DIY with Bianca!!
At my school I am the go-to person for edmodo. That’s cool, because I love edmodo – after all, I introduced it to our school over two years ago and I’m the one who spends most of her time raving about how great using edmodo is!
Yesterday a Food Technology teacher asked me to show her how to use the library and folders features so she could upload all of her recipes to her Year 11 group. The best thing about helping people with something is that you often learn something new in the process.
The question this teacher asked makes sense for many teachers: ‘Can I use this group next year and just enroll new students?’ This is a worthy question since many teachers don’t want to use edmodo the way I use it, that is as a hub for my PBL projects, class discussions, collaborative learning etc. Some teachers prefer an ‘online course’ approach where the teacher creates a series of activities and posts that students engage with in a linear way.
I once thought that this style of ‘static’ course approach was not possible in edmodo (and really, what did I care since it’s not my style of teaching anyway?) but it pretty much can be done. However, what I mentioned to my colleague is that a teacher could have TWO groups for a class – the static ‘course’ materials group and the dynamic ‘collaborative’ group. This gives a teacher the best of both worlds. Of course, edmodo wasn’t designed to be courseware, so making it ‘static’ requires a little tweaking.
So here’s how:
- Have your program and resources handy. This will ensure that you get the sequencing of your activities right.
- Set the group to ‘read only’. To do this, click on ‘manage’ as seen in the image below:
Selecting ‘read-only’ means that students can’t add posts to edmodo or add comments to posts.
- Upload your resources in the sequence you would like them to be accessed by your students.
A few helpful hints regardless of which approach you take:
There is such a variety of interactive quizzes, games and other learning objects that can be embedded into your edmodo group. Google apps embed beautifully into edmodo – a useful tool for any course! I have found some wonderful interactive resources via the edmodo communities which can be added to your library which then makes them available for embedding in any groups whenever you like!
Assignments can be added to this course in advance as well because you can easily set the due dates for any time in the future. The fact that assignments are now saved in your edmodo library is great – we can reload assignments when we want to use them again with another class.
To keep students organized, the teacher can add ‘tags’ to the posts – this will help students make connections between each post. One great idea for this would be tagging them ‘Week 1’ etc so students know that those posts with this tag are to be accessed during Week 1 of school. Of course teachers can use tags in any way they like, it could be for ‘fractions’ or ‘spelling activities’. Tags can be shared with groups by selecting ‘manage’ and then selecting which tags you would like to share. See image below:
Another helpful feature is the calendar. I must confess that this is my most under-utilized feature of edmodo but it has so much potential that I am going to be using it much more frequently with my classes as a way to help them plan during their projects. As the teacher, you can add events to the calendar that instantly add to the students’ calendar as well. As an event approaches, students receive a notification in their ‘spotlight’. See below:
When building a ‘static’ course group, the teacher can add ‘events’ in advance to assist students in their navigation of tasks in the course. For example, a teacher can post the event ‘Complete the Quizzes and view the videos tagged for Week 1’. This really is ‘hands-free teaching’!
Finally, there’s the library folder feature. Create personalized folders and pack them full of wonderful resources – games, links, files and even complete group posts made by the teacher! You can then share your chosen folders with your chosen class. The folders appear on the group page, easily accessible by students:
Teachers can ‘share’ folders from the beginning of the course, or ‘release’ them progressively throughout the course. I just love the shared folder feature – it keeps everything so beautifully organised. Cloud computing at its best, really!
Managing the course:
“Enroll” students by giving them the course code.
Close the course simply by changing the group code and/or deleting students from the group. Because the students haven’t ‘added’ to the group (and by this I mean they haven’t posted anything or added replies because of its ‘read only status) then your group is still nice and clean, ready for the next batch of students.
The course could then be reused with some minor adjustments, e.g. re-load assessments (so easy to do!) and a quick edit to the events on the calendar. These small things are fiddly, but they’re small. Edmodo is SO user-friendly that activities such as adding resources, creating assignments and adding events to a calendar can be done literally in minutes.
I’m not sure how effective this post has been, but I hope you’ve learnt something new about using edmodo. I feel that my confident assertion that edmodo can act like courseware might have been a little premature, but then I start thinking that I’d like to make a demo just to show you how easy it truly is. The thing is, I’m kinda preparing for my first ever trip to the US (thanks Edmodo!). On my return I shall endeavour to show you it can be done. In fact, I’m just thinking of how this dual-use of edmodo can really help my senior students!
Oh, and I would just like to thank my friend Mayln Mawby for inspiring me to write this post and for her wonderful assistance in editing it for me despite it being the end of a very long teaching week!