NOTE: This is a guest post by Mimi Chau from the Symbaloo team. Edublogs just rolled out a free Symbaloo plugin available to all users that we think you’ll enjoy!
What is Symbaloo?
Symbaloo is a free social bookmarking tool. A fun and simple way to organize and store all your digital resources in the cloud. You can categorize your resources, share and access them from any device. Meanwhile, Symbaloo is a free educational tool, SymbalooEDU Premium is a resource management system that offer classrooms, schools, and districts a customized SymbalooEDU page with a dedicated URL to distribute and manage all digital resources in one place. Learn more about “Which Symbaloo is Best for You”.
Why Should You Symbaloo?
Symbaloo helps teachers curate content and share the best of the web with their students. Teachers are able to work harder, smarter and most importantly, happier.
“Help, I’m drowning!” said Shelley Breivogel, 25 year veteran teacher from Indiana. Like many other teachers, Shelley is feeling overwhelmed with the amount of time it takes working outside of the classroom to be an effective teacher.
As schools start to implement 1:1 or BOYD methods in the classroom, teachers are required to keep up with the latest technology and teaching methods. Most teachers own a massive collection of teaching resources: classroom links, lesson plans, web 2.0 tools, educational apps, educational videos, social media, professional development resources, and many more. How do you organize and stay on top of all these resources?
And what about the “non tech-savvy” teachers that are struggling with technology? Those teachers have the most difficult time implementing tech in the classroom. How will they cope with this problem, and how can we help them?
Symbaloo allows teachers to share valuable resources with their students and with each other. The best part is, Symbaloo is easy to use. You can add any link you find on the web to a customized tile, and organize your tiles in different webmixes (categories). You can search for tiles in the Symbaloo’s tile database, and you can search for content curated by other educators in Symbaloo’s gallery. Tech-savvy teachers can lead the way for those teachers that need help.
How do you Symbaloo in your classroom? The possibilities are endless, we continue to discover new ways teachers are using Symbaloo in the classroom. Here’s a list of how teachers are currently using Symbaloo.
11 Ways to use Symbaloo in the Classroom
1. Share Classroom Website with Your Students and Parents
How do you share links with your students and parents? We’ve seen teachers constantly adding new links to their classroom website, Google Docs, or sending out so many emails a day. What if you can store all your links in an overview then share it at one time, and all your students will get automatic updates when you make changes? Will this improve your productivity?
You can share your collection of links with Symbaloo. Symbaloo will generate a link for you to share with others to take them straight to your webmix. Here’s a video tutorial on how to share your webmixes:
Matt Gomez, Kindergarten Teacher, co-founder and organizer of EdcampDallas as well as moderator of #Kinderchat uses Symbaloo to share Kinderchat resources filled with eBooks, fun songs and videos for elementary students. Take a look at Matt’s Symbaloo profile to see a collection of webmixes followed by over 73,000 Symbaloo users.
2. Customize Your Lesson Plans with Symbaloo
Teachers are using Symbaloo to create lesson plans by creating a webmix for each subject that they teach. We have a few examples for you.
Social Studies Webmix:
Language Arts Webmix:
3. Embed a Webmix in Your Classroom Website or Blog
Mrs. Buller use Symbaloo to share all her favorite websites with her 4th grade classroom:
4. Create Personal Learning Environment For Your Students
Teachers are preparing students for the global marketplace by teaching digital citizenship, and teaching students how to navigate and organize resources from a variety of different sources.
With Symbaloo, students can customize their own learning space. Students can create their own Symbaloo pages with their most used websites, such as their school email account, personal blog, social networking sites, classroom blog, and school website. They can curate content from their research for a classroom project by embedding Youtube videos, Prezi presentation, and Google Doc in a webmix. Students are able to stay focus in the classroom by accessing all their resources from within the Symbaloo platform without having to go all over the web. Which lead them to take responsibility for their own learning while creating a fun learning environment.
Video of as a 7th grader explains how she uses Symbaloo as her PLE:
5. Use Symbaloo in Your Library
There are many fun and creative ways to use Symbaloo in your library. Teacher-librarians are the most creative Symbaloo educators.
