Edmodo has been an integrated part of my students’ school life for a number of weeks now. My class is a relatively small grade five group of 10 boys and 9 girls. We are part of a rural school in Queensland Australia with just over 230 students spanning grades 1-7. The school is wonderfully equipped with ICTs having IWBs in every teaching room and a ratio of 5:1 PCs to students.
My class would be nicely described as ‘that’ class – I’m sure you know what I mean. The general hobbies of the students outside school largely revolve around farm-life, motorbike racing, rugby league, and pig-hunting (yes, grade 5). Any use of the computer at home is generalised to gaming, surfing the web and chatting.
Edmodo has had a dramatic effect on my class – with an interface that mirrors the best Web 2.0 has to offer – it has captured the imaginations of my kids and driven them further to succeed in their work.
A case in point
A particular student of mine (that we shall call Fred) is the type of boy who survives on Coka-Cola, chips and his X-box. In grade 5 he has seen every horror film imaginable, knows far too much for his age, has no inner-monologue, is completely hyperactive but dislikes sport, plays his X-box for hours before school and long into the night, and just does not ‘get’ school – I love him – he’s great. Fred isn’t particularly naughty nor does he lack intelligence. He’s just got too much outside school to appreciate what is in school – it’s a waste of his time.
English is a particular headache for Fred as he is a decent speller and can read and write – ‘so why do I need anything else?’ This began to change a little bit last year when I started to integrate computer games into literacy but Fred had still never handed in an assignment or a single piece of homework in the 6 months I’d taught this class… until last Friday.
On Friday we started looking at alliteration and alliterative sentences/poems. In class we covered the classics ‘Sam the slippery snake slipped and slid across the slimy swamp’ and paid attention to alliteration in The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. Towards the end of the lesson I was asking the students to think of their own alliterative poems and to give them some thought over the weekend (I never set weekend homework)
The bell rang, class dismissed – teachers race each other to the staffroom for a frosty beverage – another week done.
I opened my laptop mid-drink to check some emails, read some blogs, update Twitter and while I was there – have a play with Edmodo. This is what I saw… at 3:30 on a Friday…
Now I know he didn’t quite get the point and it’s not truly alliterative but let me reiterate – Fred has NEVER handed in a piece of homework, Fred does not ‘do’ school, Fred does not get supported outside school to complete work… Fred sat next to his X-box and instead of killing bad-guys he signed onto Edmodo, wrote me 4 poems that I didn’t ask for and then spent the next hour or so chatting to his classmates online about what we had done in school that week. They left encouraging messages in reply to his post and I sat there open-mouthed at how good I knew that would make him feel… all thanks to Edmodo.