Friday, January 24, 2014

Anything But a Bucket of Suck



A friend posted this picture on Facebook the other day, and I was in hysterics.  Not really because the drawing was anything profoundly funny.  Rather, because I fell in love with a new phrase.... "bucket of suck".  I'm slightly twisted. And I'm good with it.  Twisted makes life interesting and fun.

So as much as this Iowa winter is like a bad family reunion (sorry---hate those things),  terrific things are happening inside Rock Valley Community Schools.  Forget dodging the snow by flitting off to Florida....come spend a day with our kiddos and you'll find warmth like nowhere on earth.

This week, we got approval from the school board to begin the process of overhauling and adding to our technology in the elementary.  This is a long-fought dream come true.  Months of planning and discussions with grade levels of teachers went into this. Our educators are so passionate about providing worthwhile, meaningful lessons to our kids.  They've bent over backwards learning technology that, for many, was completely new to them. Out of their comfort zone?  Yep!  Dreaming up new ways to excite their kids about their learning? You bet!  Both feet in, and I couldn't be happier.

Our first graders, for example, have been working so hard on learning writing skills and developing sequence using transition words.  What used to be something that was corrected and then sent home is now being taken to the next level through our technology. Using the Scribblepress app, many classrooms, like this one, have been creating digital books that can be shared with family, friends, and even the world.  Take that, red pen!  We're going global!

Our Guided Reading groups are digging into MackinVIA in full force.  One teacher, for example, has crafted lessons that have our kids deeply examining aspects of history through the myriad educational texts and videos that are a part of this terrific resource.  Before eventually finishing with a historical fiction piece involving slavery and the Civil War, the kids are delving into non-fiction texts to truly understand the elements of that time period through a variety of lenses.  Before MackinVIA, our library (as outstanding as it is) would never have had enough print copies of these titles to make that kind of lesson a reality. Suddenly, doors have been opened to concepts never before possible.  Incredible. Simply, incredible. Not only that, but our kids can do this all via iPad.  Handheld awesomeness. Seamless melding of device and learning makes me a happy technology integrationist.

Why does this all make me so giddy?  Well, my friends, there is learning going on.  Serious learning and excitement about that learning.  I heard from a teacher I work with frequently that her kids met benchmark. Not just a fleeting statement, this teacher and I were doing the ridiculously embarrassing (but totally worth it) fist-pumping happy dance.  *insert Kool and the Gang song here*  Her kids are creating, thinking, dreaming big. This week, as one example of many, her kids created a virtual zoo using iPads and the Write About app.  Five year olds taking their own photos of their stuffed "zoo animals" and writing well-structured sentences about them using early keyboarding skills.  I can challenge some 40-somethings to a tech face-off, and I'm pretty sure these kiddos would reign victorious.

There's so much going on, my cup runneth over.  My cup of joy...., not a bucket of suck. So I end with this.  A drawing an excited first grade sweetie placed in my hand this week.  My job rocks, people.  'Til next time....

On the back, "Thank you for bringing fun to my class."



Monday, January 20, 2014

Even Siri is Messing with My Head

You know your day is not going to be normal when your personal assistant (in my case, Siri) doesn't even know your name.  I would fire her if I could, but it turns out I need her more than she needs me. Drat.
Hmm...ya think my daughter, Ella, might have been playing on my phone?? Me thinks so.

As it is, Mondays have a tendency to be hectic.  Today was no different.  However, today everything was a little weird. Schedule was weird.  iPad syncing was weird (big thanks to Steve for helping me figure out that little sweetheart). My post-lemonade computer keyboard is starting to sound crunchy (See last week's post on Choosing Your Attitude for deets on that fun day!).  My conference call didn't come when I thought because wires got crossed. Winter weather in Iowa reared its u.g.l.y. head again leaving me driving home in horrid conditions.  But, with my white-knuckle driving escapade over,  I pulled into my garage and shut off my vehicle, sliding ever so gently back into the warm leather of my seat.  I pondered.  I smiled.

In the midst of a Monday that would make the Bangles of my 80's youth stand up and sing, I realized that some awesome things were again taking shape in Rock Valley Elementary that were anything but manic. My friends, Shannon Miller, Erin Klein and I are guiding groups of our students in the starting stages of a project that has incredible possibilities for these kiddos.  We are taking our three schools and fostering some global thinking in our 2-4th graders.

