This is not a new website. I played around with it over a year ago. My main struggle was uploading PDFs or other files to the binder. As long as I had a website address, I had no problems.  I had almost forgotten about LiveBinders, but recently there has been a lot of chatter on Twitter about LiveBinders.

My potential interest in LiveBinders is the ability to create a digital, textbook replacement. I am not going to try to re-invent the textbook. Instead, I am going to find the endless array of resources created by other people and group them together in an organized way. The questions that I have: would I need to create a separate binder for each chapter? How many tabs and subtabs can be added (which goes along with the first question)? Can students use Diigo or Zotero for bookmarking within the web sites through LiveBinders? I want the students to be able to write notes in the ‘margins’ of the activities we do. There are layout options very similar to PowerPoint slides for the tabs in LiveBinders – what if I want to be original? Can you create content without using the layouts? Is there a way to use embed codes – or I am limited to embedding videos from YouTube and photos from Flickr?
I saw on the website that there were examples from many other schools. I am going to check them out and see the potential problems and successes. This is what I have created so far, but I am still undecided if I am happy with the delivery method. It is organized in a practical way – in my mind – but I do not know if the students would find it as easy to navigate.
My other two options for creating a Techbook (instead of a textbook) are Moodle or Wikibooks. Moodle is already widely used in my school. However, by having a section for each subject makes the Moodle course very large. As the teacher, I hid sections not in use so I do not overwhelm the students. This means they do not have access to much past or future information. That was part of the motivation for creating a techbook so the students would have something to reference, no matter what their question was and when that subject would have been taught.
The ability of anyone to edit the content of a wikibook is both exciting and terrifying. Would it still be a reliable resource if others could have a chance to add, edit, or remove content? I like creating content, but I do not know how many times I could enthusiastically re-create the same or similar content. Overseeing wikis can be a full time job – or the job of someone without a full time job and has time to make sure that any additions enhance the entries. I would not fit into that category.
Basically, I still know what my final product will look like. I need to figure that out before I can move on to the next stage of the project. Does  anyone have any suggestions for creating a digital, textbook replacement resource? It need to be user friendly – both for creating on the teacher side and using on the student side. It is also needs to be free, since the purpose of the resource is to replace the expensive, cumbersome textbook.  Any and all advice is appreciated!

About Lisa Butler

Middle school geography teacher, tech trainer, Flocabulary MC, Nearpod PioNear, and Edcamp Hershey Founder. I have embraced the power of purposeful technology and am creative with their application. If I am not doing something with ed or tech, I am probably reading children's books, baking with a toddler sidekick, running around, or dreaming of traveling.
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2 Responses to LiveBinders

  1. tinaforbinders says:

    Really like the concept of a ‘techbook’ – as opposed to textbook. We see more and more teachers going down this path. The thing about livebinders is that it was designed to combine any kind of web app and desktop document under one context. There are so many cool applications being used in the classroom with no easy or comprehensive way to put it all together and be presentable. The binder format gives you a way to organize the content so you don’t have to worry about the layout and can focus on the content.

    Creating a more flexible text editor is on our list to do but for now the text templates let students use flickr images and copy and paste text and images into a text frame but that is it. If you design a layout in a word document you can try to copy and paste it into the text frame also. Many students use alternative sites to layout their page and then embed the links into the tabs as part of their portforlio in combination with other documents. One of our users MikeFisher821 – creates his own images and uses them as a marker for the main tab. Here is an example binder – ‘Evidence of Learning 2.0’ –

    Another thing about livebinders is that when you update the binder with new content it automatically updates – so if you share the binder link with a student and want to add anything else to the binder later on – you don’t have to resend the binder – when they open it, it will always be the most current version.

    Adding the ability to embed other objects – such as schooltube videos for example, is also on our list to do and has been requested by other teachers. Thank for adding your vote to this enhancement request.

    We have more features that will make it easier for teachers to share binders, collect other peoples binders and collaborate as well. To help you see other examples, here is a shelf of some spanish binders that have been done – although yours are pretty good!

    Another example to look at is Mrs.Knights english class binder – she addresses both parents and students and incorporates surveys and other web apps as well.

    Here is an eportfolio template that a teacher created for her students. She uses wiki pages for students to type in and add to their binders so that everything remains dynamic and editable. It is called English I EPortfolio by VRburton

    You’ve brought up some interesting concerns. Feel free to let us know if you find anything else you would like. Thanks for trying livebinders!

  2. Pingback: Textbook Creation Simplified | Adventures with Technology

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