Flipboard for the classroom

flipboard logo

At many of the schools I currently teach at students work on and are quite proficient across multiple digital devices. Some schools offer a device specific environment, whilst others encourage a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. While this means students have access to the internet, oftentimes a students’ experience is determined by the chosen software/operating system.

One obvious advantage to allowing students access to the internet in class is their ability to complete their own research and discover more inspiration than before. So how, as a teacher do we guide young inquiring minds towards appropriate and relevant content, when we know a smorgasbord of information both correct and potentially inaccurate is available barely a few clicks away?

It’s not uncommon for teachers to have their own social media accounts such as twitter, and provided it’s managed in a professional manner this can prove advantageous.

… Enter Flipboard

what is Flipboard?

Flipboard initially started out as an iPad/iPhone app that provided a one stop solution for viewing most of it’s users Social Media accounts, with the ability to curate content into digital magazine format. The format allows it’s user the ability to flip each page in a skeuomorphic manner resembling a magazine. While it’s initial intended experience was designed for mobile and tablet devices, Flipboard is now available through the web browser making it far more accessible within a classroom environment.

Flipboard is a news aggregation and social network aggregation company based in Palo Alto, California, with offices in New York, Vancouver and Bejiing. Its software, also known as Flipboard, was first released in July 2010. It aggregates content from social medianews feedsphoto sharing sites and other websites, presents it in magazine format, and allows users to “flip” through the articles, images and videos being shared. Readers can also save stories into Flipboard magazines. As of March 2016 the company claims there have been 28 million magazines created by users on Flipboard. The service can be accessed via web browser, or by a Flipboard application for Microsoft Windows and macOS, and via mobile apps for iOSAndroid and Windows Phone. The client software is available at no charge and is localized in 21 languages

–– Wikipedia ––

Flipboard is both a content curation & aggregation application, so what does this mean?

As a curator you have the ability to thoughtfully source and collect content from any website or media type (photo, video or audio) that best suits an area of study. This can prove useful, as it also provides students an opportunity to discover for themselves what online sources you as the teacher may consider relevant and or trustworthy.

As an aggregator, the application pulls content from multiple (social media accounts or RSS feeds) sources across the web to be published within one feed. This content is updated in real time, providing the viewer relevant and current content. This is mostly done by syncing your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, flickr, SoundCloud & many more) to Flipboard which then displays the latest feeds from those feeds.

How can it be used within a classroom setting?

Collect and share information with students from multiple online sources. As an educator you can set up subject or topic specific ‘Magazines’ and populate it with articles, websites and other relevant media. Research projects require students to go and find information, some topics may be in developing or changing areas, and the only available sources are online. A challenge I discovered when teaching a unit of work on Australian Designers was some information proved difficult to find or wasn’t available in the usual places. After doing my own research on the topic I was able to curate a magazine that best represented some useful sources for information regarding some often young and emerging  Australian Designers.

Alternatively Flipboard can be used to promote Class collaboration, students can form groups and collaborate own Magazines on a selected topic and source content to post within the Magazine. This could be useful when exploring the work of a specific Artist or Art Movement. Students could include informative videos posted on YouTube/Vimeo accounts that they have created in order to demonstrate their understanding of the topic. A recently added feature means users can now also upload images and content directly from their mobile devices. This combined with users ability to comment on all posts could be used to encourage online discussion.

Create an Informative Syllabus outline where students can access resources and information regarding what’s being studied within a unit of work. This could also be extended to allow parents access if needed.

One of the newest features available in a recent update (version 4) of the allows you to follow a topic. As explained in more depth at recode Flipboard can now smartly sort and organise large amounts of content filtered through chosen keywords as Smart Magazines.

As a teacher, Flipboard is great for sharing resources and collaborating with colleagues for the purposes of professional development and learning. There is even scope to use Flipboard for recording conferences as you can save individual tweets, videos and more.

While there was a time when it was only accessible through it’s free Apple & Android App, Flipboard has become much more accessible and less device dependant since it opened up to the web in 2015.

For even more examples of how other Educators have used Flipboard check out some of the links below.



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