How I Use It
Symabloo is an easy and self explanatory bookmarking tool. I have used this tool to bookmark various educational websites, tools, & games students can access individually to compliment a lesson or support a concept or skill. When creating a Symbaloo page, I prefer to create two different ones; K-2nd and 3rd-6th. Even though I know some of the "tiles" are going to be the same on both pages, I also know that certain ones will differ based on age & grade. This aides in limiting students in clicking on websites, games, and tools that are not needed for a lesson and/or age appropriateness.
I have also shared and encouraged classroom teachers to bookmark or create a desktop icon on their classroom computers, so students may have the same ease of access. In addition, Symbaloo offers an array of different pages already created based on interest, subject area, or grade level, which in turn I have used to gather other ideas and possible educational resources/games that I could potentially use in my own teachings.
I think this a a simple and easy bookmarking tool to use. More importantly, once the initial page is setup, it is a huge time saver for students to access specific websites or online tools, therefore it allows educators to be more efficient in their lessons. Another plus is it easily enables students to access a specific educational website, online tool, or game with one click of the mouse, which saves students the stress of trying to find the website and/or type a web address. Any additions or changes done by the educator is updated immediately and students will see instantly; just don't forget to click the "update" button after the Symbaloo page has been edited.
Although it is user friendly, the initial set up for student access is not as time efficient. Creating and editing titles is easy and quick, but making the Symbaloo page available on student computers can be time consuming. Symbaloo provides the choice to set it as a homepage when opening the internet or you can create a shortcut on the desktop. Either method will require the educator to set link on each individual student computer, so students have access to the Symbaloo page. For the older students, I suggest e-mailing the page link, which in turn the students can create a shortcut, bookmark, or set as a homepage.
Overall, Symbaloo is a great organizational & bookmarking tool. In my opinion though, the tool itself does not necessarily build a deeper understanding or extend learning. On the other hand from an application use, Symbaloo does allow educators to create additional learning opportunities through the use of educational tools, games, and websites in order for deeper understanding and extending learning to occur.