Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Building a digital portfolio with Livebinders

With today's classrooms starting to use more online resources to enhance the learning experience, the question could be raised on how we showcase and catalog what teachers and students are doing in the classroom.  If students create an online project or online document, how can they share that with their fellow classmates and others around the world?  Thanks to Livebinders, this question has been answered - all while being free and extremely easy to use.  

Livebinders is a free online service that allows you to collect resources and create online binders to share via social media and embed on your blog or website.  Here's a great post from the Livebinders blog about how educators are using Livebinders: 10 Great Ways that Educators are Using LiveBinders.  

Digital portfolios is a excellent way to showcase what students are doing in the classroom.  Remember when you were in elementary school and you drew a picture or got a good grade on a paper - where did it usually end up?  Mine typically was pinned on the refrigerator by my parents or got placed in a folder - which I only looked at it every so often.  Thus, this raises a question, "What is the point of doing a project or any other activity that will just end up getting thrown away or put aside for only one or two people to see?"  

That is what I love about the idea of having students create digital portfolios - they can go back at any time and reflect upon their learning and they can share what they did with everyone they want.  Part of the learning process, I believe, is to discover, create, and share.

For example, here's my Educational Technology Livebinder shelf:

As teachers, we should focus on learning ourselves.  Thanks to Livebinders, I am able to discover, create and share resources on things live educational technology, social studies, pedagogy, etc.  Now, put this tool in the hands of students - do you think this would engage students more if they were to create their very own "digital portfolio" for what they were doing in class?

Students can make their Livebinder their own - adding photos, website links, Youtube videos and upload documents.

Once the student has added content to their binder, they can share via social media, email, or simply grab the link or embed code for the binder:

Here are some of my favorite ideas that students can use Livebinders for:
  1. Collect/organize blog posts - their own or fellow classmates
  2. Create a "My Evernote" tab - students can insert links to certain Evernote notes
  3. Research - students can use the "Livebinder It" browser extension to add a website link to their binder
  4. Comment on fellow classmate's binders - Livebinders allow you to add comments to a binder, which is great for peer review. 
  5. Upload lecture notes - whether it be a Evernote note link or a MS Word doc, students can upload/insert their class lecture notes.
There a ton of ways teachers and students can use Livebinders.  If you are also concerned with customer service, from a teacher standpoint, to help you with the website, Tina and Barbara (makers of the website) are my favorite by far.  A few months ago I need to make a correction to my user ID - I simply contacted them via Twitter (@livebinders) and within a hour or so it was done.  I've contacted other websites that I use at least twice about technical issues I've experienced and never heard back.  Tina and Barbara actually do care about you and your students and the experience you have on the website.  I've been a member of the website going on two years now and I've been blown away by the service and experience I've had.  

If you do plan to use technology in your classroom, Livebinders would be one of my top picks to use. 

Here are some other blog posts I've done over Livebinders in the past:

Livebinder It Tool