I was working with a teacher today who wanted to help her students research and find information about the civil rights movement. Her students were new to gathering information online, and she wanted to provide some scaffolding to help guide them and prevent them from being overwhelmed by all the information available online. There are a number of tools to can help with this task, including Advanced Google Search tools, however, I recommended a simple site called Symbaloo.
Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking and sharing site, and teachers can create “webmixes”. A webmix is simply a list of links that you can curate and arrange in an easy to view, pleasing format. You can group the icons in any way that you wish, and even color-code them based on what type of tool or resource they might be. The webmix pictured above is educator Bradley Lands created with his top 52 Web 2.0 resources for students and education. If you want to explore the tools listed there, here is the direct link:
Symbaloo would be great for guiding student research or providing them with pre-approved tools for creating the end product for a PBL or other major project. Outside of education, some people just like the look and layout of a Symbaloo homepage for accessing their email, favorite newspapers, or shopping sites.
It is free to sign up for a Symbaloo account – so sign up today and try it out!
- Symbaloo: Excellent visual bookmarks (candacechou.wordpress.com)
- Symbaloo2 (slideshare.net)
Last week, I posted about attending the Instructional Technology Integration Conference (ITIC) that my district has put on for the last three years. I got to hear some great presentations, and I actually co-presented a session on assessing student understanding with another teacher from my campus. I was a little bit nervous to present before even having the chance to attend the conference first, but I think that all went well. I feel hopeful that I shared some new tools like ThatQuiz, Padlet, and Today’s Meet with teachers and school leaders from my area. I have to remember that technology integration is part of my daily job, so I get the opportunity to read blogs and Twitter feeds and play around with these types of things regularly. Just because I’ve heard of something before doesn’t mean that everyone else has – and I think everyone can put their own spin on new ways you might be to use an existing technology.
Outside of my presentation, I really enjoyed the sessions by Tammy Worcester Tang. In Beyond Copy and Paste, she gave great quick tutorials on tons of different Web 2.0 tools and linked them to ideas and assignments that could be implemented in the classroom right away. During her Go Paperless talk, she highlighted the use of Google Forms as a teacher dropbox to collect URLs of student work for easy grading. Beyond submitting separate URLs for each assignment, students could also keep a running portfolio of their work in Google Drive and send the teacher a link to access that living document throughout the year. I especially love this idea for my Science classes. Instead of lugging around crates of spiral notebooks to grade at the end of each unit, I could just peek into a student’s digital journal to look at all of their notes, photos of their lab observations, and other creations.
I’ve heard other good feedback from the conference, and I found some new, active people to follow on Twitter. I’ll definitely make plans to attend (and present!) again next year.