Shannon Miller, Teacher-Librarian at Van Meter Elementary in Iowa uses Symbaloo to create “VM Library Resources“. The webmix contains the Van Meter Library Site, Destiny, Mackin VIA, and the Iowa AEA Online Resources like Britannica, iClipArt, and CultureGrams. Shannon include reading sites, Web 2.0 tools, digital citizenship sites like Professor Garfield and NetSmartz, and lots of fun websites for her students. She shares her Symbaloo with her school community through emails, teacher newsletter, the Van Meter Library VOICE and social media profiles, but she also set it as a homepage for all desktops in the computer lab.
Screenshot of VM Library Resources webmix:
Shannon love using Symbaloo with her special ed students. Together, they created a Van Meter Secondary Resources webmix. Another fun project from Van Meter students along with Shannon contributed their favorite authors to the VM Favorite Authors webmix.
VM Favorite Authors webmix in Symbaloo mobile app:
6. Use Symbaloo for Curriculum Mapping
Shelley Breivogel express concerns about teachers having hard time keeping up with the ever-changing educational standards. Teachers are required to work a lot harder and longer hours to create lesson plans for different subjects to meet the needs of many students level.
Shelly uses Symbaloo to collaborate with other teachers for curriculum mapping throughout the district. She creates webmixes that include resources that explain each of the standards that the class is covering each month. Shelley encourages teachers to collaborate so they can work smarter and not harder.
Read “Mapaloo – Mapping with Symbaloo” by Shelley Breivogel to find step-by-step directions on how to use Symbaloo for curriculum mapping.
7. Professional Development Sites for Teachers
Recently, New York Institute of Technology and New York State Teacher Centers partnered with Symbaloo to collaborate and organize resources for Common Core. New York use SymbalooEDU premium version to share state resources with New York educators.
Using SymbalooEDU premium is a great way to conduct PD with your teachers. Kelly Robinson, Technology Specialist from Georgia Virtual Learning School shares how she is using Symbaloo to share teacher resources in SymbalooEDU Educator Spotlight.
Georgia Virtual Learning School Teacher Resources webmix:
8. Using Symbaloo as a School Dashboard
When you are a Technology Specialist working with 2-3 tech tools, it’s easy to keep track and share with your teachers. While Technology Specialist like Robert Petitto working and training teachers to use 7-8 different technology, the amount of tools and resources are overwhelming. Schools and districts can use Symbaloo as a dashboard to place tech tools and resources in one page so teachers can access them daily.
VVSDTECH OnDemand Dashboard:
Aside from using Symbaloo as a district dashboard, VVSDTECH shares other important teacher resources in multiple webmixes on their SymbalooEDU premium account.
9. Use Symbaloo to Organize Digital Portfolios for Students
Many teachers stress the importance in showcasing students work on #symchat-SymbalooEDU Twitter chat, a popular topic among many teachers is how to share students’ digital portfolios. Symbaloo is a great place to share all your student digital portfolios.
8th Grade Digital Portfolios Webmix:
10. Use Symbaloo as a Classroom Social Hub
Did you know you can add social media widgets to your Symbaloo? Your students can login and access all their social media accounts from within the Symbaloo platform.
How to add social media widgets to your Symbaloo:
11. Use Symbaloo to Create Your Classroom Playlist
Do you show tons of videos in your classroom? Are you currently flipping your classroom and students are instructed to watch videos daily? You can create webmix with your videos playlist so your students can watch them without having to open a new link every time. All videos hosted online can be embedded within Symbaloo and will open up within the platform.
Ted Talks Playlist with Symbaloo:
How Do You Symbaloo?
We feature innovative teachers on SymbalooEDU Educator Spotlight to share the different ways educators are using Symbaloo. Are you currently using Symbaloo in a way that’s not listed on this list? Tweet us @SymbalooEDU to tell us how you are currently using Symbaloo or share your ideas by leaving a comment below.
Not familiar with Symbaloo? Create your free account today! We train teachers on how to use Symbaloo so you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Watch a series of how-to videos by completing the SymbalooEDU Basic Certification. You can redeem the certification for free by entering the promo code: Edublogs14.