Analysis of a Teaching Tool: LiveBinders

In a traditional f2f classroom, some students and teachers organize information in a three-ring binder. For instance, you may organize a Language Arts binder into Reading, Writing, and Graded Work.  As a teacher, you may organize a binder for classroom organization with the sections of a Seating Chart, Lunch procedures, regular schedules, alternative schedules, health and evacuation/ emergency. Sometimes binders are fun and educational because they are used for presentations or portfolios.  Three-ring binders have transformed into a three-dimensional project, which can only be categorized as excellent educational tools. LiveBinder, Inc., founded and copyrighted in 2006, has been used by librarians, counselors, students, and teachers to organize and present information without so much paper work.

Authors Lisa Gonzales and Devin Vodicka rated LiveBinders as a Top 12 Web Resource in 2012 (28). They describe it as a useful way to organize links, videos, and documents from your desktop and online spaces such as a blog (Gonzales and Vodicka 29).  The authors urge new users to think of LiveBinders like a file cabinet where you would organize all of your hard copies. Online, users have a Web 2.0 tool with which to organize and comment on information in a professional manner. Instead leaving your favorite links in the favorites toolbar, whether they are organized or not, LiveBinder offers you a way to know what your resources are for in a “meaningful format” (“Online Binders for Organizing and Presenting Your Resources” para. 1).  All of your favorite links, multimedia tools, articles, creations, and documents will be labeled in one binder or more than one.   Your inner librarian will thrive as you choose tab colors and decide on labels.

Since its creation in 2006, LiveBinders evolves as a multimedia platform allowing users to create many binders and choose the layout for each page, folder, or subfolder. It has expanded since being named a top Web tool in 2012 for presentation use, in education, and business. According to Senga White, many teachers in the U.S. use LiveBinders for ELA Standards (12). She writes “Hot topics like the Common Core State Standards, have more than 10,000 hits” (12). When a binder becomes public or the user decides to share it, the website includes a tracking tool. Users will see how popular or how much their binder is viewed.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction created a LiveBinder to show and explain ELA Common Core Standards instead of the traditional book or print out. It has sections for parents, teachers, and administrators. The Livebinder presents materials in a organized way, but with pictures. For example, when you click on the LiveBinder below, select ELA PD Menu. You will see a menu with expectations. 

An example of a North Carolina Common Core LiveBinder. 
Menu
Courtesy of NC Department of Public Instruction. The Language Arts “menu” from the ELA LiveBinder. 
The ELA LiveBinder provides one example of how educational departments use the Web 2.0 tool. It allows teachers and students to not only collaborate, but to present text in an intriguing way, like the menu. You can design a newsletter or layout in another online program or in Microsoft Word. Upload the document in the folder or subfolder where you wish the material to be viewed.
Many teachers and librarians use LiveBinders for collaborative projects.  It helps librarians organize resources useful to research or technology. Teachers also use LiveBinders to organize materials and for student projects and portfolios. It is an excellent tool for middle and high school students because they can collaborate, put their favorite educational technology applications together, and LiveBinders feeds into the philosophy of student-centered learning.
According to White, ninth grade Social Studies students interacted with a LiveBinder by reviewing historical websites on a tab in a LiveBinder. Students then had to analyze the quality and purpose of the website (12). LiveBinders can be used as eportfolios or projects like the Social Studies analysis.
In the video below, I show one way of using LiveBinder as a eportfolio. My eportfolio is in the early stages, but it is one example of how you, as a teacher, can use a LiveBinder. You may assign students a project in which they upload different drafts of their papers. Students create a first draft tab and upload their work. This is beneficial because you can offer comments for the student and discuss changes. The last tab would feature the final draft. The student sees the beginning of a paper and the end product.
Aside from having its own YouTube channel, LiveBinders also features education webinars and tutorials. While there are many resources on LiveBinders’ website, including tutorials and specific educational LiveBinders, teachers also make their own tutorials using YouTube.
<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/DLaKN-FB3Ag” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
The teacher in the video mentions that students can combine websites and their own material in a LiveBinder. According to the “LiveBinders Blog,” there are great examples of students creating project binders using multimedia materials. In the example below, one high school student interprets Les Miserables.  
Most teachers, like the instructor in the previous tutorial, find that LiveBinders helps teachers organize online resources and material. It helps with professional development content, and it also allows collaboration for what Senga calls “project based learning” (12). Kathy Frederick reinforces LiveBinders as a tool for students. “This can be useful in projected learning and in sharing this as a projected learning and in the sharing of resources if students use [LiveBinders] as a project tool” (Frederick 25). English teacher, Paul Barnwell, discusses how LiveBinders has become a useful tool in his English class in his blog “How to Teach Digital Storytelling in High School” because he realizes students can share their stories in new ways. First he experimented with LiveBinders before sharing it with his students (para. 23). In each analysis from teachers and authors, LiveBinders provides an opportunity for students to share information in a three-dimensional manner, present it, and collaborate with teachers or students.
Bibliography

 

Barnwell, Paul. “How to Teach Digital Storytelling in High School.” MediaShift. PBS, 1 Oct. 2012. Web. 8 July 2014.

Frederick, Kathy. “Virtual Pathfinders: Livebinders and Libguides.” School Library Monthly 29.7 (2013): 24-25. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 July 2014.

Gonzales, Lisa, and Devin Vodicka. “Top 12 Web Resources For 2012.” Leadership 41.3 (2012): 28-31. ERIC. Web. 8 July 2014.

“Online Binders for Organizing and Presenting Your Resources.” About LiveBinders. LiveBinders Inc., n.d. Web. 8 July 2014.

White, Senga. “Using Livebinders to support teaching and learning.” Collected Magazine 6 (2012): 12. Academic OneFile. Web. 9 July 2014.
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