Making Digital Learning Easy for You!

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Featured Author: Jenifer Gossman

    Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool.  Have you ever used Pinterest?  Have you ever been browsing the Internet, found a website you loved and you wanted to save it?  You probably saved it as a “favorite” or as a “bookmark.”  After you saved that site you have to scroll through a list of all the sites you have saved to find what you are looking for.  If you are list person then that works great for you.  However, many people are “visual” learners, especially students.  Symbaloo allows you to save these favorites as a tile, similar to Pinterest saving sites as pictures.  

    I began using Symbaloo, personally, over 8 years ago.  I am a very visual person and it helped me organize different aspects of my life.  I had webmixes for my graduate research, for my children, places I liked to shop and more.  After I had been using it personally for awhile I came home to find my daughter had made her Symbaloo webmix our homepage on our home computer!  Right then it hit me how I could utilize Symbaloo as a teacher and as a teacher trainer!

    Before I get started sharing with you some great ways to put Symbaloo to work for you, I want to share some Symbaloo vocabulary with you.  Webmix:  a collection of tiles (bookmarks) for a specific subject.  Tiles:  links, bookmarks, widgets, and/or embedded content.  Two words that will be very important to you as you dive into the Symbaloo world.

    At the beginning of this school year I established a webmix for my school. That is the landing page or home as I call it for my students.  On this landing page I have tiles to sites I have approved for my students.  I also have tiles that take students to specific webmixes for their grade level.  Even my kindergarten students know that when they come into the technology lab they (I’m quoting one of my kindergarten students) “click on that Google thing at the bottom of your screen and open our Symbaloo page.”  (On a side note, I didn’t realize my regular set of instructions stuck with them until their teacher said one of the students told her how to do it).  Utilizing this has made my classroom work so smoothly this year.  Students know immediately what they can and can’t do, without me reminding them.  Anytime I find something new to share with them, I just put a tile on their grade level webmix and they can easily access it.  No more writing long URL’s on the board and hearing, “it isn’t working” because someone typed l instead of i!

Creating An Account

 There are multiple ways to get started using Symbaloo.  

  1. Sign up for an account at www.symbaloo.com (free)
  2. Sign up for an account at http://www.symbalooedu.com/pd-pro-jenifer-gossman/ (free)
    1. Under my bio choose the free account option
  3. Become a certified Symbaloo PD  http://www.symbalooedu.com/pd-pro-jenifer-gossman/ ($10 or $40)
    1. Under my bio choose the Certification option
    2. After receiving this certification you can become a PD Pro for Symbaloo (lots of perks)
Creating Your First Webmix

1. Log into your account

2. Title your webmix (what is the webmix being used for)

3. Easily add tiles

  1. Click on a blank tile
    1. Create a tile
    2. Title the tile
    3. Insert the URL
    4. Design your tile with an image or icon
    5. Save

3. Search a tile (there are hundreds of tiles in Symbaloo’s gallery)

  1. Once you find the tile, just click on it and it will be added

4. Browse tiles by category

  1. Once you find the tile, just click on it and it will be added
Sharing Your Webmix

Sharing your webmix can be done in multiple ways:

  1. You can share the link through e-mail
  2. You can embed in a blog or on a website (http://www.stsppschool.com/symbaloo.html)
  3. Share the link on social media
  4. Make public in the Symbalo Webmix gallery
  5. If you are a Symbaloo PRO – you get your own custom domain (ex:  jengossman.symbaloo.com)
How To Share Your Webmix
  1. Click on the share icon found above your webmix
  2. Fill in the necessary fields:
    1. Webmix name (you probably already named it)
    2. Webmix description
  3. Click on either Publicly or Privately
  4. Click on the GREEN button Share My Webmix

Once you have clicked on Share My Webmix you will be able to:

  • Copy the URL link
  • Copy the embed code (for use on websites, blogs, etc)
  • Share directly on Twitter or Facebook (you will have to connect your social media accounts to your Symbaloo account if you haven’t already)
Putting Symbaloo to Work for YOU

Here are some ideas of how you can make Symbaloo work for you:

  • Provide links for a unit lesson (I prepared a webmix for an Indiana History lesson and shared with students, it gave them plenty of links to help find the research they needed.)
  • Share links to specific sites to parents (embed that webmix on your webpage)
  • Share a private webmix to professional peers when collaborating on projects
    • You can add a link directly to a Google Doc
What Else Does Symbaloo Have to Offer?

Symbaloo Lesson Plans!  It makes learning “feel” like a game!  

If you’d like to see lesson plans created by other educators, check out Symbaloo’s Lesson Plan of the Week.

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