Sunday, February 23, 2014

Help Students Find Their Way

One of the biggest challenges with students navigating the web is getting them where you want them to!  I have found a fabulous tool to solve this problem!  It is Symbaloo!  This is a free web mix tool where you can quickly compile list of web links for students to access.  Here is a quick video explaining more about the site.

I have been using Symbaloo for quite a while.  Before I heard about Symbaloo, I tried several ways to help my K/1 students get to the right site.  First, I went around and added the indivdual sites to each student's favorites or bookmark bar.  (This took forever!)  Then I got a little smarter, I added a hyperlink with an image for each site I wanted students to use at various times to my class website.  It took a while to do this finding the image and manually entering the hyperlink.  However, it was easier to just add my webpage to students' favorites or bookmark bar.

Then I stumbled across Symbaloo and fell instantly in love!  Here are a few of the features I adore:

Picture Tiles:  All of the links use easily to customize tiles.  This is so helpful with non-readers, they can click to the right site by simply recognizing the image.  You can also pick the color of the tiles.  I have my reading sites one color, math sites another and so forth.  Many of the popular sites already have the image for the tile, if not you can simply upload any image.

Easy to Share:  You can easily share your web mix.  (You can also choose to keep your web mix private.)  You can even embed your web mix to you class webpage.  This feature makes it easy to access various sites at home in the same way they do at school.  You can also share your mix with other teachers on your team.  I manage the First Grade mix for our school, I know this helps the teachers on my team quite a bit.

Symbaloo Bookmarker:  In you download the Symbaloo Bookmarker for Firefox, you can quickly click and add any site you run across.  It makes it even easier to add to your mix.

Center Search Box:  You can set up a Google search box in the middle of the mix.  This makes it easy for students to search the web.  It is also easy to search for images this way.

Symbaloo App:  There is a free app you can also download on your tablet to take your Symbaloo with you!

I make technology in the classroom easier with Symbaloo, do you?  Click here to head over and sign up for your Symbaloo or SymbalooEdu web mix for FREE!

Wondering what is on my 1st Grade mix?  Check it out!  (A few of the links are school specific.)

Do you Symbaloo?  Share a link your mix in the comments below.  I can't wait to find new tiles to add to my mix.