available.

In particular I was taken with their quote on homework:

“…supporting (students) with planning, structure and organizational strategies can be key to helping them work more efficiently, effectively and independently.”

There are a number of things you can do to help your student feel confident about their style of learning. One of the first things you can do is figure out what type of learner your student is.  There are many places that offer online tests.  Mindprint Learning offers their service hereOnce you understand your student’s learning style, you can organize a homework area to enhance and build your student’s learning confidence.

See our highlight of Mindprint Learning’s homework checklists and other free resources available below.

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Creating Successful Homework Stations and Routines

 

 

 

 

Thank you for sharing your knowledge on #DigitalLearningDay

Twitter-Hand-DLD-2019We recently learned about #DigitalLearningDay happening on February 28th and asked for requests to share your #digitalbinder libraries on that day.

Here are some of the curated content that was shared.

We were excited to share your resources with others during the #DLDAY hashtag event.

See more of our #DLDAY posts under our Tweets at our twitter.com/livebinders.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us!

Portfolio Map

Writing down New Year Resolutions

Setting New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to focus on one’s goals and develop a growth mindset.

In his two-year study, University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson had 700 students write down their goals in a class called Maps of Meaning. Asking them to reflect on fundamental moments in their life that he referred to as “self-authoring,” Peterson instructed his students to list different strategies and goals that would help them overcome their obstacles. After 2 years, he found that the achievement gaps between minority groups and white students closed significantly for those who participated in the assignment compared to those in the control group who did not.  “The act of writing is more powerful than people think,” Peterson shared.

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Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

Inspired by both Melissa Dahl’s story for The Cut and Anya Kamenetz’s NPR story about Dr. Peterson’s research, I wondered if students in class, or even at home, are encouraged to reflect on and write down goals.  As a result of these exercises, would these students be able to learn resilience?

Resilience is something that researchers are now identifying as a ‘growth mindset’, a term coined by Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset. Adopting a growth mindset encourages people to realize that their abilities can be improved over time with intentional and consistent effort. Goal writing seems like a great way for students to start learning and improving their own resilience.

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Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

Around the same time that I discovered Peterson’s research, I was delighted to find a binder designed specifically for students and goal setting.  Titled ‘New Year’s Resolutions,’  the binder is curated by one of our Certified Trainers, Stella Maris Berdaxagar, who designed exercises for ELA students geared not only towards improving their writing skills, but also setting personal goals and writing New Year’s resolutions.

Berdaxagar’s binder has guided steps on how a teacher can provide activities that encourage teen and adult students to reflect not only on what they’ve accomplished in the past year, but also on what their new goals are, and how they plan to attain them. Berdaxagar also includes an impressive selection of engaging activities that help students learn skill sets that could last them a lifetime.

Please let me know what you think!

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New Year’s Resolution Binder by Stella Maris Berdaxagar


Ready to Impress?

Have you curated an impressive body of resources to share?  Feel free to contact me for a brief demo on how curators like Berdaxagar are easily packaging and distributing their resources with our online digital binders. 

You’re welcome to schedule a LiveBinders demo here.

This blog post is based on a personal project I have started about organization skills and learning in the digital age.  I’m always inspired by the cool binders I find on our Featured Binders page.

LiveBinders’ Service Issue Summary

On Wednesday 10/10, one of our servers became unresponsive and caused our site’s performance to degrade. After we successfully restarted the server, the site performance returned to normal.

After additional analysis, we discovered that a new feature we were testing had created a dependency on this server.  When a server goes down, our website should be able to continue to perform properly, but did not because of this dependency.  We have fixed this problem and have verified that our software no longer has this issue.

Fortunately, many of you were able to keep up-to-date on our progress — both from our status page and our Twitter feed.

Thank you again for the supportive Tweets we saw on our feed.  We know how much you depend on your binders and we really strive to keep LiveBinders reliable and resilient.

Tina

 

New Pro Feature Alert: Now you can run your digital binder from your desktop!

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Expand the accessibility of your digital binder:

We are excited to release a feature many of you have requested (thank you for telling us what you need!).  This new feature – Download Binder – will provide you access to your binder(s) when you have poor or no internet connection. Download Binder will allow a Pro or qualified Organization plan members to download a copy of their binder that can be stored and viewed from their desktop.

What to expect from your download copy of your binder?

Your downloaded version will look and play exactly as your online version with the following exceptions:

  • Websites added to your binder need an internet connection. They will not display in the offline version of your binder.
  • The offline version of your binder cannot be edited.
  • The Options menu at the top of your online binder will not be available in the downloaded version.

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Screenshot of an offline copy of a LiveBinder

How to get access to the Download feature?

