Monday, 9 July 2012

30 days of Web Tools: #4: Curating with Paper.li

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Have you discovered, like me, that Twitter is a very beneficial way of learning from a  PLN (Personal Learning Community)? I find most of my ideas stem from my educational Twitter community. Every day I come across an educational newspaper that has been created by a PLN member using Paper.Li and their Twitter feeds so I decided it was time to try it out for myself.


What is Paper.li?


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Curation, as you probably know, is the new buzz word. Paper.li is a free curation tool that takes Twitter links from people you follow or specify and automatically publishes a digital newspaper on a daily or weekly basis. What happens, in more detail, is you tell it which sources to use. Paper.Li then pulls from those sources and arranges the material in different categories. Very clever!  After you have signed in you will be asked to Start your paperPaper.li is a free service that takes links from the people you follow on Twitter and organizes those links into a virtual paper for easy reading. 

Finding sources to add

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Once you click on 'Start your paper' as shown on the right you will be required to choose your sources. One has to be choosy in who you add as your sources if you have a desired outcome for the final version. Paper.li allows you to add around 25 sources from traditional news sources, Twitter hashtags, or Twitter list feeds. I experimented about four times with this not realising that each time my Paper.Li might have been circulating among my Twitter followers! Oh dear! If that happens to you, then delete the newspaper each time when you start again because it saves automatically.
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The diagram on the left shows how the page looks when you are adding your various sources.At this point you have to be very selective and only choose the sources you really want to draw from. Make your selections from the left grey bar, or add your own hashtags to the window at the tip of the middle column, and drag them accross. 


 

How to make your own Paper.li

So let’s get started. Give Paper.Li a try. Here is a short basic list of steps:
1. Ask Google for http://paper.li/
2. Select “Start your paper Paper”.
3. You will be prompted to sign in using Twitter.
4. Select “Create a newspaper”
5. Provide the sources for your paper – lists, hashtags, or twitter accounts from which you want the paper created

I came across a very good screencast from an educator saying how she went about making her first Paper.li so I am going to embed it here.


http://www.screenr.com/92Ss

The structure of a Paper.li (click on the thumbnail)


imageThis picture shows how a Paper.Li turns out. Basically you don’t much say over what appears – the tweets are sourced by Paper.Li from the sources you provided. I found that I deleted a number of the tweets as they weren’t relevant to what I wanted, and then Paper.li just added another.  If you click on this thumbnail you’ll be taken to the actual paper I created which gives a good idea of the structure. If you are unsuccessful here is the URL: http://paper.li/fibeal/1341787139#


How to use Paper.Li as an educator


1. Set up a class hashtag if your school allows it.  Recognize that tweets with links to articles, videos, and images, make the best content for Paper.li. You could even create a relevant  paper a week for your students.

2. Student’s could use paper.li to create newspapers that are aligned to a particular topic. They would then have to source people who write or tweet on their topic, or a hashtag that is used for that particular topic. Here are three examples of subject specific Paper.Li’s from Lucy Grey. One is devoted to global education, another to mobile learning and a third focuses on her favourite general education resources and thought leaders.

3. You could set up a hashtag based on a Unit of work you want to cover,  and then tweet a series of web pages, videos, articles, etc. on that topic. Your students could then read your Tweet Paper for the day to get information.

Undoubtedly as you read this blogpost your mind will be jumping to ideas that are relevant and specific to you for trying out Paper.Li. Would love to hear about them!

Further reading

1) A newspaper of tweets:
3) Provide students with a personalised newspaper every day
http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2010/10/provide-students-with-personalized.html

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