Experimenting with Flipboard’s Magazine Feature

For the better part of a year or so I have become rather hooked on Flipboard while reading on my iPad. It has become the app I used the most without a doubt. I started using it considerably more once Google Reader announced that it was going to disappear. While I migrated to other RSS readers, trying out a handful, I find myself gravitating more and more to the Flipboard experience.

One continually frustrating aspect about Flipboard, however, was the fact that it was essentially a mobile app only, until the recent magazine feature was added this summer. Even after its initial unveiling I was still a little skeptical and unconvinced about what potential it held. The a few weeks ago I began playing with it to see what I could do. The result is my still newly curated Flipboard magazine, Teaching Today: A Miscellany of Issues and Challenges Related to Teaching in Today’s World.

Teaching Today is my small attempt to capture the most interesting articles that I come across about the teaching profession, with a particular eye on the kinds of current edreforms that I believe are negatively impacting public education in the United States. It grew partially out of frustration with the current political climate with regards to my profession. Combined with the fact that for the last six months or so I have been emailing selected articles to colleagues, I thought I would explore what the expanding reach of Flipboard might offer.

To that end, I have been carefully selecting pieces from the stream of education news that I follow regularly, including some short comments, and adding it to the magazine. I still email, of course, because some colleagues will always prefer that method, but I wanted to play with this new web-enabled version of the app that had garnered so much of the way I read online, lately. However, I am wondering where the possibilities might lead. Thus I am making it available here too, hoping that at least a few people might take a look and even consider becoming regular, registered readers.

I like that I can make the magazine available to anyone online, as I am doing here. I wish that it did not require a registration to follow the number of readers or subscribers. I also wish that the whole thing was a little more open and easier to edit and customize. I suppose there other tools for that kind of web snipping and commenting, like this blog or Tumblr. Yet I routinely find myself reading on my iPad much more like a traditional newspaper of old, only to become increasingly frustrated by how limited I am in how I use the device to collect and share. So few apps are actually integrated or make it easy to move content from one to the other without a ridiculous amount of additional steps and workarounds. In fact, that was part of my initial skepticism with Flipboards new upgrade. I just wasn’t sure I believed that it would be quite as easy as it is. Plus, the recent web availability of magazines is an even newer wrinkle, which is ultimately what pushed me into trying it.

Image: cover of Teaching Today - a Flipboard magazine cover

Teaching Today – my Flipboard magazine

Depending on how this experiment goes, I am considering using it with my classes once the school year begins. It is almost a certainty in my journalism course, maybe even functioning as a kind of course anthology of readings. Plus, that particular class has been operating as a one-to-one iPad environment for a few years now, which leverages the original quality of the app, despite potentially requiring a registration. I am still on the fence about it for my ninth grade English sections. I tend to give them the occasional article anyway and a Flipboard magazine might be a slick way to present the material, or at least function as a back-up to more traditional distribution. While I began teaching in a one-to-one laptop environment last year, I have found that fourteen and fifteen year-old students still benefit significantly from concrete thing when reading, like paper with widere margins for notes. This is especially true in the early stages of the year.

Anyway, I would love it if anyone reading would take a look the new effort and has any feedback to share about the magazine or any suggestions.

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