Organize Success Podcast: Two College Instructors Share How They Use LiveBinders to Optimize Student Learning

Long before Covid19 transformed the landscape of classroom teaching, LiveBinders users John Dahlgren and Peggy Hohensee were figuring out how to better navigate their college institution’s learning management system (LMS) protocols. Both had one objective in mind: to make it easier for students to find their class materials. They discovered that LiveBinders could be a flexible central location for their course material both inside and outside their LMS. Inadvertently, they also realized that by having this consistent access to their resources, their students became more engaged and self-sufficient learners.

In this episode, Linda Houle joins our podcast again to welcome John and Peg. I hope that for those of you who are grappling with how to manage your classroom remotely, you’ll see how LiveBinders can be a valuable extension of your teaching practice.

Image of LiveBinders Success Podcast with John Dahlgren and Peggy Hohensee
LiveBinders Organize Success Podcast with John Dahlgren and Peggy Hohensee

John Dahlgren is a Career and Technical instructor of Drafting and CAD Technology courses and is a Technical Trainer with Butte College Contract Education. 

Peggy Hohensee is the Chair of the Purdue University Global Math Department responsible for a team of people who teach, develop curriculum, design and create supplemental course materials from freshman level mathematics to graduate statistics.

Click here to listen to the podcast on iTunes.

Click here to view the LiveBinders Podcast Binder with links to the binders and resources mentioned in the interview.

Organize Success Podcast: Elizabeth Kahn and Success in Preserving History

How One Librarian Made a Difference

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.

undefined

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.  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.  

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.

Podcast-UDL-Cover

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!

Videoconference Etiquette during COVID-19 and beyond

How quickly our lives have changed amid the COVID-19 pandemic! We won’t count the ways in this post, but what hasn’t changed, and will not change, is the need to demonstrate good manners with those with whom we interact.

The social distancing and self-isolation practices that have been implemented to keep us safe in this battle have driven more of us to use videoconferencing technology.  When meeting with co-workers, clients, teachers, classmates, telemedicine staff, etc. we want to use the time we have with them effectively so that our meetings are productive.  No one appreciates time wasted with avoidable technical issues, distracting background noises, or unnecessary chatter – verbally or in the chat box.

The Videoconference Etiquette LiveBinder offers a few selected web articles offering practical advice for having a successful meeting — whether you are leading a videoconference or participating in one.  This binder was created to be an easy read that you can share with whomever you think will find it useful.

Etiquette binder-2

Please feel free to edit it – add tabs with text, web pages or videos that you would like to share with others.  To do this, create a free account with LiveBinders.  At the top of the Videoconference Etiquette binder there will be an Options button.  Click it and choose Copy.  This will add a copy of the binder to your LiveBinders “shelf”.  You can now edit the binder to make it your own.

If you have any questions while doing this, please contact us at support@livebinders.com.  We are always happy to help.

Stay safe and productive!

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.

remotelearningtoolkit-stella

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.

Medium-article
Click on Image to launch article.

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

View at Medium.com

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.

brad-neathery-258926-unsplash
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.

lonely-planet-643024-unsplash

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!

smbarnyresolutionbinder
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.

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 

wspei2017-2018

WSPEI 2017-2018 

Family binder icon

RSDSS Region 6 Family

Family binder icon

Sample Parent Ambassador Toolkit

 

LiveBinders for Conferences is Here!

LiveBinders Quick AppHave you ever wanted to gather all the information from a conference and have it organized to share with others as soon as the conference is over? LiveBinders Quick is a new app designed just for that. LiveBinders Quick lets you snap a QR code, write a note and instantly add it to your conference binder. After, you can simply send the binder link out to others so that they will have access to the same great materials.

Conference organizers, here is a way to go paperless at your conference for free! There is no cost to you or your participants. We would love to talk to you! All you would do is ask presenters to put a QR code on the door with their presentations or handouts, you can quickly and easily be running a paperless conference. No matter what your presenters are using to present their material, LiveBinders, Prezi, Google Slides, or any other application, it is simple for them to obtain a QR code linking the viewer directly to their material. You can ask your vendors on the floor to post a QR code with handouts as well. Your attendees will be thrilled that you made gathering materials so easy for them.

