Student PLNs: Students As Resources

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May 26th, 2011

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Thursday with Liz!


When I first introduced my students to Edmodo, I really didn’t know what would happen.  I knew that Edmodo had the potential to do great things for my class and my students, but I didn’t want it to be just another web 2.0 tool.  My goal was to motivate my students to connect through social networking while also engaging in the content.  I also wanted my students to take the lead in answering questions and to help one another to gain an interest and appreciation for what we were learning in class.  I knew that if I could get students to share and create resources, it would truly add to the value to the class PLN.

It didn’t take long for my students to begin sharing their questions such as “What is the homework tonight?”  They also had no problem asking me questions by sending me a direct note.  This was a great start, however, I needed to figure out a way to get students self motivated to share and value each other as a learning resource.  I also wanted my students to move beyond the “required” learning and start to extend their learning beyond our four walls.  When I thought about it, the motivation to want to share with others is what really what makes a PLN successful.  I just needed to find a way to get my students hooked to this idea.

I wanted to share a few ways my students used Edmodo this year to share and create resources within our PLN.  Although the resources started as simple answers to questions, as the year progressed, students posted links even created original resources such as a Glog or a website.

Below are 3 of my favorite ways students used Edmodo to share resources this year:

1. The Wow Power

To get the students talking about science, I found a few short videos that had a lot of “wow power” where they could witness cool science phenomena.  The students loved watching the videos and naturally began to ask questions about what they saw.  After only a few weeks, they began posting videos of their own in an attempt to “wow” their friends.  It was really cool to see them having conversations with one another and connect through something of interest that was not graded or required by the teacher.

2. Extending the Learning

I was doing a demonstration in class one day when a student asked if they could video tape it with their laptop camera.  A couple of students were absent that day and I thought it would be a great idea to have a video of what happened to share with those who missed it.  The student ended up sharing the video on Edmodo and even posted a summary of what I had explained in class.  It was such a great resource that I allowed student requests to record and post more lessons and demonstrations throughout the year that would aid in further understanding of content.

3. Student Tips and Tutorials

One of my favorite parts of teaching is when I learn something new from my students.  The greatest power of a student PLN is that it includes the teacher and that the learning goes both ways.  One of my favorite student resources this year was when my students created posts on technology tips and tutorials.  It really empowered my tech savvy students to become leaders with their peers and teachers.

The biggest surprise for me this year was that a lot of my students used Edmodo to share resources without being required to do so for a grade.  When I began to see students taking the initiative to share resources on their own, I knew the student PLN was a true success.

I’d love to hear about how your students have created and shared resources with their peers and teachers.

Until next time…Aloha!

4 responses to “Student PLNs: Students As Resources”

  1. Pru Thomas says:

    My experience in edmodo has been exactly as you have described.  My students have created their own PLN. Admittedly it is not for everyone, but for those who are keen they have really run with it. They are questioning and challenging one another, helping one another, bouncing ideas around and creating great enthusiasm for what they are learning at school whether it be Science or Novel Study or even Homework! It has particularly attracted the more capable students (though not exclusively) and has been an excellent opportunity for enriched learning.  I cannot imagine being without edmodo.

  2. Robert Miller says:

    Hi Liz!  Love reading your posts! 
         My students have really taken to screenwriting and movie production… What started out as just a few students and an iPod touch has turned into a hotbed of 11 year old Hollywood potentials.
         After teaching a science concept or historical event, I give my students the rubric to demonstrate that they ‘know.’  The rest is up to them as they create and produce their documentary, comedy, or drama to fit the content.  Student groups keep their final cut secret until “Premiere Day” when I create an Edmodo Group just for that week’s project (aren’t Fridays always release dates? 🙂 )  We arrange the chairs theater-style and scroll down the Group feed playing their productions.  My students respond with praises and tips and are supportive in their peers’ films.
         Students love to re-watch the movies later on their own and give further tips, suggestions, how to’s, and links in the comments.  Parents and far away relatives love to log in to the public page of the project feed to view their budding director or actor. 
          Who knows… maybe the next Scorsese years from now may reference his/her directorial debut was first on the then-young webtool, Edmodo.

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