The plan?  To take something the kids love (Rainbow Looms and the rubber band craze) and meld it with research and global outreach.  Just today, we hosted a Google Hangout with our new Van Meter friends and brainstormed some names for our new venture.  It had the excitement of bringing home a new puppy! Creativity and ingenuity were sparked. Interest was piqued.  Smiles spread all around.

Our next step is to complete our research.  Using kid-safe search engines and some guides located in our project research folders, students will now begin to think deeper, ask tough questions, search for answers, and collaborate.  These are the epitome of H.O.T.S (higher order thinking skills--for those of you who are acronym-challenged).

So how is this global?  Well, our hope is to send our little rubber band beauties to kids elsewhere.  As in WAY elsewhere.  Our sweet kids' eyes shined bright at the thought of sending their creations, along with handwritten letters, to kids an ocean away.


Suddenly, what was a fairly personal craft was now becoming a thing of collaboration.... Discussions about colors combinations that hold meaning. Conversations about varying lengths and styles. Cooperation between boys and girls to create a variety of "rubber-bandy" products (Yes, it's a word...I said so).  It was all so brilliant.  And this was just the beginning.  I am so, so very excited to see this unfold.










Thursday, January 16, 2014

We've Got Our Own Olympics, Man.


You wanna know something that completely sends me over the edge? People who, via bumper sticker, t-shirt, or diarrhea of the mouth, spew things like "Well, I know teachers don't get paid much, but you do get three months off" or "Those who can't do, teach."  As if teaching is a second-class job. I kinda want to punch these people in the face, but alas, I find some semblance of restraint.

We are fast approaching the 2014 Winter Games.  Granted, I am not into short track speed skating, and as much as I'd love to try it, I've never been on a luge.  I don't curl (unless you're talking hair) and I've never been in any competitive skiing.  But-let's get one thing straight.  I challenge any one of those Olympic athletes to engage a group of hormonal middle schoolers in discussions about the Renaissance, or take a boisterous group of 6 year olds and teach them to read.  Game on, Baby!

Small part of a giant list of cross-curricular lessons
Speaking of games, there are many teachers who are fine-tuning plans to build lessons around the Sochi-based Winter Olympics. What a great way to tie real-world to myriad academic lessons.  We have teachers at Rock Valley who are doing just that.  I was asked to help locate resources for them. I did locate several web-based sites for lessons and interactives I think you might enjoy, as well.

Olympic Lessons

Huge list of Olympic interactives, infographics, news resources, and more >>>

My favorite Ancient Olympic site (from the British Museum)



The British Museum site (see left) is just stellar. There are no other words for it.  Actually, all of their links are phenomenal.  I wrote about the British Museum ancient history sites in this issue of FreeTech4Teachers a while back.  In that issue, I also included access to my corresponding webquests.  Feel free to tap into that resource as well.  (Since I'm in a sharing mood and all).

So, I'm not headed for a Wheaties box, Subway endorsement, or Got Milk ad.  (Although, hey, what a great idea! Let's get teachers doing this!) However, I am headed for another day filled with helping the next generation learn the skills needed to rock the world for the better.  I've got my medal, in the form of a smiling child who "gets it".  It's all the gold I need.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I've Hit the Mother Lode of Educational Resources

I am a sucker for a new book.  There is nothing better than cracking open the binding of a new treasure right off the shelf, smashing my face in, and taking a big whiff of the fresh ink.  That is, until today. I've hit the mother lode and can rival any gold rush prospector with my enthusiasm for my find.  I'm staking my claim.

Making technology and information easily accessible to each student in the district is a priority for us. Our administrators and school board members truly have the best interests of our kids at heart and work diligently to be sure every child has an even playing field with regards to the access they get to technology.  I couldn't be prouder to be where I am.  We have teachers who never shy away from a challenge, a chance to improve student learning, or an opportunity to make our school a better place. We put money and effort where they need to be to get the job done.  The same can be said for our Northwest Area Education Agency.

They are second to none.

Last year, we were notified that our NWAEA purchased ebooks and access to a variety of other educational resources through a company known as Mackin.  Their web-based and app-based program, MackinVIA, puts these items easily in the hands of any student in a personal e-backpack.  With the addition of more and more devices, having a Mackin account for each student was becoming a reality and something we wanted to act on....fast.

