CONCEPT: A FREE tool that allows individuals to redefine the way in which they communicate and express their ideas.
With the introduction of the World Wide Web we no longer consume information in a linear fashion. Rather, we interact with the information and use links within postings to deepen our understanding. Well if that’s the case, and we no longer consume information in a linear manner, then Branchfire proposes we no longer communicate and express our own ideas in a linear manner either. To help solve this problem and to redefine the way information is shared when using a word processor they have developed a tool called Folia. Now you may be thinking have Branchfire not heard of hyperlinks? They have and instead of replicating the process, they have acted like true 21st century innovators by creating a tool that redefines how we use the concept of linking. While there are many reasons they share the one that I find to be the most impressive, because it helps move us forward in how we learn and share, is the ability to annotate your link allowing the reader to have a deeper understanding of why it was used and directing them to key areas.
Folia is an easy to use tool that anyone will master within a few moments. As with all Branchfire apps they have a great opening tutorial that provides an overview on how to begin using their tools. The concept is really quite simple – connect the dots between your documents and ideas and if you so choose annotate those links and identify key areas to direct your users attention to.
Folia doesn’t limit you to just connecting documents, with the web clipper tool (available only for Safari and Chrome browsers) you can clip web pages directly into folia and then they will appear on all synced devices. Want to be able to do it from the iPad, get yourself a copy of iAnnotate (the first brilliant tool from Branchfire) and you can import web pages as a PDF and send them to Folia.
With more and more people moving toward utilizing multiple platforms, Folia’s got you covered! They offer full cross-platform syncing, allowing you to access the most recent version of your files from any device at any time. Folia is currently available on the iPad, OS X, and Windows 8 tablets and desktops. An Android version is available but for now is read only.
I truly believe in the storyboarding and research process where you are connecting the dots and working with information from different places to create your product because this is where the deeper critical thinking is happening. Whether you are in the process of creating a research paper, multimedia presentation or blog post, Folia forces you to dig deep and think about the connection between different pieces of information and to then share that with others.
LIMITATIONS: A really flawless design with no limitations. However would love to see a more seamless process between iAnnotate and Folia like a “send to folia” button in the annotation toolbar.
CONCLUSION: Our responsibility as educators demands that we equip students with a skill set to navigate their information abundant world. Today’s world demands students move beyond consumption of information and that they work with information to apply it to real world settings so that they are in a position to problem solve and create. Branchfire has done a great job of modeling what this can look like and they’ve provided a phenomenal tool to help you engage in redefining the way you and your students communicate and express your ideas so they are prepared for the demands of todays world! All in all another fantastic tool from Branchfire that will serve as a game changer in your classroom! . 5/5
Working on research papers
Compare and contrast readings, articles etc.
Engaging students in historical thinking
A resume! What a great way to let others view your work
Reflect upon previous assignments and examine growth
A portfolio for PD with documents on different topics connecting to different ideas for how they are being implemented
Study Guides/Exam Review
And so much more! The possibilities are limited only to your imagination!