The All-Important Conference Handout

I know that when I speak at conferences that the most common questions are: “Can I have a copy of your slides?” and “Can you provide that url again?”

Conference handouts are a very important part of your presentation. Your talk is often so information rich that it can’t possibly be adequately absorbed in just an hour. People need to digest the information and then go back and review it. They also need reinforcement of your message and they need to explore your sources for themselves so that they experience that “ah hah” moment on their own. Don’t let them do that without you! Create a binder with all your materials and make sure that you provide your blog or website in the binder. This will help you reinforce your message, but also let them remember the source of that message.

LiveBinders is your perfect solution to a great conference give-away! Here is a brief video overview:

But here is the best part, you can be working on your handout until the last possible minute. Of course there are times when I get additional resources from the audience. I love being able to tell them that those resources will be included in the binder. Unlike emailing information, with a binder, everyone always has the latest version.

Here is a great example from Kathy Cassidy and Maria Knee with slides and other resources:

Create Your Own Binder Collections with Shelves!

We are very pleased to announce this feature since so many of you have requested it!

Now you can create your own shelves to organize not only your binders, but other people’s binders as well. Here are some reasons that you might want to create shelves:

  1. To collaborate with a group on multiple binders
  2. To collect the best binders on a given topic
  3. To create separate shelves for your students and for parents
  4. To organize binders by subject (both your binders and binders from other authors)

The nice thing is, when other people’s binders are updated, you automatically have the latest version on your shelf. These new shelves can also be embedded, so you can put them in a website, wiki, or blog.

In fact, you don’t have to have your own binders at all, you can just curate all the great binders that are already out there on your shelves.

Our LiveBinders community has shown us some amazing applications and uses for binders. We can’t wait to see what you do with shelves!

Here is how you can create and add to your own shelves:

You will notice that your “My Binders” page has changed its name. It is now “My Shelves”.

All your shelves will be located on the drop down menu under “My Shelves”.

To add a binder to a shelf, click on “Add to Shelf” either from the drop-down “Add” option in the upper right corner of the binder’s “Edit” mode, or from the “Options” menu located under the binder.

When you click on that link, you will have the option to add that binder to an existing shelf or create a new shelf.

These shelves can be emailed as links or embedded as widgets in your blog or website. This is easier on Blogger and other similar websites, but can be done on WordPress like the example below:

Please see our help menu or video for more details on creating your own shelves.

Here is an example of a shelf of the winners of the “Top 10 LiveBinders for 2011”.

Thanks again to those who requested this feature. As always, keep those enhancement requests coming. We love making LiveBinders a more useful tool for you.

Add Your Public Shelf to Your Blog

This post is updated as we have added some more features.

You can now add your public binder shelf to your blog or website.  It will look something like this (but it actually be live if your blog is hosted on something other than WordPress):

Unfortunately WordPress hosted blogs (like this one) will not allow iframes, so you cannot use this feature. If you are running the WordPress software, you can implement this feature through a plug-in.

To see a live example, please go to my testing blog on Blogger.

For Blogger, and other websites and wikis that accept iframes, go to your “My Binders” shelf and just cut and click on “Share or Embed Your Public Shelf”:

Then select the embed code and copy and paste it into your blog or website:

For those of you who are a little more advanced, you can customize the embed code to have a different number of rows and columns. To do this, please see the Tips and Tricks binder under tab #4 “Embedding Binders” and the subtab “Customizing the Shelf Embed Code”.

We are very excited to announce collaboration!

Thank you to everyone who asked us for collaboration features. Now you can have multiple people creating and editing the same LiveBinder. Here are just some of the uses that educators came up with for this feature:

  1. Student group projects – in your class or with a school across the country
  2. Teachers collaborating on lesson plans
  3. Teachers and students working in the same binder
  4. District or school binders that are a collection of resources

Dawn Wall, Technology Coordinator from Kansas State University, was one of our early testers of the collaboration feature.  Here is how she is using it:

“This collaboration functionality is really awesome. For example, we have created a private binder to share information regarding a complicated program transition. This allows us to have select staff update the binder in a timely manner while all interested parties have access to view the binder and have up-to-date information. I also think it has great potential for K-12 and post-secondary education project collaboration”

A note to all of our early Collaboration users and beta testers:  We wanted to let you know that we made some changes to collaboration since you started using it. For security reasons, we switched from user names to email addresses when you invite a collaborator. Your current collaborative binders should still work, but for new ones, you will need to use email addresses instead of user names.

Please see this binder to find out how to use the new collaboration features:

Please also keep those suggestions coming in.  We greatly appreciate your help in making LiveBinders a better product!

