Our New Look – Coming February 19!

Thanks to all of your wonderful feedback, we have begun making changes to the overall look of the website.  Our objective with this release is to make navigation easier and your binder shelves more accessible.

Here is just a glimpse of what the website will look like and highlights of some of the changes.

Color me Blue:

Dashboard:

You’ll now see your dashboard at the top and on the left.  You can also close and open your “All My Binders” and “All My Shelves” menus.

Better access to your shelves:

Get more efficient with your organization.  We realized that you have successfully organized all of your resources into many different binders, but now you need a way to organize groups of binders, yours and others’, into meaningful contexts.  Our custom shelf feature is now more easily accessible.

Binder and List views:

Stay Tuned!  We will launch the new website on February 19th.  If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the changes before then, please feel free to contact us at feedback@livebinders.com.

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:

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!

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.

LiveBinders Selected for AASL’s Top 25 List

The American Association of School Librarians has selected LiveBinders as one of their Top 25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning.

Here is what they said about LiveBinders:  “This fun and easy-to-use site makes it easy to organize and share sources. Teachers can use it as a presentation tool, plan an interactive lesson, or engage with students on the research process.”

The Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Award honors websites, tools and resources of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning as embodied in the AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. The recognized websites foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. They are free, web-based sites that are user friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover. The sites were announced during the ALA’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 27, 2010.

Here is a binder with all the winners:

New Copy Features Added to LiveBinders

In response to several requests, we have added the following features to LiveBinders:

  1. No Copy Option – You now have a choice as to whether your public binders can be copied. By default, all binders can be copied.  To change your public binder to disable copy, go to  Edit Menu > Properties > Access and choose “Public – Copy Disabled”
    Public Copy Disabled
  2. Copy from Within a Binder – Now you can create a copy of a binder from within the binder you are viewing.  To copy, make sure you are logged in, then click on the ‘copy’ link located above the binder tabs next to comments.
    Copy from Within a Binder
  3. Embed from Within a Binder – You can now get the embed code for a binder from within that binder by clicking on the “E” icon next to the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of the binder page.
    Embed from within a Binder

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 by sending email to feedback@livebinders.com.

10 Great Ways that Educators are Using LiveBinders

It is so much fun to go to the LiveBinders site and see all the new ways that educators are using LiveBinders to curate content.  Every day that I go to the site I see a new interesting binder, so I thought it would be great to highlight some great examples in this post:

  1. ePortfolios – I think Jackie Gerstein created one of the first ePortfolios on LiveBinders and it continues to be one of the best:
  2. Computer Lab – Are you always finding more sites that you want to share in the computer lab? If you keep them in a LiveBinder, the students will always have access to your latest finds, like this one created by ‘dboyd’:
  3. Administration – Sometimes there is an event at school (like state testing) where the information changes constantly. In this case, it is helpful to have all relevant information in one place, where everybody can access it. This binder from ‘mstoraasli’ is a great example:
  4. Library – This is a great Library Media Center binder from ‘joquetta’ who has clearly done an excellent job organizing all this information:
  5. Student Assignments – One class grouped together all of their drawings in a LiveBinder for an interesting puzzle cube assignment:
  6. Collecting things to read – How do you organize all those great links from tweets so that you can find them later when you need them?  Mary Johnson organized her reading material in this LiveBinder and was kind enough to make it public so that the rest of us can read these great articles, too:
  7. Preparing for lessons – ‘xmath’ put together this great binder for teaching kids about upcoming Veteran’s Day:
  8. Posting course materials – This binder on the “Introduction to Internet” from ‘peterclearly’ organizes all the course materials neatly into tabs and subtabs:
  9. Sharing resources – A group of 25 teachers were all collecting separate links.  By using the same account, they combined all their links into one binder, so they could quickly gain access to all the latest sites.
  10. Best resources on a subject – Teresa McGee’s ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ binder, Colleen Young’s ‘Wordle – educational uses’ Binder, and Sheeler’s Edgar Allan ‘Poe’ binder are all excellent examples of collecting the best resources on a subject:
  11. Fun – Ok, I know I was going to stop at 10, but who says binders are all work and no play? I loved Nancy Devine’s collection of ‘Pumpkin Recipes’:

Here are some more examples.

A Library of LiveBinders for Teachers

Educators have been creating some great LiveBinders that are excellent resources for other educators. We thought we would pull them together in this wiki as a Library of LiveBinders organized by subject and grade level. We would love to hear your input on other ways to organize these great binders.

Please take a look at this wiki and let us know your thoughts.

Also, here are some tips and tricks for those of you who are building LiveBinders to share with others:

Easy Search by Author Added to LiveBinders

We just put up a new release of LiveBinders. This has fixes for bugs reported by Peter and Andrew including some sites that wouldn’t work with “LiveBinder It” and some IE8 issues. Thank you to both of you for reporting the problems to us!

A new feature added in this release is the ability to click on the author name to do a “search by author”. This lets you click on the author’s name of the binder on the “Featured Binders” shelf and see all the binders by that author. For example, you could click on “xmath” on the binder below to see what other great binders he has created:

link_to_author

Student Goals

Mr. Lester has been busy figuring out new ways to use binders in his teaching. He recently came up with the idea of using private binders for student-parent-teacher communication. A private binder can have the student’s individual goals in a place where everyone can find them. The binder can have websites and materials designed to help that student reach their goals.

We can’t show you examples of these binders because they are private. But here some more of Mr. Lester’s well-organized public binders:

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.

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.