Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.
Have you ever wished that you could set your Internet bookmarks up so that they were visual icons, instead of walls of text? Wished you could create different pages for different bookmarks so you could keep home and school stuff separate? What about wished it was easy to share all of your bookmarks with your students?
Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Symbaloo
First, the basics:
Cost: FREE or $49 per year for Symbaloo PRO for Education
Problem this tool solves: Allows users to create visual bookmarks such as they’d see on a tablet. Can be embedded into their Google homepage or shared with students.
Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool that resembles apps on a tablet screen. Many folks prefer this method of bookmarking over the traditional text-based system, and this visual system is easier to use with younger students who have yet learned to read. Teachers (or anyone!) can create themed webmixes of bookmarks and then share the webmix with others.
Once a teacher has signed up for an account (and if you’re a Google teacher, it’s easy to connect your account to Symbaloo!), it’s time to create your first webmix. Users have two options – they can create an empty webmix, or they can add an existing one from the gallery. For the sake of today’s post, we’re going to focus on creating a webmix from scratch.
When you first create an account, some default webmixes will appear. These can be deleted or customized if you would like. More often than not, you’re ready to set up your own webmix. You do this by clicking the + sign to the far right of your webmix tabs, as shown in the image below:
You’ll be asked if you’d like to create one from scratch or find one in the gallery to use. We’re going to focus on the left side, where we can create our own webmix. Give the webmix a name, and then click the green “Add” button. Now, your webmix will appear in your tabs on the page.
With our blank webmix in place, we’re ready to begin building our bookmarks! There are a couple of ways to do this.
One way is to already know the website address. Click any blank tile, and a new window will pop onto the screen. You can create the tile yourself, by providing the website address, the name on the time, and the color of the tile itself. If you want a certain image for the tile, you can also upload one at this time. Finally, click save to add the tile to the webmix. Now, you can click and drag the tile to any location on the webmix.
The second option is a little easier, especially if you know what you’re looking for. You can either click anywhere on the webmix to get the same pop-up window as before, or you can click search in the upper right corner. The search option defaults to tiles, but you can also search for other webmixes or someone’s profile.
If searching for tiles, simply type the name of the site or service. For example, typing Kahoot or Khan Academy will bring up the tile that is already created for those sites. Click on the tile from search automatically adds it to your webmix. It can then be moved anywhere on the screen.
Webmixes can be shared by clicking the “Share” button at the top of the screen. A new window pops up and asks for a webmix name, description, and keywords. Users have the option to share the webmix publicly in the gallery or privately with friends. You’ll notice that the right side of the screen is hidden. This is only until the webmix has been shared. Click the green “Share my Webmix” button. You’ll be taken back to the webmix screen, and you’ll now see that the share icon at the top of the page is also green.
Clicking the Share button again will now open a window on the left side of the screen. If you click the webmix info and sharing options, you’ll again see the same share window as before, except now the right side is no longer hidden. Retrieve a link to share with others, share to Facebook, or even embed directly into Google Classroom.
Symbaloo has many other neat tricks and features, but the above will get you started. Once you are comfortable with the tool and using it, then feel free to check out the other things Symbaloo can do, such as become your homepage, add bookmarks as you browse the web, and create learning paths!
Fluco Toolbox image created by Stephanie King (Fan) for this series. Please do not use without permission.