Mantz's Mission

Education blog that will provide a variety of Web 2.0 tools along with professional development lessons for all educators.

“The Knowledge Sharing Place”

Posted by dmantz7 on March 22, 2010

“To Be or Not To Be…..That is the question.” In this case, are we educators organized with our resources and lessons or do they messydesklook  like this desk?  If not, permit me to introduce LiveBinders.  LiveBinders is your virtual 3-ring binder to get organzied.  In learning about this fantastic Web2.0 tool I was fortunate to Skype with the founders Tina Schneider and Barbara Tallent.  Through our conversation they agreed to conduct a podcast interview providing insight into the development of LiveBinders as well as the passion that brought these two ladies together.  Tina and Barbara both spent time observing and collaborating with educators in their local school.  Their objective was to gather insight, along with concerns those educators had about improving their instruction while utilizing new technology.  There were three items commonly shared among those providing feedback:

  1. Time for training and support
  2. How useful is it for learning?
  3. How accessible is the tool?

Honestly those three items are the same instructional technology specialists and technology coordinators hear as we work with educators on a daily basis.  So, in effort to explain the functionality of LiveBinders I will use these three concerns as my focus points.

Time?  When does anyone have time for all the things we want to accomplish during our lives?  Honestly, if you have 5-10 minutes you have time to learn how easy it is to use LiveBinders.  The functionality was designed with the emphasis on content and sharing of learning materials.  There are three ways to create a LiveBinder:CreateBinder

  1. Create from scratch via the LiveBinder website
  2. Build a binder by collecting search results via Google
  3. Using the “LiveBinder It” button within browser  (use link to view tutorial video)

I strongly recommend you install the “LiveBinder It”.  The ability to add websites to any binder as you come upon it without having to visit your binder directly is quite nice.  You can observe tutorial videos via the website or subscribe to the YouTube channel for anytime/anywhere self-paced training.

The second concern expressed focused on how useful LiveBinders would be to education.  To address this concern lets start by looking at the features currently available within this Web 2.o tool.  First of all, all free binders are eligible to store up to 100Mb worth of uploads.  Those uploads can be arranged in a collection of tabs and sub-tabs. tabsubtab Website URLs can be added with there being a 10 second period for the site to be grabbed.  The “grab” function permits the site to become interactive within the tab/subtab selected.  But the features don’t stop there.  LiveBinders permits users to import bookmarks from their Delicious accounts, add images via Flickr import or uploading from a computer in .jpg or gif formats.  Uploads are not just limited to images.  Audio files (ie mp3), video files (.mov) or search YouTube via tags or by username, documents files (.txt/.docs/.ppt) and PDF files all can be uploaded and interactive. PDF files will open up within the tab or subtab as a webpage fine on a PC.  On a Mac Safari displays the PDF correct but Firefox needs to have the plug-in via PluginDoc.  Another convenient feature provided within LiveBinders, is the ability to use text layout templates.  These templates are very similar to those you see in Powerpoint to help organize how text, images, or audio are presented.  The final point I want to make about the usefulness of LiveBinders is how it can be used to compile numerous items within a single topic.  If you visit the “Featured Binders” tab on the main website you will see how educators are using this Web 2.0 tool to share and organize their educational resources.  Here is an example of a single virtual binder I have created for Digital Storytelling resources.

Recently LiveBinders has been updated with some great enhancements. LBnewfeaturesThis image points out how the limit of 20 tabs per binders has been removed, a “Present” mode has been implemented to provide users the same functionality as “Play” mode in Powerpoint, and the last two added features are being able to embed your bookshelf of binders (Here is my bookshelf) and easy access to LiveBinder’s FAQ section.

The final concern expressed by educators dealt with accessibility of the tool.  Keeping in mind how easy it is to create a binder or add to one already created via the “LiveBinder It” that accessibility is addressed.  The next issue of accessibility always worrying educators, is if the site itself is blocked.  As an educator and one of the two folks responsible for maintaining our school district filter, LiveBinders will probably be detected and listed within the “File Sharing” category.  Well, here are three items and one future enhancement that should address the concerns of those responsible for the filter that may help you get it open for all possible users or at least for educators if your Internet access is tiered.

  1. Binders can be kept “Private” ( as mentioned before) use a “Key” (password) to access it.
  2. All public binders are reviewed to make sure material is educational appropriate.
  3. Public folders can be set to “Not Copyable”. Thus, keeping it viewable to everyone but not reproducible.
  4. (Future enhancement) 3rd Party service to help identify users below the age of 13.

I hope this overview has opened your eyes to see how visually pleasing and user friendly LiveBinders is for educators.  The ability to keep items public or private via a “key” and review of public folders for educational resources along with the ability to embed a binder or shelf within one’s own site should, ultimately, address those questions regarding the design for educators with educator input.  Future enhancements will include the ability to have multiple people login simultaneously and contribute resources as well as working with a third party organization to assure those under the age of 13 are capable of creating their own LiveBinder yet meeting federal COPA/CIPA regulations.  If this review does interest you but there remains a few questions, please consider watching this YouTube video created by the Barbara Tallent of LiveBinders.

