As we begin the countdown to EdmodoCon on August 6, we’re giving you a sneak peek at what you can expect by introducing you to who will be presenting. Come meet our edtech experts, plan your viewing party, and if you haven’t already, register to attend!
Creating a Diverse, College- and Career-Ready Tech Culture
Wednesday, August 6, 3:30 pm–4:15 pm PDT
Based on a three-year, multi-cultural, inter-school activity using common literary texts, James Garner and Rachel Stokes will share how Edmodo has given their advanced English classes in Greenville, SC, and Decatur, AR, a safe form of authentic publication, a chance to work with people they don’t know, and a more culturally, economically, and socially diverse academic climate to prepare students for college or a career.
When asked why they wanted to speak at EdmodoCon, James and Rachel want other teachers to know how Edmodo has made it possible for two classrooms—900 miles apart—to collaborate on lessons and projects, preparing them for their future endeavors. Additionally, although some teachers use Edmodo for short-term, distance-learning projects, most do not maintain projects for multiple years. “Maintaining this project has helped us develop more extensive materials and improve student outcomes. We’ve learned as much as we’ve taught and we’re both looking to share our ideas and incorporate new ones into our project.”
James and Rachel agree their favorite aspect of Edmodo is its diversity. Their assignments include attachments such as pictures, videos, artwork, text, graphics, apps, and/or links to other information they can store in their library and use indefinitely to improve from year to year.
Together, they’ve presented at the Advanced Placement Annual Conference, the Quality Matters National Convention, the National Association of Gifted Children Annual Convention, and the National Council of Teachers of English National Convention. Both James and Rachel have interesting professional and personal backgrounds that make them ideal mentors for college- and career-bound students.
James Garner has been teaching and coaching at Decatur High School in Decatur, Arkansas, for 14 years after teaching gigs at Lincoln Consolidated Schools, in Lincoln, Arkansas, and Alluwe High School in northeast Oklahoma. He’s been teaching AP English Literature and AP Language and Composition for 14 years and an AP Reader for the past seven years.
Before becoming a teacher, James’ former jobs include an editor for the Benton County Daily Record and Community Publishers, Inc., an editor and photographer for the Tahlequah Daily Press, a professional wedding photographer, a surveillance photographer/videographer, a part-time musician, a mechanic, a carpenter, and a cook—all of which he claims helped prepare him for the unpredictability of teaching.
James’ success continues outside the classroom, where he began the soccer program at Decatur High School, coaching both boys’ and girls’ varsity teams for seven years—and took three teams to the state tournaments!
James lives on a small ranch with his three daughters and wife, Laura.
Rachel teaches Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition at Greenville Senior High School, a large, urban school in Greenville, South Carolina, with about 1400 students. Her educational background includes an MA in English and a BA in English Education, as well as endorsements in AP Literature, AP Language, and in Gifted and Talented Education. Rachel has also served as an AP Reader for the past six years and has been requested back again this June.
As a former part-time, permanent lecturer, she taught English 101 and 102 for seven years at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, so she definitely knows about college preparation. By co-facilitating her online, distance-learning project through Edmodo, Rachel has developed materials and practices to help students in both AP classes become more technically, socially, and academically prepared for the rigors of college life and job growth.
Rachel enjoys discovering new ways to use the same Edmodo programs to increase student productivity and interest.