Monday, February 14, 2011

Digital toolbox

This screen shot shows my personal digital toolkit as it is today. I've used a simple and attractive tool called Symbaloo to create a one-page access to all the other web tools I use regularly. It's basically a more graphic presentation of bookmarks but the advantage is that I can sign in from any computer and immediately gain access to all the tools I need at work and home. By using this page and my Netvibes page (for RSS feeds) I have absolutely everything. This is my personal learning environment that I can change and adapt as necessary.

Interestingly one of these tiles leads to the learning management system that my university uses. The LMS has previously tried to incorporate lots of different tools under one roof but with this type of view the LMS becomes just one button on the student's panel. It's worth remembering this when designing complex university student protals; the whole concept may probably end up as just one button on the panel. The students have an awful lot of other tools and learning environments outside the university's world. The personl learning environment is here.


  1. Seems OK :), but really, as i see it, at a glance, just a "digital bookshelf" with links to the net! No more... or what did I get wrong?


  2. I know it's just a nice way to present bookmarks but it's symbolic of a change in focus. It is rather handy to arrange your own world like this.

  3. Symbloo Edu is a very useful tool to organize everything in one place and I love your comment "it's symbolic of a change in focus" because organization is one of my personal keys to success (in school or the workplace)! Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is a nice tool for adults, but it is essential for students. Adults know long lists of favorite sites that they have "mentally bookmarked." Students know Google, and that's it. But research shows that expert searchers continually return to favorite sites that they know contain authoritative and accurate information. For students to be able to do the same, they need to develop their own favorite sites. Symbaloo is an outstanding tool to help them do so.

  5. Alastair,

    Happy to see our friends Shana and Mark have already left you such positive feedback. Team Symbaloo was happy that you are sharing your experiences and hope to see more people use Symbaloo for their student portals. Please reach out to us if you ever need any assistance. Also wanted to share that we do allow for rss feeds within Symbaloo in 2 different ways that you can see here:

    Hope the video helps!

    Team Symbaloo

  6. I've created a Symbaloo for our school that I think will be an exciting addition to our learning environment! BUT I'm afraid it could be deleted by an "enterprising student". How can I prevent this?
    --Worried in Alberta

  7. Always difficult to guard against enterprising students but you can offer one common Symbaloo page with your recommended links and then they can all add their own personalized tabs. The whole idea is to let everyone personalize as much as possible so your suggested "palette" is simply your students starting point. If they change their own versions it's up to them. Best to check on Symbaloo's user forum at