New Educational Category Search and More Sorting Features

Thank you to everyone who sent in feature requests! We have added some of your requests to this release including:

Searching  just the educational category. Now you can search just the binders in the educational category by entering your terms in the “Educational Searches” menu.  First click on the “More Education” link.  Then you can type in a term or terms that will search only the educational binders on the site.

Sort your binders alphabetically or by least viewed. Everyone is building so many binders that they asked for more ways to sort them.  There is now a pull down sort menu with all the options:

See the number of ratings that contributed to the rating of a given binder. In the details section (accessed either from the Options menu on the shelf or the “Details” link in the binder, you can now see the number of ratings that contributed to the rating of a binder.

Adding two new binder colors, brown and peach.

Adding “Original Author”. Now, when you copy a binder, the original author will be noted in the details section.

More Sharing Features Added to LiveBinders

We have added a few new features to LiveBinders:

Share a shelf – You can easily share an author’s collection of public binders. Just click on the author’s name (or your name) under a binder, you will then see their shelf page with all their public binders. On the right will be a url that you can send to anyone:

Add description to profile – You can now add a description to your profile with your website or blog link. This description will show up when someone clicks on your name:

Private binders identified – You can now see at a glance which of your binders are private on your “My Binders” shelf. They will be identified with this “Private” icon:

Easier to upload files – We have made the file upload interface easier to use.  Although we support uploading multiple file types, pdfs and .jpgs are the ones that will show up inside the browser most reliably.  Microsoft Office file types will only show up inside the binder in Internet Explorer.

Thank you to the LiveBinders users who reported bugs and requested features! Please continue to let us know how to make LiveBinders better for you.

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills

We had two teachers develop binders this month to help their student think critically when researching information on the web:

Research Skills & Climate Change

Read Beth’s blog post on this binder.

You may also want to check out our recent blog post: “10 Great Ways that Educators are using LiveBinders”.

More Features for Teachers

Live Link

We had several teachers who requested the ability to open the web page from within the binder – essentially escape the confines of the binder. So now, in play or full screen mode, the link in the binder is a live link. Clicking on that link will take you out of the binder and to that web page.

Live Link in the Binder
Live Link in the Binder

Change Email Address

We also had requests to be able to change your email address. You can now do that. To change any information in your profile, just click on the link with your user name in the upper right corner of the LiveBinders page.

Link to Profile
Link to Profile

Formatting Clean Up

We also did some formatting clean up. We noticed that teachers were creating some amazingly comprehensive binders with many subtabs like this one:

So we just made that look a little better.

Please keep those requests coming! We are thrilled with the response from teachers and want to make sure that LiveBinders works well for you.

Binder Dashboard Added

We just added a new dashboard feature to LiveBinders so that you can track the activity on your binders and see when you have new comments.dashbord

Also with this release we are still working on the file upload problem. Our apologies for not having this completely working yet. Right now you can upload word documents, but they will open outside of the binder. Uploading pdfs still is not yet working.

We fixed a problem with ‘LiveBinder It’. ‘LiveBinder It’ our bookmarklet, was not working properly when there were special characters in the title of a webpage – so you may have seen some web pages that wouldn’t go into the binder. That is now fixed.

Thank you everyone for your continued feedback!

A Feature for a Teacher

We have a teacher who is using LiveBinders in her class with her lesson plans and websites projected up on the screen. She asked that we create a way to show a binder without all the information around the binder that might distract her 5th grade students. So we added a ‘full screen’ mode to LiveBinders. From the shelf, click on Options > Show Full Screen and the binder will open up without toolbars or binder information.

This feature is also useful for PR people using LiveBinders who want to present the media coverage to clients.

Go here to try it out.

LiveBinders Saves Time in the School Computer Lab

Ms. Kellogg also had another a great suggestion for using LiveBinders in the computer lab.

Step 1. Create a LiveBinder with the pre-approved sites for the school, something like this one:

Step 2. Drag this binder to the desktop of every computer in the computer lab.

The students then click on the binder to get to the websites. Anytime you add to or change the binder, the changes are automatically on everyone’s desktop!

You could even make separate binders for upper grades and lower grades if desired.

Thank you Ms. Kellogg for sharing your insights with us.

Sharing Private Binders

We just added a new way to easily share private binders.  If you want to keep your binder private, but still share it with several people, you can.  You just enter a pass key in the binder properties.  Then when you email the url to someone let them know the pass key.  They will be prompted for the pass key when they click on the url.  Once they type in the pass key, they will be able to view your binder.  They do not have to be a LiveBinders member to view your binder.  Please see our FAQ for more information on how to share private binders.

Thank you for all your input and please let us know what else we can do to make it easier for you to use and share binders.