on the importance of being pretty…

I think a lot about browsing. Sometimes when I can’t sleep I lie in bed and think about ways to introduce students to the joys and benefits of browsing. It’s weird. It really is…

The last time I posted about browsing back in April of 2014, on just browsing, I was working in a 1:1 laptop school and talked about some of the tools that we were trying to use to encourage student browsing.

I’m now at a 1:1 iPad site, so the tools that I’m emphasizing have changed and evolved a bit, but the issues I’m trying to address have largely remained the same:

In an information landscape increasingly populated by personalized search algorithms, how do we help students escape their filter bubbles?

How do we introduce students to online tools and help them to develop information habits that can help bring them into regular contact with high quality curated content?

Flipboard has become my tool of choice for promoting student and teacher browsing. In case you’re not familiar with Flipboard, it is a really attractive magazine-like reading interface for viewing online articles and content. Flipboard is rather unusual in its development as it was born as a mobile app for iOS and Android devices before a browser-based Flipboard for Web version was made available in early 2015.



I’m rather excited to say that Flipboard is finally beginning to attract some of the attention its promise merits! I have a few teachers that are employing it and they have been getting positive feedback from students! The reality is that a pretty reading interface matters to all readers, but I think that it is particularly important to teenagers. I’ve actually heard a student say, “I LOVE reading this thing!” so, while inner beauty and substance (the content) is ultimately what matters and is what will keep teenagers coming back, pretty really does matter when the reader and the app go on that first blind date.

Though Apple has recently launched a native News App that has gotten quite a bit of attention of late, one of the most powerful aspects of Flipboard that gives it a leg up on its competitors is that it allows users to create their own magazines than can be shared. I have teachers who are building magazines that behave a little like traditional course readers in a digital format; teachers that are using magazines as “feeds” to curate specific relevant content to students in their courses over the course of a semester; and one teacher who hopes to use the group magazine option to have her students curate high-quality long form pieces for their classmates to read.

If you’re not yet a Flipboard fan, take a look! You won’t be disappointed!

Sample magazines from teachers:


Click here to go to Dr. Acord's IB Global Politics magazine

Click here to go to Dr. Acord’s IB Global Politics magazine


Click here to go to Mr. Roland Nipps' English Magazines

Click here to go to Mr. Roland Nipps’ English Magazines


Set-up instruction slideshows:

Not at an iPad site? Flipboard still has something to offer!


Happy holidays, all!

3 thoughts on “on the importance of being pretty…

  1. Yay! This is wonderful. It is true, browsing is becoming a lost skill. As we move to 1:1 laptops, teachers are bringing their students in less and less, and when they do come in, it is painfully apparent that kids are not getting the practice they need for conducting some pretty basic research skills and being critical when it comes to seeing what is out there for whatever type of project it is…
    There are so many projects that I can see this as being useful if teachers are interested in curating online resources for their projects.

  2. Thanks for the tip! This feels a bit like a mashup between ScoopIt and Pinterest. Do you think this will replace your ScoopIt page, since it also allows you to add comments when you curate articles?

    • Hi Susan,
      You bring up a really great point. I actually use Flipboard and Scoop.it in very different ways. I typically discover most of my content via Twitter or Flipboard, then bookmark them in Scoop.it to save for myself and/or share out through social media. I am a very visual learner so when I am looking for an article or webpage that I have saved I tend to remember the picture or image associated with the scoop so I largely use my Scoop.it as a visual bookmarking service. It’s a workflow that works really well for me so I don’t feel a huge need to change it up, but I clearly do not use my Scoop.it account to anywhere near its full potential and need to make more time to explore the discovery aspects of Scoop.it. Your comment just may be the nudge that I needed to take a better look at it. Thanks!

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