Now that you've got a basic idea of how the Been system can be used for organizing webpages, adding comments, and shared surfing, let's take a short walk-through of the service. First, you can sign up for a free account by clicking the "sign up" link at the top right, and then you'll be ready to go!
Once you've opened up your account, you'll find yourself at an empty dashboard. From here you can organize your "beens," add new links, delete ones you would like to get rid of, and several other options which we'll get to in time.
To create a new Been, simply click on the + sign on the left. From there, you'll be asked to name the Been and select the design you would like to use.
Now, before you start roaming the web, looking for excellent sites for your students, you'll want to install the browser plugin, which will make this whole process possible. Click on the "Get Been" button at the top right and the plugin will automatically be installed in your browser.
Now, you'll be able to see the Been application running in the bottom right corner of your screen when you visit different webpages (you can click on the Been logo by your navigation bar to collapse it if you don't want to see it). From here, you can add new links, surf the web with your students, add comments, and create new Beens.
This brings up two things I really like about the service. Not only can you create collections of sites for your students to explore on their own time (i.e. outside of the classroom), but with the Surf Together option, you can also guide your students through website collections together, in the classroom.
The ability to have both synchronous and asynchronous learning is an excellent feature, and makes Been an incredibly beneficial tool. It's perfect not only for the blended classroom, but for the flipped classroom as well.
On top of that, I really love the commenting feature, which gives students and teachers the opportunity to interact and discuss websites as they explore them. Plus, students can interact with others outside of their own class (i.e. 3rd period math can interact with 6th period math) which, under normal circumstances, would not be a possibility.
Plus, you can easily import your student list using a CSV file if you would like to quickly add your entire course load onto Been.
And essentially, that's the service! The videos on their site get into more specifics on how to use the "surf together" feature if you're interested in trying it out.
In short, Been is a wonderful way to manage and curate collections of webpages for educational use. Plus, the ability to "surf together" with your class is an excellent feature. And, giving students and teachers the ability to add comments to webpages is an added bonus! If you're looking to integrate a new technology tool in the classroom, I highly recommend checking out Been. It's user-friendly and full of potential!
The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I was not compensated for reviewing this application