As we gear up for EdmodoCon 2013, we’d like to introduce you to our featured speakers. Over the next couple of weeks, profiles of our chosen educators will appear in our blog, giving you a chance to learn more about their work and how they are leveraging Edmodo in their classrooms. Register for EdmodoCon here, and check out the full EdmodoCon schedule to see when you’ll be able to catch these talented folks live!
Pernille Ripp is a fifth grade teacher at West Middleton Elementary School in Wisconsin and founder of the Global Read Aloud project. Pernille is looking forward to her appearance at EdmodoCon because, according to her, “I get to share the Global Read Aloud with the world and how to use Edmodo to create global collaboration with students. I also get to see the inner runnings of Edmodo and find out how we can use these tools even better as part of our global book club!”
Check out our interview with her to learn more about her work!
What problems does Edmodo help you solve as an educator?
It helps me set up ways for teachers to communicate and connect in an easy manner, as well as then connecting their classrooms in a safe environment. Because the Global Read Aloud is about connecting, it is vital that I can use a tool where teachers feel their students are safe and able to connect in a thoughtful manner. Edmodo provides that environment and also allows us to customize the groupings we participate in so that teachers have control over with whom they will connect and how many people will be a part of that group. Students who may feel awkward sharing their intimate thoughts about a book seem to feel safe in their Edmodo environment, and we often see more quiet students take the lead in posting book discussion questions and polls.
What is your favorite feature?
The ease of it all! Global Read Aloud caters to a lot of people who have not used some of the tech tools before, Edmodo is an incredibly easy thing to have them use and feel comfortable with quickly. Plus since it is closed, they do not feel they are putting themselves out there too much and are vulnerable.
What is an interesting project or unique example of how you’re using Edmodo in the classroom?
The Global Read Aloud is my main purpose for being a user of Edmodo. It was natural add-on the first year, 2010, and has since been adapted and grown to really suit the whole project well. While the first year it was merely used as one huge student group, in later years, it has morphed into behind the scenes groups where teachers share ideas, plan together, and also find their initial connections. Now teachers create their own student groups and they link classes this way. It has become quite a life force for the Global Read Aloud because the whole purpose of the project is to connect and share thoughts about the shared book. Even teachers who are not comfortable with technology are often already on Facebook so when I introduce Edmodo to them, it makes sense. Once they see the level of security encompassed in the site as well, they feel instantly comfortable with letting even their youngest students participate. We therefore had about 30,000 students and 800 facilitators all connected in many groups last year. The project was created in 2010 with a simple goal in mind; one book to connect the world. Now with three years under our belt and more than 30,000 connections made, we realize we are on to something larger than us, so we look forward to continuing the global connections.
The premise is simple. We pick a book to read aloud to our students during a set 6-week period and, during that time, we try to make as many global connections as possible. Each teacher decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like to be. Some people choose to connect with just one class, while others go for as many as possible. In the past we have used Twitter, Skype, Edmodo, our wiki, email, regular mail, Kidblogs, and any other tools we can think of to make these connections. Teachers get a community of other educators to do a global project with, hopefully inspiring them to continue these connections through the year.
How can teachers use Edmodo for professional learning?
Just like I use Twitter, they can use it to connect with communities, to find people to collaborate with, and they can connect their students as well.
What advice would you give a new Edmodo teacher?
Connect with people and ask a lot of questions in the groups you have joined!