Since our winter break, our school librarian, IT guy, and I have been diligently working to get each student in our K-12 building a MackinVIA account, so they could begin utilizing these resources. Today I began showcasing these tools with our students.  Kids can now view books right in their browser or a host of compatible handheld devices using the free apps available in their respective app stores. In addition, kids can complete an "Advanced Search" to locate books by Accelerated Reader level, Guided Reading level, or several other searchable methods.


We have also enabled the option for kids to take AR Quizzes straight from the "more" menu found within each Accelerated Reader book!  Also within this menu is a list of topics and the genre of the book, the language the story is written in, as well as a short summary of the story.  By clicking on the "open now" button (red button in photo to the right) kids can begin reading immediately.  No waiting in lines at the library, no lugging around heavy or bulky books.  It's right there.  Right now.


View of a book open in a browser window. 


There are other highly intriguing aspects of our MackinVIA access that have me soaring in excitement!  Not only do our students each have access to nearly 1,000 titles at any time, but they can access the "Database" menu that includes items from the AEA Digital Library, the Associated Press, BookFLIX, and Britannica, to name a few.






Videos, journals, free sound bytes, creative commons images and more are one click away. Wanna talk about amazing?!?

I'm like the giddy 9-year-old version of myself anxiously ripping open the wrapping paper surrounding my first Cabbage Patch doll. The energy is palpable.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

So What if My Avatar Looks Ten Years Younger and Twenty Pounds Lighter...

Last year, in conjunction with our 1:1 initiative, we added a course called Web 2.0-3.0.  With every student having a Macbook Air, it was the perfect time to teach kids more about the vast tools that could be used in and out of school for a wide range of purposes.  This has really become a fantastic place for kids to try out new sites and discover a variety of applications for them.

Today, for example, we worked on setting up their class Wikis.  We use the newer Wikispaces Classroom and love what it offers students.  The tasks today involved setting up individual pages for each of their 14 required categories.  Categories included audio tools, screencasting tools, and drawing tools, just to name a few. Kids have the opportunity to try out sites in each of these categories and select samples of their work to embed or link on the corresponding pages.





One of the first things we did today on our Wiki homepage was add a Voki.  This is a fun tool that creates an avatar that can speak.  While they don't have too much educational value on their own, they do serve as a unique way to personalize the first page of the Wiki, and more importantly, they allow me to teach kids the art of embedding HTML into a website using the widget option (see steps below).













This skill will serve them well as they encounter more and more options for writing or embedding code on a host of sites.  (Not to mention all the righteous accents to play around with!)  There are many ways to personalize your Voki. Make it look like a famous person (some of those are part of a paid account), some mohawk-donning rebel, or a skinnier, cuter version of yourself (guilty, as charged).  Whatever you choose, just know that this simple task is actually the gateway drug to future embedding awesomeness.  Plus, it's just plain fun.  Play around...it's a guaranteed addiction.




Monday, January 13, 2014

Choose Your Attitude

Choose your attitude.  It's something I've heard time and again, but rarely have I needed that reminder more than today. It started with a body that did not want to get up.  I creaked and moaned my way into a tepid shower, trying to shock my body into changing its mind about the need for more sleep.  I then dealt with my dear seven year old daughter and her headstrong dressing habits.  All before 7:00 am.

Being extremely type-A and a creature of habit, things that get in the way of my laid out plan really hose me.  I mean really hose me.  Laid back is not a descriptor of my personality.  Period.  I have no control over it and stopped trying long ago.

What I do have control over is my ability to choose my attitude.  Yep, I may get completely internally irate over things for which I have no control, but it is within those moments that I see a fork in the road. I can either let it consume me and lash out with an Exorcist-like rage or take a deep breath, really assess the gravity of what happened and deal.  I choose the latter.

What on earth does this have to do with tech integration?  Tell me you haven't planned an entire lesson around a webpage's activity or relied on a computer that suddenly won't turn on.  The one thing that everyone in technology knows....it can and will be dysfunctional at some point.  Usually at the least opportune moments (for example, during an observation... That's a fun one!)  Tell me you haven't felt like this cartoon at least once already this year... (for those of you who say you haven't, you either have a tech guy that is a god, or you are an out and out liar).

credit to Jerry Fahrni for his brilliant depiction of my day

So, when you run across those various moments in your day, choose your attitude.  Find the joy. Today's joy was in sharing the brilliance of code with two classes of high school sophomores.  Back in December, our school took part in the Hour of Code activities sponsored by Code.org and Khan Academy.  We had completely incredible code-writing happening in second grade all the way up through 12th.

