Friday, April 26, 2013

From the Archives: Symbaloo and some ideas for use

A few months back, I came across a site called Symbaloo.  I dabbled a little and started building some.  Symbaloo takes links and makes them a visual block.  You can share the actual Symbaloo with others via social media. And, it's FREE!  There is a general site as well as an edu site.  They are intertwined someway or another.  If you are an iPad user, Symbaloo has an app to download.  You can do it here.

I have started establishing several symbaloo webmixes (the term symbaloo uses for their different pages) for teachers and for students.  There are so many options to use this.  My niece's teacher established a symbaloo for reading, spelling, math and science and the student started their lesson with a content specific one.  It is a fantastic way to keep students on task and working with websites you choose.  Especially with elementary students.

A few things about symbaloo:  you are limited to the number of tiles you can put to a page, so you may have to make several that relate to a topic and link them together.  Also, only you can edit the webmix, they can't be edited by others so for collaboration purposes, it may not be the best tool to use.

Here are some ways I can see a symbaloo used:

1.  Curate links from a webinar, a training or a conference all into one.  So many times, I go to conferences and see these amazing tools people are using.  I write them in my notes only to not look at them again or to lose the notes.  If you curate the links into a symbaloo and label the symbaloo as the specific conference, you have them handy all the time. I attended edcampindy this past month and established a symbaloo of the links everyone shared.  It was shared with the edcamp and now people can refer to it.

2. Develop a content specific webmix for your classes to refer to.  Let's say you teach history and you want your students to do some projects about the various topics you will focus upon.  You establish a symbaloo for each topic and drop in links... voila, your students are assigned that specific symbaloo, they find their materials here and stay on task.

3. Use it to collaborate with your colleagues.  Are you a department head?  Does your district have a collection of links and sites the teachers are encouraged to use for their planning?  You could collect the links from all of the teachers in your department and assemble a webmix for that purpose.

4. Blog collector/ organizer Do you have several blogs you read occasionally?  Have you come across some and think you can refer to it later?  I have bookmarked a lot of things in Diigo, but, I find it hard to sort my bookmarks.  You can use Symbaloo to sort your blogs.  Establish a webmix for each area of focus you look for.  (Mine for example would be:  Book reviews, EdTech, French, etc)  It would be easier to locate the bookmark this way.

These are just a few ideas.  I am certain after you look at the site and experiment a little, you will find some great ideas to make it work for you.  I know I am going to expand my webmixes.

Check out my webmix here:  hamiltonedtech

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