Teacher Spotlight: Ann Oro, Saint Michael School
Posted by: Lucia Giacomantonio
This post is part of our Edmodo Spotlight series which highlights Edmodo teachers, schools and districts. If you are interested in being featured, please complete this form.
- Name: Ann Oro
- Grade Level & Subject Area: K-8 Computer Teacher
- School: Saint Michael School, Cranford, NJ
How did you hear about Edmodo?
I was introduced to Edmodo through Jeff O’Hara on Twitter and I signed up in March 2011. I incorrectly thought it was social media for a classroom, but it is so much more. I started hearing about more teachers finding value in Edmodo and decided to give it a trial run with the eighth grade. By the time school ended in June, I had introduced Edmodo all the way down to the third grade.
Tell us about some of the unique ways you’re using Edmodo in the classroom.
The most unique way I have used Edmodo was in a global collaborative classroom project in December 2011. Thirteen of the teachers from the United States, Australia, Ireland, and Canada became co-teachers of an Edmodo group, 2011Advent, in which students shared presentations for the Christmas season. You can view the public view of the Advent project here.
I make great use of posting assignments and having students turn in their work online. I am able to make notations in their work and send the file back to the students. The student uses the reply area of the assignment to let me know how they plan to improve the next time they work on a similar project.
We use Edmodo to practice using technology to communicate in a way that is professional. To me this means writing in full sentences with proper capitalization and punctuation. People who do not know students might judge them as careless when they use texting shorthand and poor sentences structure in school communication.
I partnered my fifth grade students with fifth graders across the country in California. They explored digital citizenship through their communication in Edmodo and other digital tools.
This year I have been demonstrating the use of the Edmodo backpack. A few students have found it easier to submit assignments to their backpack from their home computer than using email or a flash drive.
How do your student access Edmodo?
My students access Edmodo in the computer room through a web browser. A number of students have downloaded Edmodo’s iPod and iPad apps to access it on their personal devices at home. I recently learned that some students use their Kindle to access their accounts. My students are able to share their work at home with their family members. They open their account and play their audio files that are being created for a podcast, open word processing documents, or open image files.
Edmodo provides a real world method of explaining to students how to choose user names and passwords. The third grade students become familiar with keeping their password private and learn that they can share their user name with others. Through all the grades, the students practice using Edmodo in an environment where I can step in and help them with mistakes they make in an online environment before they make those mistakes in a more public way at home.
Do you think Edmodo has helped you to become a better teacher? If so, how?
Edmodo has helped me to become a better teacher in several ways. I do have access to a file server at school, so that student projects are accessible from any computer. In the past I had to copy student files to my laptop so that I could review them at home. I am now better able to review and grade work because I can open Edmodo, see who has turned in work, review the work, and give personal feedback quickly. It helps me teach my students responsibility for making sure I am aware when they have completed their project.
I am able to provide my students with information outside of core school hours. Several students have sent direct messages to me in Edmodo asking for help with accessing other web sites for a variety of schoolwork. Students seem quicker to ask for help via Edmodo than they were in previous years through email messages.
I use badges I create to give students pride in work they complete. When we finish a particularly lengthy project with many steps I post a badge. Since the students use the same account through their career at the school, they have badges they earned over the course of several years. They enjoy looking back at old badges and talking about those projects.
Do you have any other information you want to share?
Last year I covered algebra and pre-algebra class for another teacher in the school. The students were already familiar with Edmodo through computer class. I created groups for the math class. It was valuable to use Edmodo as a place to store math examples. I would post screencasts showing students how quiz and test problems should have been solved. These screencasts became study aids for the final exam at the end of the school year.
I am grateful to Edmodo for the amount of space they provide for uploading assignments. I have not had a problem to date with the number of files, the size of the files, or the file type. I recently completed a questionnaire and was given $50 to spend on Edmodo apps. I am looking forward to trying those apps within the different grade levels and finding out how they can benefit my students.
I find the company to be incredibly responsive. I suggest that other teachers make sure to take advantage of Edmodo webinars such as EdmodoCon. I look forward to continuing to explore how I can teach my students to be responsible users of technology and prepare them for the use of this type of web application in their future school and work careers.