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Evansville, IN
Thursday, December 3, 2020
EVSC ICATS
30 Day eLearning Challenge

Day 23 #30DC13: Launch Pages and URL collections

Managing web addresses or URLs with students can be a difficult process, especially when you want to share multiple websites for one project. A launch page or URL collection is one way to easily manage multiple web addresses in one place. One simple tool for sharing web addresses is Sqworl. Sqworl allows the user to easily and quickly create a visual collection of URLs from multiple sites and combine them on one page. In addition, a Sqworl creates a short URL that can be easy to enter to access multiple sites at once. Below is a screenshot of a sqworl that I created with some music theory resources. As you can see, a thumbnail of each site is available and each thumbnail becomes a link to that site.

sqworl screenshot

To create a Sqworl page, a free user account can be set up in just a matter of seconds. Adding websites to a sqworl is very simple and involves creating a group and giving it a brief description. Once the group is created, just copy and paste the address for the site and provide a short description (optional) that will be visible under the thumbnail. Here is a sqworl of all the 30 Day Challenge posts up to today: http://sqworl.com/21dip1. Notice the short URL that leads you to each of the websites listed. One other great feature is that sqworl will show you how many views of each link on the user login side.

Sqworl is also compatible with mobile devices and can be used with phones and tablets. Sqworl also offers a quick and easy way to add sites from your browser with the “Add to Sqworl” browser bookmarklet. With the bookmarklet added, you can navigate to a site, click the “Add to Sqworl” button and then complete the info to add it to your sqworl.

 

Other Options:

  • Symbaloo EDU – Symbaloo is a great full-featured resource which allows you to create start pages with links that can be shared with others. Here is a great gallery of some amazing symbaloo pages that have been made by some of our very own EVSC staff members. Symbaloo was featured as a 30 Day Challenge tool in 2011. Here is a link – (Website is no longer available) to that post.
  • Brief.ly – Brief.ly is a similar resource to Sqworl but it allows you to copy and paste multiple URLs at the same time.
  • Getwapps.com (Site discontinued in June 2017) – Getwapps.com is a similar resource to Sqworl and Brief.ly and it allows a unique way of creating pages of links and web apps that can be shared.

Your Challenge:

Consider how you might use sqworl.com or one of the other launch page tools mentioned here. Describe what you might do with one of these tools, how you have used them in the past, or share a different tool that was not listed.

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34 comments

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tracilangford December 16, 2013 at 10:35 am

I like the idea of having resources and links all in one place. My special needs students often have a hard time typing things in correctly and just getting logged in to their ipads. This would save some time for them and make it easy for them to find the correct sites. I have not heard of these sites before. I think its great to have these tools available. I like the look of symbaloo and that you can access it from anywhere and not just on your computer. Is this similar to Mentor Mob?

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kelleybland December 11, 2013 at 11:16 am

I like Sqworl, but I have to say I prefer symbaloo for my own personal use. I especially like monstermob for use with the students because I can assign them sites in a specific order so they can move through one at a time.

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Beth Bohnert (@bbohnert) December 11, 2013 at 7:26 am

I started out being a huge Sqworl fan. We even decided to post our collection of recommended websites for students on Sqworl, but this became a problem because it opened a new window every time a student clicked on a site which amounted to multiple tabs being open which was confusing for the lower grades. Maybe there is a setting I missed, but we ended up going away from Sqworl as a tool for sharing large numbers of sites with our students. Symbaloo is pretty neat, but I just can’t get the hang of it. If I only have a few sited to share with my class, I prefer to put them on Moodle for the lesson we are working on. If I have multiple websites to share, I prefer Pinterest. Most of the students are already familiar with it and I can give access to our teachers if they indicate they would like to be able to share.

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mmemmer December 9, 2013 at 10:57 am

Sqworl looks great! My students are in the middle of an Energy Project right now and I could have used this. I did use Blendspace that I learned about in this challenge. I have used LiveBinders also and find it to be a great place to keep everything. You can make a binder for each unit and then break it down into lessons.