Sammy working on MIT's Scratch program
 I put together two Padlet walls containing activities and videos to showcase the process to the group. I found happiness in the fact that this teacher could have said 'forget it' when time got away from him before Christmas break, but instead chose to reschedule for this week.  


How cool is it to provide a meaningful activity for the benefit of the kids when it might have been easier to skip it??!  Have you met sophomores?  By rights, there are two types. Obnoxious or comatose.  Not ours! Today, I saw kids completely engaged!  Whether furiously working to make their coded shapes within the Khan Academy activity or make the Angry Bird reach the pig in the Code.org activity, these kids were alive with deep thinking like I have never seen them before. That, my friends, is SUCCESS.  Here are the two Padlet links I have created for our elementary and ms/hs, if you're interested in supporting your own budding coders.

Dalton and Levi working diligently on Code.org



So, despite the fact that I had a 6 minute lunch break, had lemonade accidentally spilled all over me and my computer by a coworker, and didn't get out of the school door until nearly 5 again, it is a good day.  Even though my daughter once again gave me a run for my money as a master public tantrum thrower, it was a good day. Even as my dog barfed up whatever funk he just ate, it is a good day (I can't make this stuff up).  It was a blessed day, in fact.  Why? Because I chose to make it that way.

Join me in "choosing your attitude". We, and our students, will be the better for it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

It's Great Being Me

I am not one who likes to be bored.  I almost never read a book twice.  I don't eat leftovers (long story). I do not "sit" well in meetings.  No, I do not have adult ADHD.  What I do have is a desire to seek more.  So, when I was asked to make the leap from middle school teacher to K-12 technology integrationist, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to work in the tech field for which I have huge passion, while still allowing me to instill my love of learning with the students of my school district. It's a dream job for me.

Today, for example, I was all over the place. An ideal perk of our district is that we are in one, beautiful K-12 building.  For a person like me, this means it's incredibly simple to foster collaboration amongst teachers and students and across grade levels. It also affords me the opportunity to get the most out of my day with virtually no travel time between bookings.  (Except, of course, my 'three minutes to pee'). Here are just a few highlights of my very busy day!

I had the pleasure of working with the nicest bunch of 4th and 5th grade gifted readers in our elementary again today, making final changes to their Prezi booktalks.  If you don't currently use Prezi, you should.  As with any presentation program, it can be easily overused, but with the right use, think of it as a PowerPoint or Keynote on steroids.  It allows for exceptional creativity in a venue that's just a step above that traditional presentation software.  What's better is the ability to tap into your Prezi from any internet device, including i-devices (free in the App Store).

After that, I quickly buzzed into kindergarten to work on letter sound review with another of our terrific teachers.  One of my favorites for this is Sound Sorting: Beginning Sounds.  Not only can you have kids select certain sounds to match your letter of the week, etc... but you can challenge kids to make their own choices for sounds to work on.




The app is a mere $.99 and is visually appealing, has sound effects that don't make you want to tear your hair out, and contains audio support for picture identification.  I highly recommend it for students who are learning letter sounds and matching objects by beginning letters.




Three class periods of my day today were spent with freshmen and their physical science teacher, a good friend and fellow blogger (check out her new blog here).  Joy and I worked over break to develop some powerful lessons for her kids.  We want them thinking deeper, examining their own learning, and taking more ownership for their academic and personal goals.  With a post from an Edutopia article as a springboard, we decided to have kids create an e-book about their goals, learning styles, and plans for making academic gains.  We found an online resource that provided questionnaires for the above components.  Joy, then, made a fantastic rubric for each to follow and placed them on her class Moodle page.  The best venue for this e-book, we felt, was Flipsnack.  If you haven't scoped out this resource, please do.  I have used it (FREE) for years, and I truly love the interactive features that make it about as close to a tangible book than almost anything I've used.  It's shareable, embeddable, and something you can access and edit any time (from an internet capable device).


The kids seemed genuinely intrigued by such an endeavor, and got busy right away taking their "selfies" for their cover.  While "work" for most kids is something they dread, and they have a tendency to whine when being made to think, we heard a lot of talk and many giggles as they began answering their survey questions and pondering how they might actually learn.  Some even came the realization that they don't, in fact, learn by osmosis by shoving the science book under their pillow... (who knew??)