Make sure you are a Pro subscriber or belong to an Organization plan that has Download Binder feature enabled.  If you are interested in the Download Binder feature, you can upgrade to the Individual Pro and Individual Pro EDU plans from our Upgrade page.  If you are a group subscriber, please contact service@livebinders.com to learn more.

Options menu

Download Binder is located on the My Binders page in the drop-down Options menu underneath the binder icon.  Select Download this Binder to generate the offline version of your binder.  When it is ready, a Zip file will be emailed to the email address listed for your LiveBinders’ account.  You can also access your Zip file from the Downloaded Binders page.

How to install your offline binder:

After you download the zip file to a folder. Extract the Zip file in order to install all of the files and folders required to run your offline copy from your desktop.  To play your binder, look for the HTML file that is named as the title of your binder and double click on it to launch it to your default browser.  All downloaded binders will run from a browser off of your desktop folder.  To learn more about how to download your binder or troubleshoot any issues with your download copy, please go to our help page.

To learn more about Download Binder, please go to our Download Binder page or contact support@livebinders.com.

Thank you for another great LiveBinders suggestion!

 

 

 

LiveBinders Back-to-School Give Away

As schools are ramping up for the Fall school season, we thought it would be fun to  host a give away involving Twitter, LiveBinders and ten$50 Amazon Gift Cards.

amazon_backtoschool_imageStarting this Wednesday, August 15th, be prepared to share links to either your favorite public binders or ones that you find useful on our Featured binders page.   Winners will be randomly selected and announced over the course of 2 weeks in September.

To learn more about the contest, please go to our Events page here where the contest widget will be hosted.  We look forward to discovering more about the binders you share!

 

LiveBinders Privacy Policy for GDPR

On May 25, new data privacy laws — the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — take effect across the European Union. These laws provide consumers with more control over their personal data.

At LiveBinders, we are fully aligned with the spirit of the GDPR for a safe and secure Internet. We have always made it a policy, whenever possible, to not collect and store personally identifiable information and to have you choose to Opt-in to receive marketing emails from us.  For the personal data we do collect, we are committed to your right to privacy and to being transparent about how and why we store your data.

Please review our updated Privacy page here.

Thank you so much for your trust in us. It’s a privilege to help you organize and present your digital resources.

Tina and the team at LiveBinders

P.S. If anything in our policies and procedures is unclear, don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know at privacy@livebinders.com

Increase Parent Involvement

Effective Organization of Content Helps Family Engagement Initiatives

At LiveBinders, we are lucky to be exposed to so many great resources and to hear from our users about the work they do to elevate student learning.  Last month I saw binders by our members Evelyn Azbell and Fred Cochran, who both happened to be coordinating Family engagement projects. I was impressed with how they organized their binders – the time they took to get it ‘right’. It occurred to me that part of the reason we should take the time to organize our content is to make sure our readers are engaged.  After all, everything we do is to make sure our audience ‘gets it’. Evelyn and Fred’s carefully curated binders not only caught my attention, but I learned something new upon examination of their binders. Here are some of my observations on what I found so intriguing.

Evelyn Azbell of @cesa9_families and @parenteducatorconnection is a Family Engagement Coordinator in Northern Wisconsin.  Her binders provide direct access to hard-to-find resources such as grant schedules, program documentation, and other important information.  The resources have always been available for anyone to access, but Evelyn has put her own curated guidance on those resources.

evelyn azbell_Cesa9binder

I like the use of the subtle dark grey sub tabs between the red main tabs and the black base tabs that stay consistent with CESA9 colors – also gotta love that red!

In her WSPEI binder below, Evelyn takes advantage of 3rd party web applications to make her binders more inclusive for her viewers. There is more than one way to get access to her documents. If you are responsive to the infographic model, you can click on resources laid out on a Padlet page she has added to the main tab of her binder. Or you can grab the same resources from a Google folder she has linked inside of the binder in a tile format.  In addition, if you prefer the tab layout, each resource is also provided in its own tab or sub tabs of the binder. In other words, her audience will be able to find what they need in their preferred viewing format.

evelyn azbell_wisconsinSPEI-pdlet

Using Padlets as an additional visual map to resources is a fun way to make your binder interactive for your audiences’ diverse range of skill sets.

Fred Cochran @cochran_fred  is a Coordinator for San Joaquin County Office of Education and an instructor for Teachers College San Joaquin @TeachCollegeSJ. He has been providing training resources to help schools in his district start their own Family Engagement programs.  What struck me initially was the order in which he shares his resources, making it easy for his busy team to find what they need quickly. Anything new that is added to the binder can be found in the Newly Added Resource tab.

RSDSS Region 6 Family engagement

Fred carefully chooses his tab linear layout to keep his busy staff up-to-date on resources to share

It later occurred to Fred that he could create a template binder that other school districts could use to start their own Family Engagement initiative. In the example below, he has created placeholders for a district’s documentation, including any resources that are in Spanish.  For each main tab, he carefully crafted headers in a colorful image format with explanations of what each section is about.

