Creating Tools for Specific Assignments

I have been writing a lot here about the different types of collaboration that I have been doing in all subject areas. I want to share an instance where I created the tool for a science class, but I didn't really do any teaching for this assignment. The biology teacher, Mrs., Higgins, came to me recently about beefing up an assignment that she has done in the past. She had created a writing assignment on the stem cell controversy that she has used before. Students had to take a stance on whether they believed embryonic stem cells should be used for research, or if they thought the use of adult stem cells was sufficient. She was happy with the idea of the product where students wrote a letter or a speech defending their stance. It was the research part that she felt needed some help. She was pleased with the pathfinders that I have created for her lessons, and she thought it would work well in this situation, too., Together we came up with a set of questions for the pathfinder. Then I set to work.

I used Livebinders because they are the best tool when you want to include links to audio, video, and database articles as well as embed documents or files.  The layout makes it easy to create and easy for the students to use. I posted the assignment and rubric that the teacher created, the pathfinder that I created, the article from Gale that the teacher wanted everyone to read, the video that she wanted everyone to watch and the additional print and video that I found that would help the students answer the questions on the pathfinder. Our goal was for the students to use the completed pathfinder as the ammunition that they would need to defend their stance. The students would complete this work in the two days that the teacher would be away at a conference. Unfortunately, the school was having major Internet issues those days, and the Livebinder did not always load, nor were the videos that were embedded load for viewing. It was quite frustrating because with this tool they would have all the resources that they needed to find the evidence supporting their stance.

In the end I think that most of them were able to complete the assignment in the allotted time, but I was at loss to help them when their emails came in telling me that they couldn't open the Livebinder. There really was no backup plan, and I guess that if we were truly desperate, we could have photo-copied all of the the articles from the database hat I had embedded in the Livebinder. Open here to find the Livebinder that I created for the stem cell project.


  1. Dear Elizabeth,
    How timely? I have been supporting a Year 8 class asked to research stem cells and produce a scientific report that supports a position. I have used a LibGuide V2. I can add files, database serach widgets, video, text, images etc. It is still a work in progress. You can view it here:
    LibGuides are extremely easy to use and don't require a logon to view them.

  2. Thank you so much for posting. I hadn't considered using a Livebinder site as a way to guide students research; up until now I'd only used it to try to organize myself. I'm a middle school teacher librarian in Mississauga Ontario and I run a Tech Tuesday lunch and learn for my staff. I'm going to share this Stem Cell Livebinder with my teachers not for the content but for the idea of how to use the Livebinder tool. Thanks again.


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