View from the District: The BYTE Challenge

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May 16th, 2011
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Monday with Andy!

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This past week, I got to witness first-hand the impact that Edmodo has had within one of our elementary classrooms.  In the span of only a few weeks, this tool has changed the learning culture within the classroom and, indeed, throughout this school.

Last Tuesday, I spent a full day with a Grade 4/5 class that was kicking off a three day learning ‘event’ called B.Y.T.E. (Brooklands Young Technology Engineers).  Through the B.Y.T.E. Challenge, the students engage in a variety of experiential learning activities: building electronic circuits, dismantling computers to learn about their ‘guts’ and assembling/programming robots.  Each student is assigned a digital camera for the duration of the B.Y.T.E. Challenge so that they can document their learning and reflect on the experience afterwards through digital storytelling.

One aspect of the B.Y.T.E. Challenge that I particularly enjoyed was the way that Edmodo was used as another means of reflecting on the learning that was taking place within the classroom.  Periodically throughout the day, the teacher would ask the students to log into their Edmodo accounts and reply to a note or a poll that they posted relating to the activity that the students had just completed.  In addition, the students were encouraged to upload their photos to share within the Edmodo group.

I was fascinated by how well the students collaborated within this Edmodo group.  The praise that students offered each other and the positive feedback that they shared truly was inspirational.  Setting up an Edmodo group just for this event really seemed like a perfect fit as it provided the students with a means to reflect on, highlight and share their own learning.

Over the lunch hour, I spent some time talking to the classroom teacher about how she’s been using Edmodo with her students.  She relayed a story about how she was away from the classroom attending a workshop for a full day a couple of weeks ago.  The plans that she left with her substitute teacher involved the students logging into their Edmodo accounts after lunch.  The teacher had posted a couple of notes and polls within the group and the students knew exactly what to do.  Better yet, the classroom teacher was able to pop into the Edmodo group several times throughout the afternoon to reply to notes and check in with her students.  I’m fascinated by just how quickly this tool has helped to transform classroom walls into windows to the world.

The impact that Edmodo has already had in this one classroom is instantly apparent.  This teacher has found many ways to utilize the collaborative potential to connect with her students and connect her students with each other.  Better yet, this teacher is very well connected with her colleagues and she has encouraged both of the other Grade 4/5 teachers within her school to use Edmodo in similar ways.  When the three of them sit down together to plan lessons, units & assessments, Edmodo factors into all of these conversations.  I look forward to seeing many more Edmodo success stories growing out of these conversations :-)

The B.Y.T.E. Challenge is an event that will stick with these students for many, many years to come.  This event is all about encouraging the students to learn how they learn best – to learn by doing.  I firmly believe that we need to celebrate the learning that takes place within our classrooms, even if it’s just the small successes.  In fact, I even got to present on this topic a couple of days ago at the Riding The Wave of Change conference in Gimli, Manitoba in a session entitled ‘When Learning Becomes An Event’.

As we continue on with our district journey with the implementation of Edmodo, I’m convinced that I’m going to see and hear more and more success stories about the merits of using this tool to connect and collaborate.  I can’t wait to share them 😉


One response to “View from the District: The BYTE Challenge”

  1. Brady says:

    cool post 

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