25 Responses to ““The Knowledge Sharing Place””

  1.   rocket piano review Says:

    Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.

  2.   Carmen Bennett Says:

    I agree, most of the inventions in this world came from mans wild imagination. Its just a matter of having the will to make that imagination a reality.

  3.   Edwin Says:

    If it weren’t for the imagination to create new inventions, I’d be using a chisel to clean teeth :-)

    Inventions are what keeps up moving forward in mankind.

  4.   Sam Says:

    Knowledge is the law in our days…and it’s good that we try to find new and better ways to share the knowledge.

  5.   Nick Says:

    Knowledge is power and any tool to help facilitate this is good to me, especially since I’m an educator myself :) Learning how to incorporate this new technology is the next step..

  6.   Peni Gardner Says:

    “Knowledge is power and any tool to help facilitate this is good to me, especially since I’m an educator myself Learning how to incorporate this new technology is the next step..”

    Indeed knowledge is power but what really facinates me is what can one man’s imagination do to create some really nice invention.

  7.   Bruce Says:

    ~The ability to add websites to any binder as you come upon it without having to visit your binder directly is quite nice~

    This sounds like something similar to Evernote in its functionality? Is that right?

    Bruce

  8.   Sue Ellen Says:

    @Bruce – Not really, Evernote is way more than that. In fact it’s become pretty much indispensable for me, I use it constantly, for everything from copying recipes to saving great pics that catch my eye.

    SE

  9.   Mo Says:

    @Bruce and @SueEllen – yes – I use Evernote for this kind of thing. You are right, that Evernote has much more functionality, although I don’t really use it to its full potential.

  10.   Eric Harrison Says:

    I love it when I find clever solutions such as LiveBinder. Not only will this new resource help me stay organized amongst the mass of information but also share it…fantastic! Finding this makes me justify the 5 hour net surfing session I have just been on! Thanks for the recommendation, about to test drive this baby now…

  11.   Michael Says:

    To Eric – couldn’t agree more! the web can be frustrating but to find genuinely useful resources is so neat, and also the power of recommendation – it’s always good to be able to read other peoples’ comments & reviews before deciding to use something. Cool.

  12.   Steve McBrian Says:

    To Michael:

    “To Eric – couldn’t agree more! the web can be frustrating but to find genuinely useful resources is so neat, and also the power of recommendation – it’s always good to be able to read other peoples’ comments & reviews before deciding to use something. Cool.”

    I find that it is not too hard to find some good resources online. Once you have a good source it will usually cross reference such as you point out in your comment.

    I think LiveBinder is sort of neat and suits many purposes.

    Just my 2 Cents

    Steve McBrian
    New York, NY

    Adminitrative Manager

    My Blog On Technology: wireless speakers

  13.   The Diet Solution Reviews Says:

    @ Eric

    I agree that LiveBinder is great for staying organized but I think even more than that is it’s ability to help share information. I am still learning new ways to use this great tool.

    Thanks,
    Ted Davis
    The Diet Solution Reviews

  14.   Jarod Says:

    Hey Nick,

    I know what you mean. Learning to use it is one thing. But putting it to everyday use is another. Still I like the idea of digital storytelling.

    I was reading Satellite Direct Reviews and found the technology is changing not only for online info, but even for tv.

    Jarod

  15.   Bobby Says:

    Any idea planted in a man or woman’s brains can be a virus. That’s my 2 cents. But without organisation and action taken on the idea it will just die. LiveBinder seems like it’s going to help me with all those crazy ideas I have, haha.

  16.   Charlie Says:

    Bobby said: “Any idea planted in a man or woman’s brains can be a virus.”

    Sounds like you could use a trojan virus removal product for your brain.

    In all seriousness, Livebinder looks like a really cool tool.

  17.   Heidi Maldonad Says:

    There is a limitless possibility in this world. Do what your mind could imagine. From a mere imaginations underneath great thinngs and ideas. Keep that attitude!

  18.   Ted Says:

    This is a cool tool and one I can use,thanks.
    seo big Island

  19.   Claire Smyth Says:

    Great post. I think that Albert Einstein couldn’t have summed it up better than this.

    “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

    Claire

  20.   Paul Says:

    Cool, I could actually use this. thanks :0

    Paul
    http://howtobecomerichatayoungage.com/

  21.   Marc Azada Says:

    WOW! The LiveBinders application looks really promising. Do you know where I could download this online?

  22.   Mark Says:

    Thanks for great post – I had never heard of LiveBinders before.

  23.   Global Warming Says:

    What the mind could think, the body can achieve. I would like to believe that thoughts are powerful. Great inventions are brainchild of imaginations. And of course, thoughts must be supplemented by action. And all the world would conspire will help you achieve the dream you have in your heart. By the way, I’m into figting Global Warming

  24.   Mike Says:

    Cool tool and cool post, thanks for the heads up

  25.   didyouhear Says:

    Worthy read, will certainly recommend and share.

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