For an introductory Educational Technology class, I needed to differentiate a lesson using online tools. I chose to differentiate a lesson about the digestive system targeted to middle school life science students. While I really wanted to use the tool Blendspace, I had some technical difficulties. I decided to substitute Symbaloo, the social bookmarking site instead.
Symbaloo works if you want to direct your students to read certain websites, watch specific YouTube videos, and practice using certain interactive websites. There is so much free content that you can link to. I placed all my bookmarks into what is termed a webmix to share with my students. The icons that start each row are basic level information. The icons further to the right dive deeper into the material. The joy of using Symbaloo is that all students can start in the same spot and choose the resources that work for them.
I am including this assignment on the blog because through its creation, I got to curate a variety of resources for the first time. The resources I collected are varied in their reading level, terminology, and depth of information. It also empowers students to choose their resources.
The joy in creating this resource is that it is flexible in nature and easy to edit. If a link goes down, students will still be able to advance forward and complete the assessment. And new resources are easily added as I discover them. T
The challenge to this assignment is that I wasn’t able to bookmark easily rubrics for their assignment, assignment checklists, or my own graphic organizers. I ended up using blog posts to add these elements to the Symbaloo and that required an extra time commitment that is unnecessary. This is where Blendspace would save time as I could save my materials from my Google Drive to Blendspace easily.
This digestive system lesson aligns with NGSS standard MS-LS1-3: use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells. (Grades 6 – 8). Students will probably use 2-3 days to finish the lesson. Students click on the bookmarks to be directed to information about the digestive system. The checklist directs students on what to read, how many videos to watch, and how many interactive activities to do. There is a link to a rubric for the final assessment as well.