Crowdsourcing practices are transforming the way teachers gain technology skills and prepare digital content for their classrooms. By leveraging individual contribution and tools to organize digital content, districts can reduce the cost of training and continually build digital libraries for grade level content.
Several districts we’re working with are using aggregators like Symbaloo to curate resources for use in labs and 1:1 environments. Symbaloo is a social bookmarking tool. Using Symbaloo teachers bookmark interactive websites, online news articles, videos, and assignments and share these resources in a single grid of tiles called a webmix.
In a lab environment, this means that each teacher can customize the student desktop with dozens of shortcuts to specific online resources. This increases time on task (avoiding the arduous task of directing youngsters to type in lengthy website addresses) and reduces the overhead for an I.T. department to update shortcuts.
Aggregators like Symbaloo help differentiate learning opportunities by giving teachers the ability to customize the student experience on an internet connected device. Symbaloo also greatly enhanced the professional development experience in these districts. Teachers explored public webmixes assembled by other teachers and quickly made sense of online content.
Self-paced and self-driven learning, active learning experiences, and differentiated instruction are concepts that educators strive to include in daily practice. Crowd- sourcing honors these ideals and faculty reap significant benefits as they build personal libraries of online content for their students.