View from the District: Spreading the Word

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June 6th, 2011

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More words of wisdom from Andy McKiel
As we proceed with our district implementation of Edmodo, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the BEST way to get as many teachers on board as possible.

I mentioned in one of my very first blog posts that we didn’t want to force our district teachers to use this tool, as mandating the use of social networking tools could be met with some push back from our teachers.  Instead, we’ve allowed our teachers to opt into the use of Edmodo as they express interest and begin to see a need for a tool like this to use with their students.

My initial thinking was that as word spread around our district about all of the good things that are happening within our Edmodo groups and communities, more and more teachers would be banging down my door demanding their school codes to get started.  But this hasn’t quite been the case so far.  Sure, there are more teachers requesting access on a regular basis, but the demand isn’t as strong as I had initially hoped.

Those teachers who are using Edmodo love it – as do their students!  And many of them are sharing the ways that Edmodo is being used effectively in their classrooms.  They have encouraged their colleagues to get on board and some of them have.  But I really want to see more (all?) teachers using this tool.  There are so many essential skills that are taught through the connecting and collaborating that happens within the Edmodo environment.

In this day and age, we owe it to our students to model the ethical and responsible use of technology.  As educators, we really need to take the lead in demonstrating for our students the power of getting connected to others through the use of technology.  Social networking has had a profound impact on the lives we lead today, and we owe it to our students to help them get started.

Classroom teachers don’t need to be Edmodo ‘experts’ before bringing their students on board.  As with any piece of software or hardware, our students really just need to be shown a few of the basic skills and they must have a little bit of time to explore these basic features.  Within just a few minutes, our students will have mastered the basic skills and will have discovered several of the additional features on their own.  And, once they do, they’ll share their skills amongst each other.

All our students really need is the opportunity to see, first-hand, the basic functionality within Edmodo.  Once they’re in, they can help their teachers devise ways to incorporate this platform into the teaching and learning that takes place within their classrooms.  Let’s empower our students by giving them a chance to take ownership of their learning and providing them with more opportunities to learn along with each other.

I’ve come to realize that I’m not content with simply waiting until our teachers encourage each other to get started, so I’ve been looking for other opportunities to spread the word about Edmodo.

Last week, I got together with our district’s fleet of Curriculum Coordinators and got all of them set up with Edmodo.  We created a group and shared resources with each other.  Each member of our Curriculum Coordinator team could instantly think of meaningful ways that they could promote Edmodo with the teachers in their schools and/or disciplines.

The more people that spread the word to our teachers, the more likely it is that they’ll want to take part.  And the more teachers we have in our district Edmodo community, the more our students will benefit.

Which brings me back to our students.  The longer I think about it, the more I’ve come to realize that they can be one of my biggest advocates for the use of Edmodo.  The more our students come to experience the benefits of networking with each other through Edmodo, the more they’ll encourage their teachers to provide them with access to this platform for collaboration and communication.

As our students move from classroom to classroom, teacher to teacher and year to year, we need their voices in order to convince all of our teachers that Edmodo should be a staple inside and outside their classrooms.

If you’ve overseen a district implementation of Edmodo, I’d love to hear the approach you’ve taken:
– Was participation optional or mandatory?
– How do you ‘sell’ your teachers on the benefits of using Edmodo?

Image Credit – “Maybe It Will Help

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