Common Sense Review
Updated October 2013

Paper.li

Curate the Web into a customizable, ever-changing newspaper
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Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
Pros
Papers are well-designed, and it's neat to watch all your sources come together into a customized product.
Cons
It's not as intuitive as it could be, and you have to constantly watch sources to make sure they're appropriate, as well as aligned with your paper's topic.
Bottom Line
While Paper.li could be easier to use, it can help kids learn research skills and ways to navigate Web content.
Polly Conway
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

It's fun to choose a subject and watch as the content appears in your paper and updates over time. The design is really clean, and the papers are easy to read.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Kids will be empowered by creating their own paper, especially if they get to choose the topic. While they're playing around, they'll also be reading articles, making decisions, and thinking about how to customize their papers.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Though there's a help page, forums, two blogs, and more, it's still not immediately obvious what the site's function is and how to participate. 

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Paper.li can be an interesting place for your students to experiment with research. A paper's quality depends on the quality of the sources they choose, and students have the opportunity to learn about reputable source selection and the varying quality of online content. Over time, and with some work, students can tweak filters and make changes to create a paper that gives them exactly the content they're interested in.

Students will watch their papers change from day to day, and this could turn into its own kind of project. You could have students set up a paper on a subject like global warming and then report on each day's developments and trends. Additionally, as a teacher, you can create papers that help you keep track of news items related to topics you're discussing in class, using the corresponding content as a teaching supplement or as a way to stay informed.

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What's It Like?

Paper.li is an online platform that lets users create their own newspaper made up of content found on the Web. To start your paper, click the Create a Paper button. You'll choose a name, topic, and any description; then you'll be taken to a dashboard. Type in a topic -- for example, "cats" -- and the source you'd like the content to come from (options are Twitter, Facebook, RSS, YouTube, and more). A list of links will populate; choose the ones you'd like to add to your paper by clicking the plus sign next to each. When you've added all the sources, Paper.li will take a few minutes to "print" your paper, bringing together all those links into a tidy page. Papers are visually customizable; you can choose formats and fonts to personalize design.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Students can learn to improve their research skills; they'll refine searches and narrow down exactly what they want their paper to contain. They can also learn lots of details about whatever subject they're building a paper on, whether it's archaeology, soccer, or One Direction. While Paper.li isn't your average newspaper, it does give students some idea of how traditional journalism works, and curating content is similar to the way many online publications now function. Paper.li can be helpful for students who really want to keep up on a particular subject, but it's a little finicky and can require a lot of adjustment to give them the right content.

The Staff Picks are kind of odd; are "Equestrian Express" and "NCIS Fanatic" really the best examples Paper.li has to offer? You also have to be careful which sources you choose, as your paper will continue to draw from those sites even if their scope changes. A site may have an article on Harry Potter one day, but the next day it may have an article on something entirely different -- your paper doesn't know the difference and will populate with whatever content is new on that site.

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See how teachers are using Paper.li