Photo on Flickr by Ingo Bernhardt
Today in the Free Tools Challenge we are exploring Livebinders, a tool I never heard about until two days ago. It is one of the tools that, once you explore them, you can't stop wondering how you ever lived without them. It takes minutes to learn how to use Livebinders, they are practical and adaptable and it takes just one link to share your binders with the world.
OK, I need to calm down. First of all, I suggest you read this excellent tutorial on Livebinders in the Teacher Challenge blog. It will answer all your questions on how to get started with Livebinders. Then, make sure you come back here because we are going to talk about Livebinders in a TEFL classroom.
Let's say you want to share a bunch of links with your students. For the sake of the argument, let's suppose that you are trying to share with them all the links for online dictionaries that come to your mind. The final result might end up looking like this:
Photo on Flickr by Jerome Collins
And what if I told you that the final result could look like this:
If you click on the icon or on the link underneath a window will open. It will look like this:
And I can keep adding the dictionaries to the binder as I come across them. In fact, I don't even have to visit the site to add the link. All I need to do is install the 'Livebinder It' bookmarklet to my browser and I can add any page I want to my Livebinders.
This is great because students often complain that they can't find the links they need. With Livebinders I can share online resources with them more easily. For my advanced students I created this binder with some short stories for them to read over the summer:
This way, instead of hunting for the links all over the pages of our wiki, they can focus on their reading.
What students often complain about in a blended learning course is that they don't know where exactly the course is. The teacher could create a binder with all the links used in the course (the forum, the wikis, the blogs, Twitter accounts...) and tell the students to bookmark the link and use it as their startup page in the course. The students could then add their own resources to this binder. The best thing about Livebinders is that everyone can learn how to use them. They even offer you to type your search term in their Google window and they populate the binder with the relevant pages from Google for you. This is what they came up with for Mother Theresa:
Students could create their own binders on different topics (the person I admire, the music I listen to, my country...). Or they could Google their name and share what they find in a binder.
Finally, you can use Livebinders to keep all your personal links in one place so that you can easily share them with others. The following binder contains links to my Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin accounts, this blog, my eportfolio and my wikis. And a bunch of other places where you can find me, including my school website. It is my business card: