Meet the Speakers of EdmodoCon: Denise Yamashita
Posted by: Lucia Giacomantonio
As we gear up for EdmodoCon 2013, we’d like to introduce you to our featured speakers. Over the next couple of weeks, profiles of our chosen educators will appear in our blog, giving you a chance to learn more about their work and how they are leveraging Edmodo in their classrooms. Register for EdmodoCon here, and stay tuned (next week) for the full EdmodcoCon schedule to see when you’ll be able to catch these talented folks live!
Denise Yamashita is a Teacher-Librarian at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Canada. She recently shared some tips for using Edmodo, her tech super power, and gave us a peek into her upcoming EdmodoCon presentation.
Denise is looking forward to EdmodoCon because she is always looking for new and fresh ways to use Edmodo. She says, “EdmodoCon allows me the opportunity to come together with other Edmodo-enthusiasts and discover exciting, innovative techniques from like-minded, passionate educators. And I can do it all from the comfort of my home. What could be better!”.
Denise participated in EdmodoCon 2012 and had this to say about the experience, “Last year, I really enjoyed the keynote which unveiled the changes to Edmodo. It was so exciting to see what they had coming up. I was also deeply impressed that a platform that is free and user-friendly was also making an effort to excel and push into more sophisticated and powerful applications. Edmodo keeps surprising and delighting me – and it remains free!”.
What problems does Edmodo help you solve as an educator?
It allows me to create a classroom without boundaries. It enables me, for instance, to meet the needs of my students in their time, not just school time. They can post questions, work, suggestions that help them feel more prepared and confident as learners. For me, it affords me the ability to understand what really works for my students. To assess their interests, I use the polls, the data download feature and small group discussion. I find that it gives me a better appreciation of all my students’ experiences, especially the introverts who are quiet in class, but come alive online.
What is your favorite feature?
Small groups! I use it all the time, and I find it has the biggest impact on my students’ achievement. It gives me the ability to organize, but also gives them the ability to collaborate and share.
What is an interesting project or unique example of how you’re using Edmodo in the classroom?
I use Edmodo to help students approach research and project work from a more modern and collaborative standpoint, giving them more choice and ownership.
How can teachers use Edmodo for professional learning?
One of the best things Edmodo does is to allow for teachers to connect with other teachers. I created a group this year for teachers who were teaching the same course. I uploaded all of my materials (e.g. calendar, notes, slideshows, links, etc.) to share with my fellow teachers, and they in turn can upload their material. We also used it to collaborate when we created new assignments. It allowed us to co-teach and co-evaluate.
What advice would you give a new Edmodo teacher?
Embrace it. It will transform your teaching and your students’ learning in so many positive ways. I was recently evaluated by my school’s administrator and I had to fill out a rather extensive form that asked for specific examples of my best teaching practices. When I had finished, there was barely a section that didn’t reference my use of Edmodo in a meaningful way. It has become an integral part of my teaching to such an extent that I can’t imagine teaching without it.
EdmodoCon Presentation Overview
As teachers prepare students to join a world of constantly changing collaborative work environments, they must learn to find ways to rethink and re-imagine research and group work assignments. We have to find ways to not only encourage greater engagement and student-responsibility, but also foster the growth of collaborative skills and digital citizenship training in our students. My EdmodoCon session will focus on using Edmodo to reimagine traditional ways we research and generate ideas. Using Edmodo as a source for accessing resources, using the small groups to promote excellent collaboration and then producing a product that can be shared with the entire group.