Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Symbaloo

If you've read my blog posts before, you know that our district is 1:1 with a huge emphasis on technology. All students have laptops in the classroom, as well as 2 computer labs in the building and several mobile iPad carts. Here is my previous post on some ways I incorporated technology in the classroom this spring: 



Today, I'm going to dive in a little more to the world of Symbaloo. It is available on it's own, but our district uses the Symbaloo EDU platform. It's free - which rocks - but you can also upgrade to premium for a cost. Symbaloo is basically a board with all of your bookmarks on it. Our kids use this all the time, so they are very comfortable with it. Each grade has their own board, which is then divided by teacher. Our technology integrationist updates the webmixes and can quickly add, delete, or copy tiles. I like to have control of my own (since I do a lot of switching and adding), so she has my own webmixes linked to my picture. Here is a screen shot of how the boards look from our district:
Each grade has their tile (specials is the bottom right blue tile) and then the rest of the board is filled with quick resources for the students to use in class. 




Here is the Specials webmix. Our tech person has uploaded our school picture as the launch for our pages. The art teacher links tiles below, while mine are launched from clicking on my face. The students do enjoy seeing my school picture each year - ha!






And here's my landing page! As you can see, I have tiles that lead to other boards of the same nature. This helps the students know where categories are. You can attach pictures as well to your tiles. Those that are already linked up with Symbaloo have pictures available. If not, you can save and add a picture of your own to the tiles. 





Now, I'm going to go through how I create, organize, and code tiles. 

Once you've created your account, go to the top right corner and click on the black/white "plus size" - this is used to add a webmix or "category."
Choose your name for the webmix, like Composers, Orchestra, Christmas, etc. From there, it leaves you with a screen full of grey tile space. Click on a space to add your tile. 




Here, you can add the website, source, etc. that you want on the tile. Name your tile, click "show text" so that you know what the tile is and choose a color. If the site already has a picture, it will pop up - otherwise, you can save and upload your own. Click "save" and it will pop up. You can move it around wherever you'd like. 




As you create more webmixes with tiles, your top bar will start having tabs. Anytime you want to save or update, go to the top middle bar and click on the circling arrow. This will update and save your webmix on the tabs above with a lock picture. You can also share or delete with the middle bar. You can only edit if a webmix if does not have the lock on it. This way, you don't lose all of your information if you make a change. 





From there, have fun organizing, arranging, and linking. Here is my "composing" tab and it's arrangement. The tabs for my intermediate students are on the far right. The top line of tabs are for primary and the others are organized by different composing aspects. 



From there, click on the top middle's bar "greater than" picture to share your webmix. You can write it on the board, email it to all of your students, link to your teacher's page for at home music learning - the possibilities are endless! The students click on the link and are instantly taken to your Symbaloo. If they click on a picture, it will take them there immediately - no typing in, searching, going to wrong sites or stuff like that. Wonderful! The whole process doesn't take that long to set up and get going, trust me! My main webmix is called "Elementary Music." Click here to check it out:


I also use this to link to GoogleDocs. You can make the tile the link to a Google form, presentation or something else for a quick assessment. I've also linked it to Padlet and webquests for students to share their learning and ideas with each other. So many possibilities!!

There are many more features and playing around that you can do. If you have questions about Symabloo, creating webmixes or finding fun, appropriate music sites, let me know! Hope you've enjoyed my tech tip for today :)

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