So, it's Friday night. I'm kicking my feet up and preparing to dig into a plate full of saucy ribs that have been slowly roasting to perfection all day.  My kids aren't pounding on each other, my dog is lazily snoring on his pillow, I am sipping on a killer glass of Moscato, and I'm again reminded that it's great being me...






Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sometimes You Need to be a Drill Sergeant

If you're a regular on Twitter, you see that there are big pushes for project-based learning, standards-based grading, flip teaching, and many other education trends.  I am a fanatic about making the learning real for the kids.  That being said...there is a place for drill and practice.  I am a drill sergeant.

Now before you tar and feather me,  let me explain.  I am not a believer in teaching kids through incessant worksheets, mundane tasks or other activities where the biggest interaction from the kids is the blinking of their eyes as they fight to stay awake.  No way!  Quite the opposite, in fact. HOWEVER, I am seeing a trend that I don't like.  I am seeing a new generation of kids everywhere who can't spell, can't do basic math facts, and can't write using proper grammar. It kills me, and I won't let it happen at my school!  Hence, the following photo a friend sent to me, which happens to make my eyes bleed.

Tongs, people.  Tongs.


There are a few of these "Drill Sergeant" apps that I have used time and again with great success.  In an app store with so many choices, it is often difficult to weed out the good from the plethora of not-so-good.  I'm going to pass along a few of my favorites to you.

The first is one I have used fairly extensively.  It is a spelling test app that really is terrific.  As a parent, I have really appreciated the ability of this app to record sentences so my kiddos can hear the word in context and know which word to spell.  It also provides ownership to the students when they make their own recordings for test preparation.  There is a free version, but for $.99, you can create unlimited tests.  Golden, in my book.  As a teacher and tech integrationist, I love the immediate, individualized feedback each students gets while testing.  No more waiting for a pile of papers to be corrected.  By then, the learning opportunity is lost.






Next on my list is a fun app we ROCKED in first grade today.  The kids have been working hard learning place value with their base-ten blocks.  While nothing quite takes the place of the tactile nature of counting out real blocks, this app comes a close second and was the basis of a lot of 6 and 7 year old excitement today. Even the classroom teacher and I had a few "WOO HOO" moments watching those eyes light up in understanding! (Plus, who doesn't like cookies?)




Harder level place value skills
Cookie Factory is $1.99 and worth every single glorious cent.  It is completely customizable by level, function, and timing.  I worked with first graders on learning the basics of place value (see image below).  Even the "minion-esque" little cookie factory worker gently reminds you when your order isn't quite filled correctly or in time.  Kids learn very quickly that it is much more efficient and successful to fill a cookie order of 99 cookies with 9 groups of 10, as opposed to clicking the individual cookies 99 times.  This is part of the game that ups the ante on plain old base-ten blocks.
Basic place value skills can be learned with ease



My soul was glowing today after watching several children go from "adequate" with their place value skills to WOW in the 30 minutes we worked with this app.  Why?  Practice, practice, practice.  No two ways about it!





The last app I want to showcase is the McGraw Hill Grammar Wonderland app.  I am a huge stickler for proper grammar.  Grammar usage is largely learned in the home from the patterns of parental speaking.  Parts of speech are learned, formally, in school.  The two need to meld correctly in order to build first-class writers and speakers. Writing is my passion.  So, even with the littlest of soldiers, I love to practice grammar.  The app is exceptional, cheap, and again, worth it! I've included just a few screenshots to show you the variety of what is provided on this app.



You can practice nouns, verbs, as well as adjectives on four different levels.  The games are interactive for the iPad.  It was a hoot to watch first graders holding their iPads in steering maneuvers to fly into the correct clouds (see right). Tongues (not tongs) were sticking out in deep concentration, eyes were focused, and little people were revelling in their ongoing victories. That kind of learning is priceless and it lasts.





 So, I challenge you to take the time to exercise your right to be a drill sergeant from time to time.  It has its place.  And please, in the name of all that is holy, do your part to educate these babes to know the difference between tongues and tongs.



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Create It and They Will Learn

Today was one of those days where I went to work and the next time I looked up, and it was an hour past "quittin' time". Ever have one of those?  I spent the majority of my day working with my superintendent putting the finishing touches on our grant application for the Iowa Governor's TLC plan. This has been in-the-works since August.  So, needless to say, we did some cheering and celebratory fist pumps when the last edits were made.  I wrapped up my day by helping teachers in a wide variety of content areas locate some tech tools to best help them achieve some tricky Iowa Core Standards.  I LOVE doing that!  It's a puzzle that needs solving, a cog that needs a little grease.  Love it, I tell you. L-O-V-E it.

After the flurry of activity that surrounded making my way home, I walked in the door to find this on the counter. I'm beaming.  Why?  Not because my kid has an affinity for felons.  But because my kid took a pile of mismatched Legos and CREATED!  That bullet-proof vest you see?  It's a life vest off of a shipmate from another set.  Genius!  See that red jumpsuit?  Actually an EMT outfit for an ambulance Lego set.  It is sheer creativity....pure, unadulterated creativity.


The Creating level is the highest level of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy.  Revised because of ever-changing needs and the design of 21st Century education, creating is the single biggest "deep thinker" activity one can do to learn.  Higher order thinking skills are at their peak.  While all other levels of Bloom's are gears that all intertwine, it's creating that is the beat-all, end-all of what we hope to see our students achieve.
                    
Check out Kathy Schrock's numerous resources here.
One of my favorite apps for content creation is Educreations.  You not only have the ability to start out with a blank slate with which to create lessons, but students can easily demonstrate learning through this app with the ability to add images, draw, add sound or other recordings, and share it with others. It's fantastic!  The tools are similar to a Smartboard or Promethean Board and the one touch recording is something I have used with students as young as 5 all the way up through our seniors in high school.  


Sign up and use is free!  There is an app, or you can view content right from your browser.  Your hard work and the work of others (if you so choose) can be made available in their public lesson catalog. You are able to search by content area, subject, grade level...you name it!  I've found, more than anything, that kids do a better job with their projects when they understand that they will have an audience.  Now, not just the red-pen carrying teacher.  THE WORLD!  To a kid that is, as they say, epic!

A wide-variety of lessons created by others for your use.

The possibilities are endless.
So the next time your kid molds you a massive mud pie or makes his mashed potatoes into a reenactment of an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius,  relax.  It's just creativity at work......and it's goooooood!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sweet Mother of God, I'm EXHAUSTED!

You'd think I laid around completely stationary the past 18 days with as exhausted as I am after our first day back after break.  It's a whole new level of pathetic....I've got that.  We even had the heavenly gift of a 2-hour late start, so I don't even have that excuse.  

With the sliver of time I still have tonight before going completely comatose, let me give you another great idea for your tech-rockstar toolkit.  This little sweetheart goes by the name of Symbaloo. And, boy, it's incredible!

Symbaloo offers you a visual pinboard, of sorts, for links to all of the favorite sites you want to have easy access to.  While you could use this as your version of Draggo (see previous post on that one), I have a technology integrationist's opinion on how to use this in an even more awesome way.

For our district, I am asked on a daily basis for sites that teachers need for various purposes.  I used to just send them the link.  However, the moron alert went off in my head when I got to thinking that I was relying on a wink and a prayer that this teacher actually filed the site for future use.  Instead, why not post that site for him or her to a location that is not only easy for the teacher to access, but the students as well!  Hence---Symbaloo.

When you go to Symbaloo, you'll see the "Create free account" option at the upper right.

Notice the grade level tabs across the top of the page.




The genius in this comes in the fact that I simplified what could have become a very lengthy process into something that serves everyone in one fell swoop!  I made one Symbaloo for the entire elementary.  Each grade level gets their very own tab.  




There is also a "General Webmix" default tab that includes links that all students and teachers would need (ie; our district's web page, our Google Apps link, etc...).  I provided all teachers with the username email (a generic email run through our email server set up by our IT guy) and a password.  So, not only can I add the sites teachers ask for, but they can take ownership and add anything they want as well. As you add sites, you may find that you and your colleagues want to swap your Symbaloo boards.  This is where the "Share Webmix" option at the top comes in handy. See the following snapshot of what options you'll have for sharing.


Finally, a great option is to save your Symbaloo Webmixes as your homepage.  This can be done with a simple click.  This is perfect for classroom computers, library computers, or even your own computer! And, because it's also a free app in the iOS App Store (and probably Android, but I don't go there), you can download it to all of your i-devices, log in and voila!  Your Symbaloo perfection on the go!  Best of luck! You won't be disappointed!  Now, I sleep.