As a math teacher, one of the biggest problems I face is student engagement and participation. There is no single formula for how my students learn, but thanks to Edmodo’s Small Groups and Co-Teacher features, I’ve discovered new ways to communicate with students, share resources, and encourage collaboration—within my own classroom and on a worldwide scale.
Small Groups, Big Payoff
After more than 20 years in the classroom, I’ve learned many students are hesitant to participate in front of the entire class. Edmodo helps me solve this by letting me organize students into smaller groups.
I’ve seen this most recently with our class blog. Some students don’t post when they have to share their post with the entire class. But when they’re in placed into Small Groups, they become more engaged because they only have to share their work with a few students.
Partners in Participation
When engagement increased in my own classroom, I began using Edmodo’s Co-Teacher feature to introduce students to other classrooms and cultures around the world. The Co-Teacher feature also allows me to share resources and collaborate with other teachers, and coordinate global lesson plans. Some examples:
- Predicting Population Growth (South Africa). During my sabbatical last Spring, I introduced a teacher in South Africa to Edmodo. After creating a Group and adding him as my Co-Teacher, we placed our students into Small Groups and asked them to research and collect data on world population. Together, the students created exponential models to predict future population growth and each Group prepared a short “report for the U.N.” that included data, graphs, carrying capacity estimates, and an essay on overpopulation consequences.
- Geometry in Your Community (Romania). Within each Small Group, each student took photos of geometric objects that appear throughout their community, wrote brief descriptions using proper geometrical terms, and shared the photos through Edmodo—a neat way for the students to see images of other places. Then, we used the Poll tool to have everyone vote on their favorite photos.
Estimating the Size of Earth (India). Breaking my geometry students and those from a class in India into small international groups, each Small Group was asked to estimate the size of the earth by measuring shadows in the students’ respective locations on the equinox. Once completed, my Co-Teacher and I compared results within the larger Group.
These collaborative projects demonstrated that adolescence transcends national boundaries. Students seem to really enjoy focusing on global issues and are always surprised to discover how similar they are to students around the world. My long-term goal is to set up projects with schools in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Advice to Teachers New to Edmodo
During my first year using Edmodo, I dabbled and didn’t make much progress. Edmodo is most valuable if you use it all the time. Just jump in with both feet—the site is very intuitive. Nine times out of ten, when you’re thinking, “I wish I could do X,” you’ll find out that you can.
I also really appreciate the Edmodo Support team. As a teacher, having reliable and responsive support makes a huge difference when working with technology.
Do you have a favorite Edmodo feature you can’t live without? Share it in the comments section below, or in the Edmodo Communities.
This is a guest post by Steve Weissburg, a high school mathematics teacher at Ithaca Senior High School in Ithaca, New York. Passionate about education as a means of social justice, Steve has been teaching secondary mathematics for over 20 years, and uses it as tool for understanding and communicating about our world.
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