I'm working with our Literacy Coordinator on creating some student electronic portfolios, and there exists a wide variety of options ranging from creating student websites to collecting works in a digital file cabinet. We decided to give LiveBinders a try, mostly because it scored big points in terms of ease of use, simple design, and strong core functionality. More on the initial setup after the jump.
Easy and Familiar
Really, one of the best parts of LiveBinders is how easy and intuitive the application operates. We created our sample binder in a matter of seconds, and began populating it with items that would possibly be included in each student's portfolio. One could set up the tabs as students with subtabs serving as the items, or one could arrange for a binder for each student, and the tabs can be the sections with subtabs as an option. The main takeaway is that the concept of a binder is something all teachers and students can easily visualize. They are familiar with how a binder looks, feels, and works. The same cannot be said necessarily with web pages or online file cabinets.
Sharing, Collaborating, and Embedding
In addition to making it easy to create a new binder, LiveBinders makes it almost as easy to share, collaborate and showcase your work. I have embraced Google Apps as a platform because of the rich collaborative features that it allows users to utilize. Thankfully, LiveBinders offers similar features and a very easy way to share your work (for viewing) even with those who don't have an account. Similar to Google Apps, all you need is a user's email address, and you can share a binder in seconds. To collaborate, you'll currently need to use the Bookmarklet, and all users need to have Livebinders accounts. For showcasing your work and making it available for others to use, you can choose to embed your work on a website using a simple cut/paste of some HTML code.
Best of all, it's free!
There are a ton of additional features that are integrated with LiveBinders, including a Bookmarklet, importing from delicious, and adding text and other goodies to your binder. We'll dedicate a separate post to explore these features in more detail. At this time, there's no option for a subscription service, so you're limited to a 5MB file upload and 100MB total storage. It will be interesting to see how the company handles subscriptions in the future, and whether they'll be accommodating to educators, who I think would be their bread and butter client (a majority of the most viewed binders are in education). Until then, enjoy this free and valuable, yet simple to use resource.
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