10 Tools: Flipboard Review

If you’ve ever wished for the perfect magazine packed with only features you love, you were wishing for Flipboard.

Flipboard_ScreenI haven’t subscribed to a newspaper or a magazine for years. I generally find that I’m only interested in a fraction of most publications and they seem like a waste of money. I’ll read a paper if one is lying on the table at the coffee shop, but I’m highly unlikely to ever buy one. I do miss newspapers a bit though. I miss paging through and being surprised and delighted by a story I didn’t expect to see. I loved that feeling of discovering something new and great on page B2 or C5. Flipboard gives me the satisfaction of a magazine created just for me. Once again I experience the serendipity of discovering something completely unexpected and completely perfect–like a recipe for Beef & Guiness Stew that became dinner for St. Patrick’s Day or Harlem Shake for Designers that just made my week. It is visually stunning.

Flipboard Basics:

  • You can read your Flipboard on an Android or iDevice.
  • The app comes pre-loaded with feature categories you can keep or delete.
  • You can search for additional sites to add. (I added Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), BBC World, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter)
  • The Cover Story is a mashup of all the live categories you have in your flipboard.
  • Flipboard is awesome.

  What I Learned:

  • I really can have it all! Finally, that magical magazine designed just for me is mine.
  • Sometimes you can only find the Facebook site for what you are searching for instead of the news site. This was the case when I tried to add OPB. It was kind of a bummer because I wanted to get all the news from opb.org , not just the features that get posted to the OPB Facebook site. Oh well.
  • Flipboard is awesome.

Application to Virtual Learning:

This is more of a personal productivity tool and I don’t really have a virtual learning application for the tool, but it did give me an idea for a virtual assignment that can be posted by students. Have them create a magazine cover for an issue dedicated to the topic of the course. The cover shot should be a picture that sums up the topic for them and feature articles should reflect important points.

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10 Tools Challenge (1-5)

I had a really difficult time coming up with a list of 10 tools. I used Jane’s list of Top 100 Tools, but I already use a great number of them and others required subscriptions. I’m sticking to 100% free tools and apps for this challenge. I also fretted that new tools would debut this year that I’d like to include and I didn’t want to be married to a specific list. As a compromise, I chose 5 that I promise to review. The other 5 I’ll discover over the year. Deal?

Here is the list of 5:

  1. Pinterest. Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m just now getting around to Pinterest. I thought it was just DIY and wedding planning, but I can see potential for gathering classroom resources and asking students to contribute. I’m also using it to plan a kindergarten Valentine’s Day party.
  2. Flipboard. This one really intrigues me and I think it will help me clean up some clutter of buttons on my phone and tablet home screens. It’s a customized one-stop shop for your news and social networks. It’s also visually stunning if you can trust the demo.
  3. Open Badges. I love having quick, visual ways to scan information. I also really miss my Girl Scout sash and all those badges. People love earning badges and will go a little farther just to get one. It’s motivation to learn by status and recognition.
  4. Pocket. I am forever emailing myself links to read later. They clutter my inbox and end up getting deleted during angry inbox cleaning sessions, never to be read. Pocket is a bookmarking service that delivers content in an organized way to your phone or tablet and stays the heck out of your inbox.
  5. Avatar Generators. I love sharing avatars in virtual learning environments. Many people don’t photograph well and dread sharing photos. Avatars are fun and can be customized to reflect hobbies and interests. I’ll review a number of avatar generators and share what I create with each one, features, etc.

For each tool or app I share I will try to demonstrate how it can be used in the virtual classroom. It’s possible I’ll find something that I can’t tie in, but is so great I just have to share. I’ll be clear if that’s the case. Stay tuned. I’ll review Pinterest and share my boards at the end of February.