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Brian Hartman December 7, 2013 at 11:30 am

I have used Symbaloo for several years now. It is my home page where I can launch to most of my heavy use websites. I have created a webmix for the 30-Day Challenge like the Sqworl but I have included up to Day 27. I will update with the remaining days as soon as they are posted.

http://www.symbaloo.com/shared/AAAAAs4XUNYAA41_HD8PYg==

You can make mixes for a class and then share them with the students. That way everyone gets to the same site without having to type long addresses in to the address bar. Show them how to use it also provides a great way for them to save websites during research. So many different ways to use it.

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gaylemooney December 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

I am familiar with Sqworl, but really haven’t used it. I think Symbaloo is fantastic. I use it for both math and science. I have 4 pages for science, one for each topic we cover during the year by quarters. The math is a collection of mostly fun games at this time. I post the links to MBC all the time. Students even suggest sites to add. Love Symbaloo!! The links to two of my pages are listed :
http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/mathgrade6
http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/lifescience5

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pamlindsey December 3, 2013 at 10:43 am

I checked out Sqworl and Protopage.com (mentioned by Melissa Maye). Both seem like wonderful tools for organizing all of the digital resources we’ve been exposed to in this challenge and through other PD. I really like how I can create different lists/topics on one page with Protopage, so I will probably try that one first. I’d like to set up a one-stop shop for teachers and digital resources. I also am a BIG fan of Symbaloo. Below is a link to a Symbaloo page that I created with many of the resources I gathered during Five Star’s Online and Blended Learning Course.

http://www.symbaloo.com/shared/AAAABZc2FpAAA41_zvCxCg==

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amykerney December 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

Sqworl seems to be a great website. My science students do several research projects throughout the year. I currently use our library wiki page that is set aside for research. Do the students have to create an account to use the pages I set up in Sqworl?

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Melinda Poole December 2, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I LOVE symballoo!!! I have it as my homepage on every device. I have pages organized for music games, artists, general education sites, teacher links, bills…. I rely on this to organize my bookmarks and have them categorized with everything I do. It is also nice for the kids, we just sync the devices with one account so they have the page with options as well. They know if we put those sites on there, they are appropriate for our task. I will be interested to see if I like some of the new choices better.

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Aliciabuse2013 December 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Sqworl seems to be pretty convenient. I could use it in Biology for various sites used regularly (My Big Campus, current event article sites, research sites, etc. Currently, I use My Big Campus to give new sites to students. I also have them save commonly used sites on their iPads (bookmark them or add to the home page).

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Melissa Mayer December 2, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I could NOT LIVE WITHOUT my URL organizer. I tried the Symbaloo but I got too caught up in trying to organize, type in, and color coordinate. I also had so many links that I would have had to create too many different ones to keep up with. So, instead I use Protopage.com for my technology/keyboarding classes. It is your one stop shop for all things URL and beyond. It allows you to create a variety of tabs for the various grade levels or subjects. You can then add a variety of things to each tab. I mainly have book mark links. Each grade level is set up with the topics of bookmarks being the same so Keyboarding links in every grade level are in the gray box, math is always blue, reading is always red, etc. I have the ability to move which links I want where in the list. This is helpful for my K, 1st, and 2nd graders. While there are a TON of links in one box I just tell them to use the top one or two and if they finish they can still have access to the other links we have used in the past. It is all web based so it is very easy to add or delete as needed from anywhere. The kids think it is neat to be able to get their “computers” from Technology class at home. They think that when they go to our Protopage at home that they have somehow accessed our computers at school! I have the one link to our Protopage on all devices in our school and send home the link for the parents. The parents also enjoy having all the links at their fingertips. They say the kids really enjoy coming home and playing the “games” on the computer. They also like that they are teacher approved and tested and that they don’t have to go looking for those sites. I have way more links than we will ever use in lab but as I find a new link or a teacher requests a link I can add it and it is there for their class to use or the students to use at home. I have added many from the 30 Day challenges. You can also add: a twitter feed, twitter search term, a photo / cartoon / video feed, map location, a news feed from their directory, Audio podcasts, Cartoon feeds, News feeds, Popular stories / videos, and much more. The boxes are called Widgets. I currently mainly use the bookmark widgets and then I can color them and label them how I want. I give the link a name and in the box it gives the name and a small icon. That way I can say go to the star icon, first one on the list, or the name of the actual website. Check out the Vogel Protopage and please let me know what you think or if you have other sites to add. http://www.protopage.com/vogelcardinals#Untitled/4th
Thanks to Amy Woodard for sharing this with me and to Fran Riley who used it and Amy got the idea from.

