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Marija Petreska: Flipboard in the Classroom


by Marija Petreska
Expert Educator Columnist, Macedonia

Last weekend a tech geek had a birthday and what does one get a geek for a birthday but a geeky cake. His favorite app was Flipboard and somewhere in the middle of the discussion with the baker when a choice had to be made whether it should be a red base with white letters or a white base with red square on,  it dawned to me that I can think of at least half a dozen ways how to use Flipboard in the classroom.

No, I’m not going to write about what magazines to follow in an English language classroom but rather share some tips and ideas how to create your own magazines and be followed. The first step is creating a magazine or magazines. You can have one for each grade, or topic, or one for each social network account that you’ll use and even each student can have his own magazine which would be like creating e portfolios.

1. +flip it

Do create a magazine where you’ll collect things you stumble upon on lessons and usually forget by the end of the lesson and never seem to find  afterwards.  If you add the +flip it bookmarklet you can add anything you like from the web into your magazine. Let’s say name that magazine Forget Me Not and there you have it a new curration tool your students can use. And not only that flip their websites and blogs (have a Our Websites or Our Blogs magazine) ,flip their Sways and Mixes (have a Sway magazine or a Mix magazine), have them share their OneNote notebooks and have a OneNote magazine and have a magazine for all their online documents.

Now here comes the best part. You can connect your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Soundcloud….. account with Flipboard and create a magazine for each. And not only that but you can also choose a feed from Facebook (it could be news feed, your timeline, your photos, Facebook groups, and pages, friend lists and friends), Twitter (it could be your tweets, your favorites, lists, people you follow and people who follow you and most importantly saved searches that is hashtags), Instagram (feed, photos, people), Youtube (subscriptions, favorites, your videos…) and Soundcloud (feed, sounds….)


2. Our Instagram Magazine

All of my students have an instagram account but I prefer having one and using only one account for the English Language lesson. Now their instagram photos could be searchable without going the trouble checking all your students posts, with a hashtag. But it is so much better if they simply switch accounts and use the Classroom account on the lesson. Here are some ideas how to use instagram in the classroom and so create a perfect instagram flip magazine:

  • Digital Storytelling Naturally- Have your students create 15 second videos or photo collages and  share their stories. Make it more fun have them draw their stories, capture the frames, arrange in a collage and share.
  • Grammar- This is something we did last year. I had my students take a photo before entering the classroom and I didn’t tell them why. Once the lesson started everyone shared their photo via instagram an added a sentence like before I walked in I was eating and so we practiced tenses.
  • Vocabulary- This is something a talk of often, teach vocabulary in a fun way. You can either create a 15 second video mime of the word, capture a drawing or share a word cloud

marija-2-1 marija-2-2

  • Pen Pals- There is a neat feature on instagram where you can map out locations of your photos. That’s a great way to find and follow people from English speaking countries and perhaps share photo stories with each other.
  • Showcase Students’ Work- Snap pictures of all their work and post on instagram – student of the week One student has the special rights to post images of his daily routines for a whole week I have so many ideas I have to come back to instagram some other time :)

3. Facebook

Facebook also deserves a whole blog post but here are some hints of what you may put in your Facebook Flipboard Magazine:

  • Facebook Groups- I’m sure you have one for each grade at least I do. This is a place where we post, share and chat but also a place where students most often put their homework or finished projects. So if you had a Facebook magazine do put students’ posts in and you’ll have a students’ work showcase in a sec. Let me share what we learnt today. Our topic was grammar the use of the form USED TO. What we did was open our Facebook accounts and go through the timeline. Students were reminded of their favorite songs, and hairdos, and dressing styles and were writing sentences like I used to listen to U2 a lot, I don’t do that now. They all posted their used to sentences in our Facebook classroom group and I was able to create a Sway with all the posts. Now I even have them all in Flipboard.
  • Time Capsules- Create a Flipboard magazine with the timeline for each student and you’ll have everything in a tightly sealed time capsule they can open anytime they please.
  • Friends Lists- I’m not going to discuss if it is advisable to befriend your students on Facebook but how else will I know of their likes and dislikes, their music tastes and literature tastes and films they like and create my lessons around all that. Make a list of all your students and create a Flipboard magazine from the list. Check it from time to time. Who knows you might even learn a thing or two when it comes to technology.

4. Twitter

Haven’t I said enough about twitter :) And not to mention hashtags :)

The undeniably best, most wonderful feature of all is creating a Flipboard feed from each hashtag you have saved. If you read my Swaying Tweets column you’ll have a few ideas how to use twitter and tweeter hashtags in the classroom. But here is something extra. Last weekend I was presenting at an edtech conference here in Macedonia and I was talking about Sway. There were over 400 teachers there teaching different subjects and I had to find something in common and something that will keep their attention not to say keep them awake. So I was presenting on Formative Assessment with Twitter and Sway and here are my ideas:

  • Thought shapes- Students tweet #triangle for the most important thing they heard on the lesson, #square how to use it outside the classroom, #heart what they love using outside the classroom and #circle thet thought that still goes around their mind. The tweets would be easily searchable with the hashtags and you can put them all in one magazine named Formative Assessment.
  • 3-2-1- Students use #3 for three facts they can recall from the lesson, #2 for two reasons why this is important and #1 for one question they still have. Search twets and flip.
  • Think Pair- Share students use #think for personal thoughts on a key point from the lesson they reply to tweets for pairing and share discussions.
  • Pass the Phone- Students pass the phone and whoever has it answers a question using #answer1 or 2 ….
  • Four Corners- Put phones or tablets on four corners of the classroom. Students run from one to the other and answer questions using different hashtags #upperright #upperleft
  • Folding Stories- A student shares a key idea from the lesson and the rest of the class replies with a synonym or an antonym or another idea also connected with the topic of the lesson
  • Post it- Why use post it notes when you can post anything on twitter just use #postit and collect them all in one place – brainstorming The easiest way is to tweet all the ideas using the same hashtag and checking them all at the end of the tweeting session
  • 140 characters summary- Students summarize what they have learnt on the lesson using 140 characters
  • Exit Notes- Students tweet for an exit note use a hashtag an collect all the tweets And if you use these same formative assessment games over and over again and plus use the same hashtags for each you can easily find all and put them in a Formative Assessment Flipboard Magazine

5. Youtube

You can also have a Youtube Flipboard Magazine with all your videos and don’t forget to check my Mix a Tube and Sway it post with lots of ideas how to mix and create a YouTube video

6. Soundcloud

I use sound cloud daily. This is how we track reading progress. So where ever there is a text to be read phones are on. Why I prefer soundcloud over all other sound recording tools, well it is very easy to use and the sounds are uploaded instantly. So another idea My reading Flipboard Magazine.

There you have it six ideas how to use Flipboard in the classroom. And another lesson I learnt this past weekend never ever trust another baker but mine. Yup the cake turned out to be a disaster. Luckily we all had a busy day preparing the conference and were just willing to go to bed before the big day so no one noticed :)


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