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

 

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

An Easier Way to Add Embed Codes

We now have an easier way to add embed codes to a binder. This feature was a personal one for me.  I archive the links from the #PATUE chat each week and whenever I got a video or Slideshare presentation, I would just groan.  It took too many steps to insert the embed codes from these applications in a LiveBinder which was distracting me from the thought-provoking chat – so I just had to fix it. Embed codes were so hard to use that our friend scling created a whole series of binders on this very subject.

But now, we have a much better way to insert embed codes, whether it is from YouTube, Slideshare, Prezi, or any of the other great applications scling has in his binders.  Now you just grab the embed code, create a new tab, and insert the embed code under Add Content > Add Other Content > Embed Code.

The only limitation is that we can’t use embed codes that have javascript, so, sadly, we can’t embed Pinterest boards yet.

Adding embed codes

Here is a binder that shows some of the embed codes that you can use.

Before we had this feature, you had to edit html to add embed codes, which was really hard to explain to people who are not very technical. So this should make it easier for everyone – including me!  What can we do to make LiveBinders easier for you to use? Write a comment on this post or send an email to feedback@livebinders.com.

Nominate a binder for the 2013 Top 10 Contest!

It’s that time of year again when you get to share with us a binder that you found really helpful or influential to you or your class. For the nominating process, first you share with us those helpful binders and then we will have a short voting period. When you nominate a binder, please describe why you are nominating the binder and we will add that to the voting binder for people to view.

Winners will receive a Top 10 label on their binder, have their binder posted on the Top 10 shelf, and receive bookmarks featuring their binder with a QR code for sharing. We would also like to give our winners an opportunity to share their insights and motivations for their binder when we make the announcement this year.

We look forward to seeing all the great LiveBinders you’ve used this year.

To make your nomination, please click on this Nomination binder:

Feel free to enter any number of binders from different categories (educational or other) – just be sure to share with us why you are nominating the binders.

Let the praise begin!

Some Libraries You Just Have to See

Tina and I are always awestruck at the amazing binders that are assembled by the LiveBinders’ community. I know lots of teachers who search for binders first before trying to create their own lesson plans. I thought I would take a minute to showcase some of the amazing teachers, principals, educational consultants, technology coordinators, and librarians who have created whole libraries of great binders. I’m including twitter ids for the ones that I know so that you can follow them on twitter too. Please comment on any that I have missed!

I have to start with Karen Bolotin @kbkonnected who has over 75 excellent binders. She teaches at the elementary level and provides amazing resources for teachers around the world.

Toby Price is an assistant principal who has a love of Apple products. Check out his Apps for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. He also has great resources on MAPs and Autism. Follow him at @teachersharetp.

Steven Anderson is very well known in the educational technology community, follow him at @web20classroom. An expert on social media in the classroom, his binders on QR codes in Education, An Educator’s Guide to Twitter, Google+ for Educators, and Staying Safe Online are not to be missed!

Michael Fisher owns the distinction of having the most viewed binder on the site – iPads in Schools. A nationally certified teacher and instructional coach, Michael is pushing for great change in education. He has fabulous resources on student-centered learning including: The Digigogical Matrix, Curriculum Transformations, and Social Justice LIVE! are just a few of his excellent binders. Follow him at @fisher100.

Though I’ve never spoken with wisermar and don’t know her twitter name (though I suspect that it may be Mary Wiser @wisemar) I have a deep admiration for the library that she has created which includes a great binder on the U.S. Constitution, lots of US and world history resources, but also fun binders like the Halloween binder that we recently added to the featured page.

Justin Stallings’ Library is growing quickly. He has created great social studies binders including one on the 2012 Presidential Election. His other binders focus on natural disasters, including Tornadoes, Hurricanes, and Earthquakes. (Hmm, makes me wonder if there is a tie-in between the 2012 election and natural disasters.) 🙂 Follow him at @justinstallings.

I’m going to mention two great librarians together here, Joquetta Johnson @accordin2jo and Carolyn Jo Starkey @carolynstarkey. Both have created great resources for their schools and resources that librarians around the world have found incredibly useful.

@2sparkley has built a library almost as large as KBConnected. She has many great resources that include both holidays and technology like Presentation Resources, Podcasting, Creative Commons, and Mother’s Day.

Ugh! Two that I forgot from my initial post: Angela Cunningham (@kyteacher). She has created a simply amazing collection of world history and social studies resources! Tia Cooper (@techwithtia) has created some of the best ed-tech resources out there with Winning Webquests, 100+ STEM Websites & Tools for Teachers, and “If It’s Not Free! It’s Not For Me!”.

I just stumbled upon another great author tonight, Shannon Long has put together some really creative binders including Angry Bird in the Classroom and the Cookie Challenge. I couldn’t find a twitter address for Shannon, but here is her blog: http://technologyrocksseriously.blogspot.com/

One more that I forgot about is Tina Holland’s Library. She has built some great science and technology binders and also has her own LiveBinder portfolio.

Ok, I stumbled across another great library tonight, Linda Kellim has also built some great science and technology binders.

