Wednesday, 9 May 2012

LiveBinders in the Classroom

I have discovered a wonderful online tool/resource called LiveBinders.  I learned about this through a casual comment from one of my instructors at Brock University, and I visited to learn more.  What I found was a great way consolidate online resources and my class material.  I was so enamored with LiveBinders, that I prepared 2 different workshop presentations about it for my fellow teacher candidates and I use this site for all my classes.

In a nutshell, LiveBinders allows you to create a virtual 3-ring binder/e-binder to organize your information.  This information can be different websites, YouTube videos, or any files you want to upload.  This tool can be used in a few ways which I have outlined below.

Search for Resources 
I like to go to the LiveBinders site to search for resources compiled by other authors (you do NOT need to register in the site to do this.) I find that the search engine on the site is not too good, but if your keep your search terms quite broad and general, you should be able to find what you are looking for.  I think that since we are so used to Google giving us thousands of results for a vague search term, we have become accustomed to making our search terms quite specific.  Do not do this when you search LiveBinders!  For example, instead of searching “SCH3U”, search “Chemistry”.  I typed “technology in the classroom” into the LiveBinders search and it gave me 397 LiveBinders on this subject!  Each binder is organized into tabs and is an amazing resource!

Organize/"Bookmark" Websites 
I also use LiveBinders to “bookmark” information I find on the Internet.  For example, as a teacher candidate, I conducted countless Internet searches for a variety of different ideas while planning my lessons.  Before LiveBinders, I would either print the information I found (not eco-friendly!) or bookmark the site.  This led to many bookmarks and too much random paper!  I then registered for a free account with LiveBinders and created an e-binder with these resources.  I am able to add virtual “dividers” (tabs), label them as I wish and sort them in whatever order I want.  Under each tab, I can enter a URL and that website will display within my LiveBinder.  This avoids my having to navigate to other sites and open up many different browser windows.  So, LiveBinders literally brings the Internet into your binder!  This can be used to organize your online resources for lessons, Ministry of Education resources or even recipes!

Class LiveBinders 
For my last teaching placement, I used LiveBinders as my class website.  I created a different LiveBinder for each of my classes and each lesson had a separate tab, titled with the date and lesson topic.  Within each tab I uploaded my PowerPoint lessons, the lesson worksheets, YouTube videos and other online resources.  I kept all the organized by using the “add sub tab” feature.  For any lessons that may have been on the chalkboard or overhead projector, I typed out the notes directly into the LiveBinder tab (text layout).  I provided the link to the class LiveBinder to all the students (I posted it on my Google site) and the students were to check the LiveBinder regularly for the daily lessons.  My students loved this!  If they missed a class, all the lesson details were still available to them.  Some of my students brought their iPads/laptops to class and logged onto the LiveBinder during class to follow along with the PowerPoint slides or to access their class worksheets.  I also posted podcasts and video lessons on the same topic so that the students could learn the content from a different source. 

The LiveBinders I created are public and accessible to all and are listed below.  
  1. SCH 3U (Gr. 11 University Chemistry)
  2. SNC 1P (Gr. 9 Applied Science)
  3. SNC 1D (Gr. 9 Academic Science)
  4. Implementing Technology in the Classroom Workshop (at Brock University)

Overall, LiveBinders are an amazing resource.  They can also be used by your colleagues or students to consolidate lesson plans or internet research.  The collaborator option in LiveBinders allows multiple people to add to the same binder.
Check out this amazing tool at!

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