This week, I have the opportunity to present to our district administrative team along with a few other consultants and administrators within my school district. We’ve been asked to share highlights with our administrative group from our experiences attending the ‘Assessing Student Knowledge’ conference that we attended last fall in British Columbia, Canada. Seven of us made the trip out to Kamloops, BC to absorb ideas and information from many inspirational and influential speakers, including Ruth Sutton, Bruce Wellman, Sandi Kitts and Doug Willms.
Many of the ideas that were shared by these speakers were bang on – we really need to look at balanced approaches to assessment and provide our students with more and varied opportunities to demonstrate their own learning. That’s one of the things I like so much about the growing number of teachers in my district that have adopted Edmodo into their repertoire of tools for instruction and assessment. Students have so many opportunities to express themselves, share their ideas and make their learning transparent.
While we were attending this conference in BC, we also had the opportunity to witness something that left a deep impression on all of us – the Adams River Salmon Run. Last fall, millions of sockeye salmon left the Pacific Ocean and fought their way 400 kilometers (that’s over 250 miles…) upstream to spawn in the same waters where they were born. This is an incredible journey to undertake and the sheer number of fish is quite a spectacle to behold. But the thing that amazed us the most was that ALL of the salmon that make this trek cap their journey off by dying. They’re completely spent from fighting the current for weeks, so they simply lay their eggs and then they die. Although it seems extreme, this cycle must perpetuate so that the species may continue to thrive.
If you’re still with me at this point, you’ve probably begun to ask yourself, “Where’s this crazy Canuck going with his story of salmon dying? What does this have to to with teaching and technology?” Well, it seems to me that this is exactly what’s happening with the education system.
Teachers work hard – really hard. As teachers, we’ve been forced to pick up all kinds of additional responsibilities over the years and society really looks to us to ensure that kids receive so much more than just the 3 R’s – reading, ‘riting & ‘rithmetic. If we continue to assume more and more responsibility then we’re all facing the same fate – we will burn out.
As teachers, we need to go through a process of re-birth. We can’t go on teaching the same way we’ve always taught. Rather, we must look at new ways and betters ways of effectively imparting knowledge to our students. I see this as being one of the key roles that Edmodo plays in our classrooms – providing students with meaningful opportunities to connect & collaborate with each other. This is how they demonstrate their learning.
Just as the life cycle of the sockeye salmon goes full circle, so too does this blog post. At the top of the post, I mentioned a presentation to our administrative team. Not only will we highlight our own take-aways from the conference that we attended, but we will also highlight the journey of the salmon and the process that they must endure in order to sustain their population. And as we wrap up our presentation, we’ll demonstrate the power of Edmodo as a means of breathing new life into an old system.
Several of our teachers have recorded testimonials that we’ll share to showcase the way that Edmodo is being used to teach our 21st century students the way that they learn best – by being social. It is my hope that when all of our district administrators see, first-hand, the power of Edmodo, they’ll return to their schools and talk to their teachers about the need to jump in with both feet. There’s no better time than now for them to start their journey…