Sunday, October 9, 2011

Goodbye Delicious - Hello Symbaloo!

With the change over of delicious and all the problems that have gone alongside it, it has seen me seek out new ways to share and display learning links for my students.  With the change over the kids were quick to point out that tags were missing and it was hard to find links that they knew where to find previously.

So this sent me on hours (yes, hours) long search to find something that would allow me to create several pages but also allow the students to have visuals of the links they are wanting to use.  I really wanted to switch to a more visual form of bookmarking rather than word tags after myself enjoying Pinterest - a visual bookmarking tool due to the ease of use and visual way of organising links.

I had a play around with the delicious stacks - which at first seemed very promising.  Apart from when I kept getting 500 gateway errors from them.  When stacks did work it would only allow me to stack together my first page of links but not access the other pages.  Fiddly and unfun. So, I gave up.  I moved on to trialling websites like favoritus, portaportal, sitemarks and more - all visual bookmarking sites that looked extremely good.  All of them had the same problem for me.  The lack in ability to be able to create a standalone web page that had seperate pages for my links. Painful.

Then I remembered a site that I had previously played with and put into my 'could be helpful' pile of links. Symbaloo.  It's a simple idea - you create webmixes or pages of links.  Each link is a little coloured icon that you can arrange across your webmix.  The webmix can be shared via email, kept private, shared with the world or embedded into webpages.  So this is the angle I have taken.  I am creating seperate pages for each subject and colour coding links with visuals also.  The students used it in the last 2 days of term and the votes were pretty clear - all but 4 students loved the new Symbaloo system because of the colours, images and how easy it was to find links.  The 4 students who didn't like it said that it was because they were used to delicious.  Though 1 student did say he might like Symbaloo more once 'he got used to it' - awesome!

The image from above is from my Daily 5 wiki for the students.  This is one area I have created Symbaloo link pages and it has now become the portal that they will use for links.  They can either go straight to the page or jump to it via the class blog.  You can view the website here.

The colour coding system is quite handy also.  I have a student who is new to my class from overseas and has minimal english.  The links in orange are specifically set up for her - the students were great at showing her that they were for her and the second time on the computer she seemed to understand that this was a great area for her to start.

The other thing about Symbaloo that was a bonus is that the interface works on iPads and iPod touches.  One of my students became a fantastic tester and tried it out.  Unfortunately only 2 of the above links would run on an iPod - this has meant that I've created other Symbaloo's that will contain mobile device friendly links!

The biggest drawback is the time that this takes compared to setting up links in delicious - with the delicious bookmarking paglets it is extremely easy to link and tag websites.  While Symbaloo isn't as easy to tag websites at the moment the visual elements and arrangements for the students makes it far outweigh the time it takes me to add links in!


Room12 said...

Hi have you looked at www.sqworl you set up a free account and then create separate pages where you add links. I have a separate page for online stories, spelling, maths. These are then linked to my class blog.


Pam Thompson said...

Thank you for reminding me of Symbaloo. I had a look at it a while ago but had forgotten to go back and try it out properly. Lucklily my class also had a diigo account so the changes in delicious haven't had such a big effect, but I think they may like this visual bookmarking. For dingle topics I've also used sqworl which has a bookmarklet making bookmarking quick and easy.

Miss Signal said...

I have had a look at sqworl but I wanted 1 page where I could have seperate pages for groups and learning areas from the 1 link. I have since found out another location in the Only2Clicks settings where you can make your pages public so I am going to have a go with that for a class link site. Nice and simple to use. I love the bookmarklet as it makes it so simple! Hopefully Delicious makes a bit of a come back!

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