Tuesday, October 18, 2011

LiveBinders are SO helpful

Do you remember back in the 80’s and 90’s when our students had Trapper Keepers? It was a teacher’s dream-come-true because these wonderful binders helped students be organized and be cool at the same time.  Just having a place to put your stuff and actually being able to find it again was one of the greatest middle school skills attainable. (I realize some of you were the students at the time – don’t laugh.) Being organized in our school life and home life make such a difference in our success rate.  I’ve always been a three-ring binder girl until I went almost totally digital, but even with digital projects, one of the most important skills is to teach the students to put their creations in a folder system.  Being digitally organized is a moving target online. We moved from saving bookmarks and favorites on our computers to online hosts like Delicious and Diigo to Symabaloo, but this week’s “tuesdays” I’m excited to share the best digital and visual organizational tool ever.  Although I have featured LiveBinders before, I was very exciting to do a “train the trainer” model today for a teacher workshop this Friday.  They are going to create school wide Binders and their principal is going to create a Binder of all their Binders in one place.  What great insight.

A creative website

Like Back to the Future, LiveBinders has revitalized the Trapper Keeper system ubiquitously. In this increasingly paperless world, LiveBinders is the answer to those who need a “tab” system to get organized and those who really understand intellectually the reason not to print, but still print. LiveBinders will help anyone, any age to make that leap to a more paperless collection of information.  It can easily be made into a TechBook for your students because not only does it contain a “tab” and “subtab” system for saving and organizing websites, you can even put your pdfs, jpgs, PowerPoints and Word documents in a Binder.  I had been watching a few of my colleagues create some LiveBinders for their handouts after a presentation or to do an online class and thought it would be really fun to try.  However, like all new programs, it seemed like a large learning curve at first so I didn’t feel I could take the time.  This weekend however, I had the charge to create a website with my favorite resources for one of my schools and that gave me the motivation to try a LiveBinder.  To my delight, it was amazingly simple and gave me the best platform ever for sharing resources.  I liked how their Binder turn out so much that I duplicated it and made one for you.  Please feel free to pass this Digital Resources LiveBinder along and let me know if you would like to see anything else added to it. 

An image to share
Trapper Keeper by Mead (and still available for sale)

A proverb
“ A place for everything and everything in its place.”   Benjamin Franklin

An encouragement

Now I know I encourage you to try new sites out a lot, but this one I am ecstatic about.  LiveBinders is the ultimate Web 2.0 tool for teachers professionally and personally. I am writing about LiveBinders again because they has been more widely used over the last six months giving us many more samples to choose from. Please consider spending some time experimenting with the potential of LiveBinders.  The most important aspect of LiveBinders to me is the richness of sharing.  You can make your Binder private or public and even collaborate with another LiveBinder user. If you make your Binder public, you are also allowing others to copy your Binder. Imitation is the greatest compliment.  I sure hope you make the time to try it and if you create a LiveBinder, please let me know so we can share.

How do you do that?

The best advice I can give you before you create your own LiveBinder is to use their sample Binder as a sandbox. Play around in it and once you become used to the tab system, then you are ready to make your own. Before you create a new one, it is worth your time to storyboard your framework and foundation of the basic Binder. Click around in other Binders available on the site to get an idea of what is possible and the unique layouts that others have created.  I’m finding it so easy to add “just one more thing” that I had to quit.  It was getting addictive. Spend some worthwhile time building your own LiveBinder or feel free to copy mine and tweek it to make it the foundation for your own resources.  Kudos to the ladies who created LiveBinders and have made it FREE to us!

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

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