Those are just a few, please let me know which great LiveBinders authors that you have found on the site!

And the winners are…

First, congratulations to all of the 29 LiveBinder entries – out of over 100,000 binders, your binders were selected as a Top 10 Contender and that’s worth mentioning!  And to our Top 10 Favorite LiveBinder winners – double Congratulations are in order!!

For Barbara and I, it was so much fun to see the good sportsmanship carried out on twitter as all of you tried to engage people to participate.  We both had a good laugh when @mfisher1000 decided to take on the 3rd graders in @mthornton’s class. Who thought it would get that heated?

I think the main point to take a way from all of this is how useful your binders have been to people.  In this day and age where the internet is getting overwhelmingly bombarded with information – its nice to have people you trust and respect sort through content in a meaningful way.  We love the polished way in which these binders were carefully created. 

To honor all of the 2011 Top 10 binders, we’ve provided badges for your home pages and mini-badges that will appear next to your binder icons on your shelves and will also appear within your binders. We will email you your website badges shortly and your mini-badges should start showing up on your shelves and binders immediately.  Below are the Top 10 Favorite Binders – Congratulations everyone! 

Tina and Barbara

The LiveBinders community recently nominated and voted for their top ten LiveBinders. Here are the winners:

1. Michael Thornton’s

2. KB Konnected’s

3. Mike Fisher’s

4. Steven Anderson’s

5. Christopher Stefanski’s

6. Michelle Green’s

7. Marianne Griffith’s

8. Ann Marie Kennedy’s

9. Toby Price’s

10. Steven Anderson’s

Some of Our Favorite Binder Builders

Every day we enjoy going to the LiveBinders site too see what people have created.  More and more we are seeing great binder authors who have created entire libraries of incredibly useful content.  I wanted to take just a minute to draw your attention to some of these amazing educators:

xmath – xmath has created some amazing binders on everything from on-line calculators to binders on different holidays (including pi day!)

joquetta – joquetta is a library media specialist who has created some fabulous binders for her students, including putting her Library Media Center up there.  But her binder on Google is also one of the most popular.

robertson8686 – Another great binder builder who has created everything from math binders on the Pythagorean Theorem to Presentation tools.

kellyhines – kellyhines has created some really interesting binders including the use of Skype in schools and a binder on hurricanes.

2sparkley – 2parkley has some fabulous resources on creative commons, great blogs, presentation resources, and the list goes on and on!

mwedwards – Sometimes known as the “Livebinder Queen” because she is such an authority on LiveBinders, Melissa’s shelf includes binders on presentation resources, a binder on Google Earth, and Media 2.0.

dmantz – Dean not only has great binders, but has also done a couple of podcasts with us.  Great binders on Digital Storytelling, Website Creation, and Virtual Connections.

mikefisher821 – Mike has created some wonderful binders including a Virtual Summer Camp for educators and Evidence of Learning.  But every time we go to his shelf we see something new and fascinating.

TheresaMcGee – Theresa has created some great art binders.  Her Online Art Games binder is one of the most popular, but she has also created resources on Leonardo da Vinci and Jacob Lawrence.

loakvik – loakvik has created one of the most popular binders in the past month – Mobile Apps for Education but her binder on Student Motivation Research is also worth checking out.

sroseman – sroseman’s great library includes in-depth teacher resources on twitter and the best of ISTE10.

teachagiftedkid – teachagiftedkid has created some great resources on math for elementary grade students, but her binders extend well beyond math.

librarybecky – librarybecky only has a few binders, but they are amazing resources on Civil War Biographies and Web 2.0 projects created by her students.

dj345 – dj345 created a great binder this summer on summer reading.  But she also has binders on Earth Day, reindeer, and snow!

scheeler – scheeler has created couple of great binders including his incredibly popular Ed Tech Tools, but also one of my favorites – Edgar Allan Poe.

s1mpl1fy – These are some amazing math binders on everything from Writing Equations to Polygons, to Solving Systems by Graphing.

vmizner – It is amazing when someone builds a many great binders all in one day.  These are some great high-school chemistry resources.

swimtchr – swimtchr has created a diverse set of binders with everything from Note Taking Tools to Principal Leadership.

lthurber@mac.com – With over 31 public binders, it is hard to know where to start.  You might find some of her more unusual binders most interesting including Robot Research, Renewable Energy, and Great Apes, but she also has some great history binders on Ancient Rome and Japan.

colleen young – Colleen has some impressive binders on Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, Equations, and Wordle

evmaiden – evmaiden has a very complete SMART resources binder as well a great binder on Promethean Resources.

ezzellk – For younger grade teachers, ezzellk has a binder on Pre-K resources and one on Iceland.

Lesley – Lesley’s Web 2.0 Tools binder is very popular, but she also has great binders on Reference Sites and History Topics

chanbliss – Here are some wonderful binders in the art discipline including Art Edu Sites and a really interesting binder on a Fifth Grade Quilting project.

There are so many more great authors, we will have to do several more posts to cover them all.  If you discover one you like, just click on their name in LiveBinders to see their public shelf.  Then add it to the comments on this post so that everyone can see their great binders.