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Symbaloo EDU and Weblist: Sharing the web with students

+ What it is: Sharing the web with students can be a challenge.  Websites can often have urls that feel unending, students can copy down a url incorrectly, students type with different speeds, or characters show up in the address that they are unfamiliar with.  Complicated urls can single-handedly convince teachers to ditch a wonderful web resource for something easier to manage…like a worksheet.  Sharing websites with your students doesn’t have to be a challenge.  Symbaloo EDU and Weblist are two of my favorite ways to quickly and easily share websites with students. Symbaloo EDU is fabulous because it was created with educators in mind.  Symbaloo lets you gather all of your favorite online tools and sites into a webmix about the topics you teach.  Symbaloo web mixes can be published and shared with colleagues, students, and parents.  Symbaloo can be used by students or teachers to create a personal learning environment. With Symbaloo folders can be created that contain sites and resources that are related.  Symbaloo can be used year-long, just continue adding sites and resources for your students throughout the year.  Everything that you have used all year-long will be in one easy place for students to access. Weblist lets you pull together and organize content on the web.  Create a list of urls centered on a theme and it is combined into one easy to navigate url.  The list can be saved as a bookmark or a homepage.  What I like about Weblist is the visual aspect.  Each website is saved as a snapshot of that website with the website name and a description below.  The visual organization is perfect for younger students who may not be able to navigate links designated by text. How to integrate Symbaloo EDU and Weblist into your curriculum: Symbaloo can be used by students to create their own “textbooks”.  As students search the web for resources based on subjects or inquiry questions, they can save what they find and create a virtual e-book of sorts.  Symbaloo can also be used by students to organize all of their online work in one place.  Students can add links to the slide shows, documents, videos, images, etc. that they create online.  Symbaloo becomes an e-portfolio.  Teachers can also use Symbaloo to create a customized “textbook” for their students complete with articles, maps, video, images, and interactive content. Weblist is great for quickly sharing a collection of sites with students.  Weblists are fast and easy to create (you don’t even have to login or register first!).  Weblists are perfect for sharing a collection of sites in a computer lab setting or with colleagues.  The visual interface of Weblist is perfect for students.  Students can easily travel from one site to another because the web page is embedded in the Weblist, the url never changes. Want to get really crazy? Combine Symbaloo and Weblist.  Create folders for your students on Symbaloo so that there is one central url to go to.  Have Symbaloo link to your various Weblists.  This combines the great organization and collaboration aspect of Symbaloo with the awesome visual interface of Weblist.  It is a powerhouse of learning for your students created by you.  Cool! Tips: Don’t forget that both Symbaloo and Weblist make for a great way to share online resources with your colleagues! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Symbaloo EDU and Weblist in your classroom!

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Inklewriter: interactive story designer

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, Government, History, Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 05-02-2013

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What it is: Inklewriter is a great digital tool that lets students (and teachers if you are so inclined) write and publish interactive stories.  Inklewriter lets students create choose-your-own-adventure type stories, story lines can come with choices and then be linked back together.  Inklewriter makes this process easier by keeping track of which story paths have been finished and which still need work.  There is no set-up required, no programming language to learn and no diagrams.  Inklewriter is free to use and easy to share with the world when it is published.  When a story is finished, it can even be converted to Kindle format!

I found the Inklewriter format to be pretty intuitive and easy to use.  I think intermediate elementary and older will have no trouble using this tool for creative and informative writing.

How to integrate Inklewriter into the classroom: Inklewriter is a great digital tool for creative writing.  Students can explore multiple plot lines and what-if scenarios in their fictional writing.  I also like the idea of using Inklewriter to ask kids to explore the “what-ifs” in history.  What if we lost/won this war/battle?  What if the other guy (or girl) had been elected president?  What if the Berlin wall hadn’t come down?   These types of stories are fantastic opportunities for students to explore their curiosities and, in the process, learn more about the event they are exploring.  After all, you have to know something about how an event actually went in order to write alternate endings.

Inklewriter would be a fun way for students to come up with alternate endings to a novel they are reading.  Our students wrote a variety of endings for The Giver.  Each student wrote a different ending that picked up from the last chapter of the book.  Inklewriter would have been a great tool to use for all of these endings to be available in one place.  Students could copy/paste the last paragraph of the actual book and then offer their alternative endings as options.

In science, students could use Inklewriter as a tool to record their hypothesis. Students can write out the objective and steps in their experiment and make a new “alternate ending” for their various hypothesis.

In math, students could create story problems where they lead others down the path to discover the correct answer.

Tips: These interactive stories are MADE for your tablet devices…if you have some in your classroom, take advantage of them!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Inklewriter in your classroom.

Comments (2)

Iv’e never seen anything like the InkleWriter! It is a very unique and interesting way to tell a story! With all of the link words and phrases, it can really keep a reader on his or her toes. It is easy enough for students to use and can help them to write better, and come up with unique story lines. Thank you for sharing this program with the world! I enjoyed reading about the InkleWriter.

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