This is a guest post from Vance Kite, a science teacher at City of Medicine Academy in Durham, North Carolina. If you are interested in contributing to the Edmodo Blog, please complete this form.
In the summer of 2011, I was sitting in a professional development institute in preparation for starting a new position. At the beginning of the session, the facilitator asked us to create an account on Edmodo and to join a group for the session. I won’t say that the clouds suddenly parted and trumpets began, but it would also be a gross understatement to say that Edmodo changed the way I run a classroom.
Edmodo quickly became the central hub for everything in my classroom. For many teachers, a classroom blog is the central point of contact or announcement for important information, but blogs don’t provide anything by way of classroom management. By switching to Edmodo, I was able to shift the focus of my blog away from classroom management and towards the work of the students. Through this post, I hope to communicate some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Here are my top 10 tips for getting started with Edmodo:
10. Everyone (even high schoolers) loves recognition. Create and distribute badges to increase student motivation.
9. What’s the point of teaching if you don’t know what your students know and how they feel? Edmodo quizzes break student performance down by question, and the gradebook helps you track the progress of your class (academically and emotionally).
8. Differentiation is one of the most powerful, and difficult, endeavors in education. Edmodo makes it a bit easier by allowing for the creation of small groups who can receive unique pieces of information.
7. Starting a big project? Upcoming review session? Need students to have access to a big set of resources? Use folders to distribute multiple resources at once. Students will be able to access the files easily in the future.
6. Want parents to know what is going on in class? Distribute individual parent codes. Parents will be able to see how students are doing in class and what they have coming up. Extra information now prevents confusion and conflict later.
5. Flipping your classroom? Edmodo is the perfect tool for students to view lessons, post questions, and complete assignments without having to switch platforms.
4. Early on, commit to posting all assignments and resources to Edmodo. The consistency will help students to develop the habit of checking Edmodo first rather than bombarding you with questions.
3. Formative assessment, classroom democracy, opinion polls, whatever! Commit to using the poll feature regularly to figure out what your students are thinking.
2. Get them in on day one. Plan an activity, like a scavenger hunt, that requires students to use multiple Edmodo features.
1. Jump in headfirst! Don’t worry about being an Edmodo expert before getting your students hooked up with it. If you dabble around the edges, full adoption will never happen. Figure out the basics (creating groups, giving assignments, grading assignments, posting), then let them know that you are all in it together.
Edmodo was created to relieve the amount of administrative stress placed on a teacher, while helping the teacher to run more engaging classroom sessions. As you step into your new role as an Edmodo teacher, ask yourself how you can leverage the technology so that it benefits both you and your students.