I ran into SymbalooEDU a while ago. My first impressions of this site was that it looked cool and it was a great tool but like always, at that point in time I was not ready to really take off with it and use it to its full potential. A couple of months ago I re-visited this tool and got hooked on it. I spoke about it in several conferences (#FETC and #ICE12) during my presentations and the feedback from teachers has been amazing. They are seeing how SymbalooEDU has so much potential not only as a classroom tool for students to use but also as a PLE (Personal Learning Environment).
Here are 4 great ways that you can use SymbalooEDU in your learning/teaching environment.
#1 Use SymbalooEDU as a PLE. This is a place where you can not only create your own SymbalooEDU walls but also use it as a learning environment where you can do some research on other specific tools and learn what other SymbalooEDU users are creating. Doing searches for #edtech or web2.0 tools will allow you to see what other great educators are using within their classrooms. SymbalooEDU is not just for educational technology. You can create a SymbalooEdu on just about any topic.
#2 Use SymbalooEDU as a student tool – Allow your students to create their own SymbalooEDU. Use this time to teach Digital Citizenship and how to be responsible with what you post in the Internet but also the importance of choosing the right resources to help make you the student successful. I have seen students create their own current events SymbalooEDU, or their own research SymbalooEDU that has multiple news resources and search engines that they can refer to when they need to find specific information on a topic. I am seeing the students use SymbalooEDU as their student’s landing/home page rather than just one search engine.
#3 Use SymbalooEDU as a classroom computer lab tool – Create a SymbalooEDU with the resources that you want your students to use and go through in class and load all of the computers start page with your SymbalooEDU URL. What does this do? Well, first of all it saves so much time. When you speak to teachers and learn about their experiences in sharing a computer lab you quickly learn that it takes more time to get the students set up and on the correct site then having the students read the information and learn what they were trying to learn in the first place. SymbalooEDU has all of the URL’s preloaded with in the icons that you created allowing the students to come to the computer lab sit down, and instantly start clicking on the icons that the teacher instructs them to click on. I also love the fact that it opens up that new website in a new window. This always gives the students a reference point to go back to when they are ready to change resources rather then type a long never ending URL. SymbalooEDU can be perfect for web quest assignments!
#4 Use SymbalooEDU as an organizational teacher tool – I like to use SymbalooEDU as my Tech Tool Kit. When working on a project or speaking to a teacher which happens to be looking for a good tool that will support and help emphasize his/her lesson, I refer back to my SymbalooEDU site to see what are some of my favorite tools that I have labeled and saved. There are so many great tools out there in the web. I definitely can’t keep up with every single one, but I can start labeling and saving which ones I know would be effective with my learning and teachings styles so I save them in SymbalooEDU.
Here is a picture and link to my personal SymbalooEDU tools: