I am excited about the new Lesson Plan site from Symbaloo. The site is in beta, and there are a number of glitches Symbaloo is working on, but the tool is classroom ready. I have not tested every aspect of the site, so you may experience a hurdle when you use it. In this post I will cover the basics so that you can create your own lesson plan.
If you use Symbaloo already, then you sign in with your Symbaloo account. When you click the “start a plan” button you will see the following window.
You can always come back to this area to add information. The students see the description and objectives before they start the lesson plan. It is also available for other educators to view if you choose to publish your lesson plan to the gallery.
The lesson plan layout is the same as a Symbaloo webmix, but cannot be expanded. You have 32 boxes to work with.
Once you click the plus sign you will have the following window and options.
The T is the “Teacher Instructions” option. This allows you to write a message for students.
The ? is for creating a one question quiz. There are a few options available: Multiple choice (with a multiple answer option), short answer, scale, duration, date, and numeric.
The earth icon is for websites.
The play icon is for YouTube videos. You are able to search for videos right from the lesson plan.
The Wikipedia icon is for inserting a Wikipedia page. Again, you search right from the lesson plan.
The Symbaloo icon allows you to insert one of your own webmixes for students to use. This is one area that has a glitch to it, so be prepared if you want to use it.
The embed icon is used for embedding Google forms or documents. Google files work well with this option. I have tested out a few other tools, like Voki, with the the embed option and have not had great success.
The upload icon allows you to use your own images in the lesson plan. I have not tested other files, like video or gifs.
The next option is the direction wheel. The allows you to set the path for students to follow. Yes, a tile can direct students to different options. The flag in the center is the finish option.
Another hurdle to be aware of is that once you create a tile activity you can delete it, but if you have made a path and try to delete an earlier activity there will be a space in the path. You cannot move tile activities like you can with a webmix. So, you need to have your lesson plans designed in advance.
Once a lesson plan is ready it should look something like this:
The pencil icon at the top left allows you to edit information about the lesson plan (see the first picture). The arrows are undo / redo options. The Start Tracking option allows the lesson plan to be used by students, I will share more about that in a moment. The Publish icon allows you to add your lesson to the public gallery. The Play icon is the preview option. The Calendar icon allows you to see what the due date is for the lesson plan, which is set once you start tracking.
A unique pin is generated each time you start tracking. When you stop tracking you get the results of the lesson that you can save or disregard. I do not have an example of the results because I accidentally discarded them when I tested this in class. You can actually watch your students progress by clicking the “View results” button. The calendar icon allows you to set the date range for the lesson. The chat icon allows students to chat during the lesson. The lock icon allows you to set the lesson to open (unlock) or to lock it for just registered users.
The bottom row allows you to share a link that has the pin number in the URL that will take users right to the lesson, or students can enter the pin number at the home site. The URL is only active while the tracking option is on. When you stop tracking, the URL becomes inactive.
Once a student gets to the lesson plan, they will be asked to enter their name. There is no option to remove a student’s name for the teacher. Here is the student view of a lesson plan:
Once the student clicks “start” they will follow the path you have created. Symbaloo will record their answers for the questions (you can see their progress live and in the feedback option at the end of the lesson.)
This is a great tool. My students liked the ability to progress at their own pace. They liked the layout and different activities in the lesson. This is in beta, so there are issues, but Symbaloo is working on them. Even with the issues, this is ready to bring a new option to your curriculum.
I created a lesson plan that I left open all week for the students to complete. I saved the results this time and wanted to share those with you. To see saved results you click on the calendar icon in your lesson plan. There you will see the list of the saved results. When you open a result link, this is the general information you will see (on the left will be the students’ names):
When you click on a student’s name then you will see the results for each question (I removed the student’s name at the top):
From here you can click on each question to see the student’s answers. At the top right of the window will have a graduation cap icon, when you click that you can change the window to view the whole lesson plan and the time the students spent on each step.
If you have any questions or ideas share them with me in the comment section.