The LiveBinders Quick Conference App was requested by a LiveBinders customer who got frustrated walking around the conference floor gathering handouts that he had to organize and summarize for his colleagues when he got home. He longed to go paperless and just snap vendor information and presentations into his cell phone.  Now with LiveBinders Quick, he scans QR Codes and jots a quick note to his colleagues about the link. At the end of the conference he sends his colleagues a professional-looking online binder of materials and notes even before getting on the airplane!

To learn how to get started review our LiveBinders Quick Conference App Binder.

Here are the Apps:

Android App

iPad App

iPhone App

Embed Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and More

We now allow javascript embed codes in LiveBinders, so that you can embed lots of different content in your binder. Here are some examples:

Embed a Twitter Feed

For a twitter feed, you need to create a widget first. Just go to this page https://twitter.com/settings/widgets/ and create your widget.

twitter_embed

Copy the embed code and use these instructions to insert the embed code in your binder. Note: You will just see a link at first, but if you leave the tab and come back you will see your feed.

Embed a Pinterest Board

You will need to create a Pinterest widget by going to this link.

  1. Select “Board Widget on the left
  2. Add your board url
  3. Select the size (if you roll your own you can make it larger)
  4. Copy the embed code
  5. Insert the embed code in LiveBinders using these instructions

Note: You will just see a link at first, but if you leave the tab and come back you will see your board.

Building a pinterest widget

Embed a LinkedIn Profile

Go to this page on LinkedIn.

  1. Select “Inline” on the left side
  2. Click on “Get Code” below that selection
  3. Copy the embed code
  4. Insert the embed code in LiveBinders using these instructions

Note: In this case you won’t actually see the profile embedded, you won’t see anything, but if you leave the tab and come back you will see your profile.

New Upgrades to Base Tabs

copy_move_tabYou can now move tabs (and sub tabs) to base tabs. In fact, our new move tab interface lets you easily move any tab anywhere in the binder.

Also in this latest release is the ability to set a default tab color for both sub tabs and base tabs from the Binder Settings menu.

Introducing Base Tabs!

Main Sub and Base tabsWe are very pleased to be introducing what is, by far, the most requested LiveBinders’ feature – an additional level of tabs that we are calling base tabs!

This is a feature that is available only to our subscribers, so this may be a good time to upgrade. Educators can get a subscription for as little as $14.95 a year.

To find out more about how this feature works, please check out our newly updated help page.

Thank you to everyone who requested this feature. It took us a while to implement, but your emails and tweets were great encouragement!

A New iPhone App and an Upgrade to Our iPad App

iPhone App version 1.0

Last summer one of our Top 10 LiveBinders nominees, David Prindle, shared an interesting story with us. Students from his science class did not have LiveBinders accounts to keep track of his class binders, so instead they used a QR reader downloaded on their iPhones. His students could then get access to his binders directly from their phones, even without the QR code in front of them, using the “History” feature from the QR reader.

We incorporated David’s suggestion to create a simple iPhone App that lets you or your students view and organize public LiveBinders without the need to register for a LiveBinders account. Additionally, you can now search for public binders using our search tool and view presorted “Featured” binders and binders sorted under our “Education” category. Any binder that you view will then be tracked and listed under the “History” tab of the iPhone app for easy access.

Learn more about the iPhone app from this binder:

To download the app, search for “LiveBinders for iPhone” in your iPhone’s App Store. Thanks to David for sharing that great suggestion with us!

iPad app version 1.5

We recently added a feature that lets you link Evernote notes and any files that are uploaded into your binder. Simply go to your LiveBinders iPad App and select “My Uploads.” Click on the “+” icon at the top. Select “Evernote.” It will prompt you to log into your account. Note: You will need to install the Evernote iPad App for this to work with your account. Once you are logged into Evernote, it will list all of your notes and their attached files as separate links. You can select one item at a time to be added to your binder. Evernote note files and other Microsoft documents will appear as thumbnails in your tab page.  Thanks goes out to our LiveBinder member Justin Stallings for answering all of our initial questions about how useful an Evernote connector would be in our editor.

insert_evernote