Flipboard 2.0: Classroom Ready

Flipboard is a great iPad and Android app. In fact, it was iPad’s App of the Year for 2010. Flipboard is a slick, personal magazine that lets you subscribe to the best of the web. You can fill Flipboard with just the things that you care about. It’s part RSS reader, part high-octane digital magazine that lets you rate and share its content on your social media outlets. One of the best features of Flipboard is its visually stunning layout. Images are sharp and crystal clear, and the pages turn with lightning speed. It makes RSS readers look like raw code.

Flipboard can aggregate news from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, blogs, and websites. Instead of seeing a list of links like on a Twitter page, Flipboard lays it out for you in magazine format. You can even subscribe to specific Twitter lists, Google+ circles, and Facebook friends lists. Imagine seeing your Twitter feed like this:


We all love Twitter, and to have all the shared links displayed in a layout like that is incredible!

Flipboard also lets you easily share content on any of your social media outlets.

Here’s a short tour:

As great as Flipboard is, I wasn’t sure if this could be used for the classroom, at least in a meaningful, purposeful way, other than “look at this cool thing.” It can certainly be used by educators to bolster their professional learning and add content to their Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook feeds. Flipboard gets a gold star for that, but extending it into the classroom has been cumbersome and an unguided adventure in the past. Sometimes an unguided discovery mission is just what students need. Other times they need more structure. Also, Flipboard is not web based, so users can only access through the iPad, iPhone, and Android apps, and in the past, the only way you could share content was through social media. So there were a lot of barriers for purposeful, ease-of-use in the classroom. 

Most of those barriers came down with Flipboard 2.0. The 2.0 release gives users the ability to create their own Flipboard magazines with content of their choosing that they can share with other Flipboard users. It still doesn’t have a web-based function, but this latest iteration is intriguing, and it’s definitely worth a try in the iPad or Android classrooms. 

Flipboard users created over 100,000 magazines in first 24 hours following the release of 2.0. It has that Pinterest feel of selecting what’s important and sharing with others, and I see from the list inside Flipboard that a number of educators are already creating their own magazines. 

Get a preview here: 

But still, the question remains . . . how can I use this in a purposeful way in my classroom? Here’s how . . . .

My Flipboard Assignment

You can add your own content, even lessons, into your Flipboard magazines by using a free page creator like Weebly to create your content and assignments. Just install the Flipboard bookmarklet to your browser, and “flip it” into your magazine like I just did on this page. 

If you’re reading this on your mobile device and have the Flipboard 2.0 app, check it out here:  http://flip.it/P6WG9 

The assignment page that I created is a “living document,” so I can update as I go.  My students would see the changes in right in the Flipboard magazine. 

Prime Your Flipboard with Student Content 

Subscribe to your favorite content sites for your students right in Flipboard. You can start with these 32. Remember that if you have favorite sites that are not already curated in Flipboard, just type the URL or keyword in the search box. You will see the subscribe options if the site is set up for RSS feeds. 

Be sure to save your favorite images in either Flickr or Instagram. You can subscribe to both of those photo-sharing sites in Flipboard. This allows you to add your favorite images to your magazine. Flipboard already has some great photo, video, and audio sharing options that are standard features in the app. 

Flipboard Improvements 

1) We need to be able to create magazine issues, not just new magazines. 

2) We need to be able to curate our selections better with a short comment on why it was chosen or what to look for in the article. 

3) We need a web-based version for students who are not mobile-ready or just for the seamless passage from tablet to PC. 

Further Reads

edunationAdam Renfro’s Edu-Nation Flipboard Magazine

Flipping for Nonfiction 

15 Fantastic Ways to Use Flipboard 

Flipboard in the Classrooms 

Flipboard Unpacks the Power of Social Media in the Classroom


Adam Renfro

Adam was a classroom English teacher for ten years and began teaching online in 1998. He now works for the North Carolina Virtual Public School, the 2nd largest virtual school in the nation. Adam has blogged for Getting Smart since September of 2011.

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1 Comment

Peter Fogarty

Thank you for posting this article. I have linked directly to it from my Elearning educational blog at http://www.best-online-schools.org/flipboard-app.html. I totally agree with your analysis. As I still do all my work from a beat up, old laptop (it works on everything apart from FlipBoard!), I agree this limit in technology will bring FlipBoard in the classroom to its knees. I have enough problems of getting everyone online and working without throwing in a "if you don't have equipment from 2013 or later, then I will have to accept a printed copy of your assignment... ".. Thanks for sharing.

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