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ss4122 December 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I use Symbaloo to keep myself organized. It would be a great starting page for computer labs, libraries, etc. You can also find great Symbaloo pages that have all ready been created. If you were doing research, it woud be a great place to store all your resources.

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Tyra Harnishfeger (@tyra_8) December 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I have been using Symbaloo, but I like that Sqworl shows a thumbnail of the website (as opposed to a picture or icon). Bookmarks can become quite cumbersome to use, and I like the look of sites such as Symbaloo and Sqworl. I also like how easily a webmix or Sqworl can be shared with other teachers, classes, students, parents, etc. Teachers can easily set up a webmix or Sqworl of favorite sites that studentscan explore at home. These webmixes or Sqworls can then be shared with parents to increase the school to home collaboration.

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shanwright December 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Our district just began using SymbalooEDU to compile all the web tools we have access to. It is so easy to be able to click that link and find exactly what I need. I am beginning to compile my own Symbaloo for my students to access through My Big Campus. That way if they need to find one of the many sites we use regularly in class, they will be able to do it much more quickly. I also looked at a much more plain website called Weblist.me. I don’t think I’m going to like it, especially compared to Symbaloo, but it’s out there to be used. It allows lists to be created of websites, images, texts, documents, videos, etc. to be accessed from one URL point. For me, Symbaloo is the way to go.

I have also encouraged my students to bookmark any websites that they use regularly or put them into the Quicklinks section on My Big Campus.

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Kathy Hughes December 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I will use this in my Career/College Classes as a one stop tool for easy access to different college application websites.

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Leah Simon December 2, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I really like symbaloo. I saw a session on it at eRev and fell in love with it to collect sites for practice and more in Math. Here’s 1 of “teacher things” http://www.symbaloo.com/home/mix/13ePBccEGi and I also like that I can search for already made ones too.

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Sue Kroupa December 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I’ve not used any of the ones listed before but will definitely begin using Sqworl. Several of my classes do research projects and, since they are young, I put shortcuts to all the websites onto the computers so they don’t accidentally mistype and go to an inappropriate site. This has just made that process a whole lot easier. This challenge has provided invaluable resources that I never knew existed or had little exposure to. Thanks.

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sfeller2013 December 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Since I see all of the classes coming into the computer lab all day, it would be a great idea to use a Sqworl account for each class. I could setup all the websites that are compatible with each grade. I have learned so many new sites while doing this 30 challenge It would be so easy for the Kindergartners, 1st and 2nd graders to use, without having to type in the URL. I can’t wait to set up the sqworl account for each class.

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Heather Coy December 2, 2013 at 9:45 am

I use LiveBinders to collect and organize my URLs. Each course I teach has its own binder, and when I find a website or resource I like, I add it to the binder saving me a lot of bookmarks and allowing me to access the resources from any computer. I encourage students to use LiveBinders or Sqworl for resarched writing. So many of their sources are electronic that using a launch page can help students collect and organize their sources.

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Jeff Thornton December 2, 2013 at 10:41 am

Great idea to ask students to use one of these tools. It would definitely help them keep resources organized!

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jtcox4 December 2, 2013 at 9:45 am

I recently had a fellow educator I connected with via twitter share a Sqworl with me to use during a PD I was presenting. It was great! The Sqworl was about how educators can use twitter to build their PLN. Everything was laid out and easy to navigate.

As an eLearning Coach I can see myself creating Sqworls on different topics and sharing the links with teachers.

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Jeff Thornton December 2, 2013 at 10:42 am

Great idea for PD and teacher resources too. Thanks for sharing!

