Week 3 with Bret Gosselin!
It’s Wednesday again and I’m excited to be able to share with you all for another round this week. I am adding a new section today that I’m pretty stoked about. As I’ve said before, I am not the expert on how to use the web in the classroom-you all are. So in light of that, I have decided to highlight one outstanding Edmodo teacher each week to showcase the incredible ways they are implementing Web 2.0 tools in their classrooms. And with that, I introduce to you….
Edmodian of the Week (Thanks again Mr. Sheeler for the name): Mark Curcio
Mark is doing incredible things with his English classes using Edmodo as a platform for cross-country collaboration (say that three times fast). After initiating the idea to start a class where students could submit poetry during the month of May for other students to review, critique and praise, Mr. Curcio recieved responses from five different teachers across the U.S who will be providing close to 200 students to work together on this project. Mr. Curcio leads the class by posting the poetic focus and how such a poem is properly rendered (he began with the bio-poem, perfect for making introductions). Students then post their original work, allowing their new classmates the opportunity to respond as they see fit. I have seen many teachers begin groups like this on Edmodo (I’ve even done one myself) but I have never seen one met with such enthusiasm or sheer numbers as Mr. Curcio’s project. One of the things that is most impressive to me about this kind of approach to learning is the incredible possibilities it creates for students to meet people in a productive arena. These students would have never known each other existed had this group been left un-done, yet here they are interracting and communicating across the nation. If that isn’t a buy-in for tech use then I don’t know what is. I would explain in more detail the benefits of this experience, but as Mr. Curcio is the expert, I will let him do it. Here is what he has to say about it:
“My philosophy behind creating such a large poetry workshop on Edmodo ironically came in “collaboration” from my experiences thus far as an educator. I’ve always been an advocate and writer of poetry, but during my student teaching, my supervisor Mrs. Christine Pasinski always told me, “Poetry is the Cadillac of Expression.” Every time I look at a poem, I think of her words and truly grasp this idea that nothing beats the power of words in poetry. Secondly, I developed my love of editing by working at the Undergraduate Writing Center at Pennsylvania State University under the direction of Dr. Jon Olson. He always told me from day one a quote that I always repeat in my classes which is “collaboration is key.” Infusing these two quotes together with my third love of technology, more specifically social media and networking, this idea of a large poetry workshop featuring students from all over the nation seemed too perfect an opportunity to pass up.
Students today love social networks with the popularity of Facebook and Twitter. Let’s face it, they are more likely to remember someone’s 100 word status than a 100 word definition for the test next Monday. This is where I think Edmodo and my group comes in. They can apply their own original poems as their “statuses,” while peers their own age from around the United States can reply to them. These numerous replies multiply and will garner collaborative and creative thinking that traditional poetry circles or workshops cannot. Finally, on an experience level, it allows students to truly experience and observe the potential and educational side of social networking. They can see first-hand that it is more than just commenting on prom pictures and playing farm games; it is the future of the way we communicate, collaborate, and correspond with each other.
This group’s objective: Students will improve their poetry writing and interpreting skills by placing them in a collaborative experience with peers their own age while preparing them for the future using social networking as means to communicate.”
This is what a great, modern educator looks like. You’v done us proud Mr. Curcio!
Newbie Tip of the Week
I actually came across the idea for today’s tip just this week as I was starting a new program with my students (gliffy.com-check it out, it’s awesome) and discovered that they each needed their own account to use this site. My advice in this situation-continue as planned and don’t be scared of the big-bad registration wolf because it doesn’t have to exist if you do it well. They key? Register your students yourself! I know that when we get excited about a new program we want to use, we want to get our students excited about it as well and that often comes from setting aside a day to introduce the website, have the kids play around with it and (I have done this myself) let them register themselves. Sure, this one day is fun as the kids experiment but tomorrow when you are trying to get down to business and no one remembers their login credentials, I guarantee you will not describe the experience as ‘fun’ anymore. So save yourself the migrane and pre-register your students. It takes time upfront, but the pay off is incredible as you will never worry about a student forgetting how to login…..ever! Here’s how:
1. Get an excel sheet started- (or a legal pad, if that works better for you) and chart out each of your students making separate columns for their emails, user names and passwords.
2. Get email accounts-A lot of online programs require email addresses to register and fortunately, my district provides students with their own email accounts via Gaggle. But if that’s not the case for you, don’t worry, it is easily overcome. First, do not collect real email accounts from your students. It’s a waste of time and energy, and most importantly, you can’t see school related info if they use their own account. What you do instead is create a gmail account for yourself. Then, when you start registering students for websites, simply add your gmail user name then +[student’s name]@gmail.com (example: my account–> firstname.lastname@example.org — student add-on–> email@example.com). That’s it! Any confirmation emails sent as a result of registration will be sent to your gmail account and your students will be none the wiser. The add on to your username is not recognized by google as a valid username so there is no way that a student could use that to login to your account. See, probem solved!
3. Record all account info into the spread sheet you started for easy reference-This way, when a student inevitably cries out “I forgot how to login” you can very calmly refer to your account info and provide the necessary credentials-no sweat.
Tool Highlight of the Week
I decided that even after our loss to Glogster(edu.glogster.com) in the braketeers.com DEN March Matchup (a Real Madrid vs. Barcelona-style competition, except Glogster didn’t drop the cup) I still needed to give credit to the site as being an incredible resource to teachers. (Edmodo Editorial Note: we love glogster;) –betsy) Next to edmodo, it is my favorite site to use in class as the possible uses are seemingly limitless. Best of all, it allows teachers to create student accounts under their own username so that all student glogs are easily accessible to both the teacher and classmates. I was hesitant to talk about glogster, though, as I figured most teachers were already aware of it; but then I realized that it has the potential to be used in so many different ways and that some of its best uses is what I should highlight. So here goes:
1. As a means of presenting research-The book report/essay is a good way to practice formal writing; it is not, however, a good way to motivate students to flesh out a topic and really get behind what they are learning. If they knew they had a creative means of presenting this information, one that utilized their modern skills and allowed them the autonomy to create something truly theirs, there might be a greater buy-in and thus a positive difference in the quality of research gathered. An example:
2. As a graphic organizer- I love graphic organizers-don’t love graphic organizer worksheets. Solution? Do them in a glogster. Way more fun and interactive. Example:
This glog was created to show the problems and solutions from an article relating to money
3. As a media collection- This is a quick and easy way to post a lot of related media in one place that also happens to look very cool. Check out this Example
4. As a web-quest-This is perhaps the coolest use of the website, in my opinion. I always shrugged off the web-quest practice as I never saw anything that didn’t look dated and user-unfriendly. That is until I saw it done with glogster. Completely different effect. Check out this example:
I’ve also seen glogster used as home page and as a means to convey information for professional development. I admit I am only scratching the surface with my humble list, but you get the idea.
Today’s discussion-How do you trouble shoot Web 2.0 headaches?
Thanks everyone-hasta luego! (Tomorrow’s Cinco de Mayo)