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This is the 26th post in the “30 days to using the best of the web’s free tools for educators” series. Be sure to subscribe to the Teacher Challenge blog by RSS, like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter to keep up with future challenge posts as they are published.

This guest post was written by Linda Straube.

In this activity you will

  • Expand your Personal Learning Network (PLN) through an online newspaper;
  • Discover an easy way to read and “manage” a Twitter feed;
  • If you wish, create your own personalized online newspaper

Overview: What is paper.li?

According to their web site, “Paper.li organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or #tag.


I originally learned about this from a colleague and mentor, Judy Gressel who has her own personal paper.li: Judy Gressel Daily. Judy has been advocating the use of Twitter and while I have an account, I wanted a fast way (without scanning all of the feeds) to stay aware of what professional news and ideas people were sharing. Paper.li helps me to accomplish that goal. My favorite is The #edchat Daily, shared by over 500 people.

Your Challenge

Choose which format you prefer: follow an existing paper.li OR create your own.

If you wish to follow an existing paper.li, such as The #edchatDaily, then simply go to that page and subscribe (on its upper right hand corner) for a daily reminder in your email or just bookmark the page – it should be updated every 24 hours or so.

Creating your own personalized paper is almost as easy:

  • You do need a FaceBook or Twitter account (see Edublog’s earlier post here about creating a Twitter account)
  • Login to paper.li and create a paper – supplying the Twitter account name – so that it summarizes those you are following. You will also be given the option to create other types (hashtag, custom, etc). You can choose to have your paper updated once a day, twice a day or weekly.

If Twitter is blocked at your school, you will probably be able to access paper.li and still learn from professional colleagues during the day. Struggling with ideas of whom to follow? Try web20classroom or choose someone else whom you respect and look at those they follow.

For this post, I made a paper.li called ChallengeTrial Daily by creating a Twitter account and then using it to follow anyone who had contributed recently to the Teacher Challenges at Edublogs and for whom I could find a Twitter feed. I added a few more feeds (Edublogs and ReadWriteWeb, for example) since the more one follows, the more articles and variety one will see. As your PLN grows, your paper.li will grow, too.

Your REAL Challenge

This is where the “fun” begins. The challenge is for you to regularly (daily, weekly, whatever works for you) review a paper.li and to then add value as you re-Tweet or blog or otherwise share something interesting that you find there with your PLN. Here are just a few examples I found from reading the EdChat daily last weekend:

For example, I read this great idea about using QRCodes to “showcase” student videos and multi-media projects; saw some basic information about creating QRCodes; and discovered that there is a QRCode daily. I forwarded those to teachers who are working with QRCodes in our school so that they can utilize these resources.

QR Code for teacherchallenge.edublogs.org
QR Code for teacherchallenge.edublogs.org

Another article talked about 5 Collaboration Tools for the iPad so again, I sent that off to a different group of teachers who will be piloting iPads with their classes next year.  The list goes on… motivating language learners, copyright issues, YouTube Teaching Channel (there is always some video links in your paper.li) or How Science Works from Berkeley – and that is just from checking the paper.li for a day or two.

Some sources I knew – like Seth Godin’s Blog – others become a new way to expand my PLN.  Over time, as I have commented on various “articles”, the original authors sometimes were in contact, expanding my PLN.  I tend to explore a new blog and find other posts of interest, too. It is easy to find one idea each time you review a paper.li In fact, it is hard to find only one new idea.

I think it is great to have the feed in a “newspaper” format – particularly if you will be using an iPad and want to quickly “flip” though the headings. Flipboard is a social magazine app http://flipboard.com/ and there are others, too, if you prefer a different format.

Help and Tips:

Paper.li FAQ’s

About the Author:

Linda Straube is a high school librarian who blogs at New Trier Library Blog and AM Exchange.

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