Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Symbaloo...A FUN Way To Search, Bookmark, and Share Your Favorite Sites!

Ever since I learned about Symbaloo a few years ago, it has been one of my favorite websites to use and share with teachers, students and friends.  It is not only the most visual way to bookmark sites, Symbaloo is the perfect opening page for any computer.  As the Symbaloo website states, "Symbaloo is a new way to organize, share your online life and discover that of others."
Within Symbaloo, you create "Webmixes", which are pages of bookmarked sites placed into "Tiles".  You can have multiple webmixes within your Symbaloo account.  
The "tiles" are created by choosing websites that you want to include in your webmix.  You can search tiles that you would like to add and also create your own by adding the url, text and image to a tile.  
Yesterday something very exciting happened for Symbaloo!!!!  The Symbaloo app became available!  And "WOW", is it awesome!
Once you are logged into your Symbaloo account on the app, you can see all of your webmixes and click on the one that you want to view.   I even changed the background and put in a photo I took in Central Park this last spring.
I clicked on my VM Library Resources webmix.  I really like how each tile is labeled below the image as well.  This will be helpful especially to little people as they use the Symbaloo app.
I clicked on a few of the tiles and the websites popped up quickly within Symbaloo.
It is also very easy to add and search for tiles from the app.
I wanted to add Mackin VIA to my library resources webmix.  I typed in "Mackin VIA" within the search box at the top of the screen.
It gave me several tiles that I could choose from, including Mackin VIA and the homepage for Mackin as well.
Once I added the Mackin VIA tile to my webmix, I was able to go right to the website.  This will be another way that students, teachers and parents can view our eBook collection within Van Meter's Mackin VIA.
This morning, my son Hagan and I set up a new webmix called Hagan's Favorite Sites.  After I showed Hagan how to click on a new tile and search for the website that he wanted to add, he was able to do it all by himself.
I did have to help him with a few that needed to be created, like this tile for Hagan's Diigo List.  We got the url for his Diigo List and then found a photograph he wanted to use.
When Hagan had several of his favorite websites in his webmix, he tried a few out.  He checked out Sports Illustrated Kids and even read one of his favorite eBooks from his Backpack within Mackin VIA called Can An Old Dog Learn New Tricks? 
He was excited when I showed him the app on my iPhone too and added a few more tiles there as well.  

After I showed it to him on my iPhone, he ran upstairs and got his iTouch to add the Symbaloo app for our road trip this afternoon to Aunt Heather's house. Now he will have all of his favorite websites with him all the time.  
It is so nice how Symbaloo provides the html code for each webmix so they can be embedded into blogs, websites, wikis, and more.  The webmix embedded above is Hagan's and the tiles can be clicked on even in this post.  
It is also fun how you can share your webmixes through Facebook and Twitter.  I will be sharing lots of different webmixes on the Van Meter Library Voice Facebook page.

It is the start of summer and just the right time to try out something new!

So checkout the Symbaloo app and website!  One more great way to search, organize and share the web!  

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