Bookmarking is probably the one of the most useful methods for gathering and storing a huge range of information. Of course the key is the ease of retrieving that content when needed. More importantly in a classroom, you know your bookmarks have been vetted – a starting point for research and deep questions. I’ve been playing with multiple platforms to bookmark content. My criteria?
- freely accessible anytime, anywhere (online);
- organized so I’m not digging around a treasure box each time (unlike my desk);
- easily understood by my target audience (eg. students, teachers…).
Symbaloo – Education sits on a visual platform. The visual nature of the ‘webmixes’ lends itself to an inclusive environment for all students. It presents a grid of tiles that the student or teacher clicks to launch the weblinks. It can also support RSS feeds (including class blogs – taking the tool into a whole new realm). Organization is through colour coded widget tiles, as well as using physical location on the board. Each ‘webmix’ theme is further grouped by tabs (like tabs that separate subjects in a binder). Webmixes can be shared online or email and made public/private. If you haven’t seen it, watch this video.
Here is one of my public symbaloo webmixes on tools I think are great (http://edu.symbaloo.com/mix/connect-think).
I have another one called Brain Stretches – focuses on educational activities for the classroom. Everything from arts – draw, paint, music creation, movies, science, word art, socials, math, puzzles, story creation. (The bottom row contains tools for interactive projectors.)
Even though Symbaloo takes a bit of time to set up, I think there’s great value in a visual display to support learners. Imagine a webmix on“animals”, “Ancient Egypt”, “math games”, “writing tools” (no more writing out the web addresses for students!). Attach the webmix link to your blog and you have a one-click-stop for your students to launch their investigations. Challenge students to come up with websites or articles that they feel is powerful learning to add to the webmix. I can see great conversations on the evaluation of web materials. If you plan on using this tool, I would suggest signing up for an Education Symbaloo account.
What kind of collection system do you use to store your bookmarks? How do you share your weblinks with your students? Would love to hear your thoughts.