Family engagement template_headers

In Fred’s Sample Parent Ambassador binder, he provides headers like this one in each main section to help guide the new Parent Ambassador. He also added placeholder sub tabs for Spanish version documents

If you are sharing resources across your state, feel free to review these binders as a model for your own design. Thank you Evelyn and Fred for sharing your hard work with us!

cesa9

CESA9 Family Engagement Binder 

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WSPEI 2017-2018 

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RSDSS Region 6 Family

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Sample Parent Ambassador Toolkit

 

Ingenious Approach Blends LiveBinders With Blackboard

LiveBinders Case Study: One Expert Educator’s Creative Leap Brings LiveBinders Organizational Features to One of the World’s Most Popular Education Tools

Blackboard Inc.’s Blackboard Learn learning management system is used by over 17,000 schools in 100 countries, including by 75% of American colleges and universities and over half of K-12 districts in the United States. The platform allows teachers to create a cohesive web presence for courses that integrates assignment details, rubrics, readings, and other documents in a wide variety of formats.

Blackboard’s comprehensive approach to course organization, together with its back-end design, invites integration with other online systems like LiveBinders that can help fine TorriaDavistune organization to specific course and student needs. This flexibility of Blackboard allowed Dr. Torria Davis, Instructional Designer at California Baptist University, to take a creative leap and embed LiveBinders directly into a Blackboard Learn course portal, bringing the tabular LiveBinders system to her Blackboard pages. This tabular organization has helped students focus searches for resources by allowing course content to be organized in hierarchical categories, making studying more efficient.

Spatial Hierarchy of Information Facilitates Learning 

According to Dr. Davis, LiveBinders’ tabular organizational structure and capacity for embedding documents minimizes distractions and can keep students from becoming overwhelmed.

Said Dr. Davis, “As an instructional designer mentoring faculty who teach online, I encourage instructors to use web tools that support their learning objectives by presenting content in manageable segments, with easy navigation and accessibility. The LiveBinders’ interface supports these ideas. Reducing the list of items in a table of contents minimizes feelings of being overwhelmed. Tabs allow sequential organization of content, which can be helpful for teaching skills that build upon one another.”

This organizational system helped Dr. Davis’s Blackboard students avoid having to scan  long lists of links and tables of contents with dozens of items. For students, quickly finding the right resources for an assignment may mean the difference between completing the assignment successfully and becoming burned out by long lists.

Because each LiveBinder provides an embed code, Davis could integrate her LiveBinder in an *open book format on the Blackboard page. Students could then navigate LiveBinders’ tabs of content through Blackboard, further minimizing distractions caused by links that would direct students to resources away from the Blackboard site. This direct integration of LiveBinders kept students focused on the content directly in the Blackboard environment. Said Dr. Davis, “Presenting students with an ‘open notebook,’ like a LiveBinder embedded in a Blackboard page, reduces clicks needed to access content–and any reduction of clicks and links to outside pages will help reduce distractions.”

Taking Access and Updating Seriously

In line with Dr. Davis’s philosophy on minimizing distractions for students, making access to course materials easy for all students also means making content as readily available as possible, regardless of available bandwidth or access to the Web. “Because students have varying bandwidth limitations with internet access, reducing the number of clicks to access content is an important consideration,” said Dr. Davis.

And making instructor access to platforms easy is just as important. Dr. Davis found that the cloud-based LiveBinders system offers a seamless experience, no matter where its binders are embedded or shared. “When I discovered that I could update the LiveBinder on the website and it was automatically updated in Blackboard, that was a ‘whoo-rah’ time-saving-moment,” she said.

While embedding LiveBinders in other platforms like Blackboard has made course material more useful and accessible for Dr. Torria Davis and her colleagues at California Baptist University, the platform’s tab and sub tab organizational hierarchy lies at the core of its value. Said Dr. Davis, “Tabs and sub tabs are the most useful organizational feature of LiveBinders. The display of all tabs at once makes the organizational hierarchy visible to the student, and whether the tabs correspond with topics or training steps, the organizational structure is clear.”

*Tech Bells and Whistles for Student Engagement

Honoring Women on Women’s Day 2017

LiveBinders honors women all over the world who make it happen! LiveBinders_WomensDay_3-8As you know, Barbara and I launched LiveBinders.com with the hopes of helping millions of people organize and present their digital accomplishments. We know how hard it is to launch an idea. It takes work and commitment; it takes a community. If you are a woman and have a business, project, thesis, classroom or school you’d like to promote in a binder on our featured page, let us know and we will work with you to feature it. Send us an email at support@livebinders.com,  subject – Women’s Day!