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Paul December 2, 2013 at 9:30 am

The part I see as the most helpful using sqworl is the step by step nature of it. I think that it would be greatly beneficial as a guided homework assignment in mathematics. Having all the of bookmarks in one location and allowing me to explain what to do with each bookmark is very helpful. This way they can be constructive with their time and not have to wait on me for instructions of every website.

I would use sqworl as the lesson or homewok. Each link explained on what I wanted them to do on each page. Maybe even link a game or 2 in there. Have them complete questions and even possibly take notes on the websites information.

I also like the idea of Symbaloo. Especially like msellers5678 was talking about. I could see it as the perfect thing for a class webpage or a class bookmark page. Maybe even get kids to help find the links to math sites that help them.

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Jeff Thornton December 2, 2013 at 10:38 am

Thanks for sharing!

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msellers5678 December 2, 2013 at 9:15 am

We currently use Symbaloo in several situations at schools. One of our biggest issues was too many links for elementary students in the computer lab. Therefore, we reimaged the computers and created a Symbaloo link on the desktop. One place to click where everything is made available to them in text and visual format.

http://sellerstech.weebly.com/computer-lab-activities.html

I also try to provide teachers with a collection of digital tools. I have done this through Symbaloo as well.

http://sellerstech.weebly.com/online-teacher-tools.html

Teachers are also creating lessons and activities for students to use during RTI and Tier time.

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Jeff Thornton December 2, 2013 at 10:37 am

Great idea. Definitely not fun getting little fingers to type URLs correctly – the internet is not forgiving of typos!

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John Wells December 2, 2013 at 7:57 am

I have used Symbaloo before and have had good success with it. It is super easy and graphic, two things that I look for in an application. In the classroom, this is such an easy tool to give your students a one-stop aid to find all the links they will need. And in the class, there is no time to stop and repeat how to get to a website and hope that everyone types it in correctly. This is quick and easy.

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Jeff Thornton December 2, 2013 at 8:25 am

Symbaloo is great. Just curious if you’ve made any Symbaloo pages, what have you shared via Symbaloo?

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Miranda Owen December 2, 2013 at 7:14 am

I agree with the earlier comment about using it for research projects. I am starting one after Christmas and I think it would be very beneficial for the students to have all of their resources in one place. Also, I think this would be helpful across the curriculum. The students could create different places for each subject area.

Also, I think they could create a “resources” page for helpful websites in general. For example, they could have dictionary.com is a place, the school website, etc. I think the students that have trouble typing, would find this helpful, because everything would be a click away.

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Jeff Thornton December 2, 2013 at 7:36 am

Great ideas. Thank you for sharing!

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Peter Barringer December 2, 2013 at 6:19 am

I could see using Sqworl in my etymology class. We create a wide variety of projects using vocabulary and roots (crosswords, flashcards, games, etc.) Students could have all of those resources listed on one page. I do have two alternatives, though.

1) Bookmarks bar on Google Chrome: I usually make my students save important websites to their bookmarks bar, which you can organize into folders. The sites are only one or two clicks away when you access the Internet, and you don’t have to type in any websites.

2) Weebly: Create a separate page for your project, and simply add clickable buttons or lists of URLs. You can look at my Journalism page under Writing Assignments to see what I mean; each project has its own organized page (mrbarringer.weebly.com). The main page of my site also has four clickable resources.

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Jeff Thornton December 2, 2013 at 7:33 am

Thank you for sharing some alternatives!

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aknueven (@MrCoachK15) December 2, 2013 at 5:58 am

Sqworl seems like a resourceful tool when doing research projects. Kids can have a launch pad to specific sites but I could see this being helpful by having reference sites and MLA/APA citation rule links all on a single page. I’ve seen and have used Symbaloo a little. It is a nice homepage to help organize all the bookmarks we are collecting. I just need to set aside the time to input my preexisting bookmarks into my Symbaloo page.

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Jeff Thornton December 2, 2013 at 7:32 am

Great idea, thanks for sharing!

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