Archive for January, 2015

What’s the Hullabaloo on Symbaloo?

When I (Carol) was first introduced to Symbaloo a few years back at NCTIES and NCSLMA conferences, I thought it was a wonderful way to organize Internet bookmarks graphically instead of listing them. Now that I’ve used it for awhile, I am amazed at how powerful it can be.

What is Symbaloo? According to its own website, “Symbaloo is a free visual and social bookmarking tool.” There is even a special version for educators: SymbalooEdu.

Symbaloo is appropriate for individuals, especially those with several devices. For example, I set up Symbaloo on my laptop. When I sign into my tablet, I can access all my bookmarks with a touch of the screen instead of typing in websites. I can even do that on my phone (it is available for both iPhone and Android).

If you use different browsers, Symbaloo is a great way to keep your bookmarks. You can even import them from your browsers (see http://importer.symbaloo.com/).

Educators will find a number of uses for Symbaloo. They can create their own webmixes or search the ones created by the Symbaloo certified educators.

A webmix is a collection of tiles on a specific subject. Webmixes can be shared with other teachers and even students. Here is an example of a webmix I created for our teachers: http://edu.symbaloo.com/shared/AAAAB01l0QIAA42ARlPjUQ==

There are many uses for Symbaloo. I incorporate it into my pathfinder when my 5th graders are working on their first research project. It puts all their resources at their fingertips, regardless whether they are at home or at school. This is just one of many possibilities!

Teachers can create a different webmix for each class or each subject, as well as for their personal or research interests. Webmixes can be shared publicly or by email with others.

Want to learn more? Watch this video: http://youtu.be/oOA4xx-1s9s

My Favorite Type of Meeting

I (Laura) meet with each 7th-12th grade teacher quarterly to discuss technology integration in his classroom. We talk about what projects they are already doing, any tech dreams they have, and how they can move up the SAMR ladder.

In general, I find that several themes run through our meetings: flipping the class time, collaboration, student creation, challenge-based learning, and publishing student work.

I love these meetings. They are inspiring. Besides getting to brainstorm with teachers and support them, I get to hear about the awesome things they are doing in their classrooms.

I wanted this post to be an in-depth look at one of those awesome things, but honestly most of the projects are still in process this year. New ideas take time! So, instead, I’m going to give you a list of some of the things going on now at GRACE:

  • 8th grade science students are creating a website for all of their periodic table elements. They are designing, editing, writing, recording, and managing the site.
  • 10th grade English students are doing 20% time projects this whole year. These technically do not need to involve technology, but they always do. All students use technology to research or contact mentors or sources, but others are going further and using technology to build animated videos, produce a documentary, or review Google Glass.
  • Our French IV student is following a French cooking blog and writing responses to posts.
  • 11th grade Bible students are creating videos about different theories of atonement with the plan to post some of them on the teacher’s YouTube channel.

Hopefully, next semester I will be able to share with you more results of these projects. But, in the meantime, I hope you get excited with me! There are so many things to love about student creation and publishing, and I feel so privileged that I get to be part of the process.