I believe many people think of using the Internet to collaborate with teachers in other countries around the world. I may do that someday, but there are just too few hours in the day to start that phase of my Edmodo progression. I’ve yet to leave the ‘safety’ of my school community, but even within that, I have made such amazing connections, (and ones I am proud of at that), using Edmodo with teachers throughout our county school system.
I lead a team of middle school teachers, including a language arts teacher (me) and educators who teach math, social studies, science, and special education. I have been using Edmodo for three years, but these fellow teachers have all been new to the concept. It can be daunting to try a new idea, let alone a new technology, but I am so proud of the risk-taking teachers I work with. When I told them that my goal was to have all of us post our homework and long term projects on Edmodo, I expected complaints, resistance and a resounding, “No thank you!” Instead, my idea was welcomed by everyone, and without reservations!
Our first step was to get all of our 120 students signed up for Edmodo, including those without computer access at home. I expected opposition from students and parents, but received none. Even the parents who did not have Internet or computer availability at home wanted their child to try to come in at lunch or after school to use the available resources. This cooperative spirit allowed each teacher to form groups for the kids to join, and we were good to go.
Now, all homework, and some long term projects, are posted on the Edmodo calendar. This has reduced the number of phone calls and emails from parents asking us what their child’s homework is for the day. We can scan and post worksheets, readings and other assignments. Edmodo apps help us create interesting and engaging lessons, and students can no longer make excuses about losing or forgetting assignments! We post everything from field trips to school events to student picture day. We even post if something special is being served for lunch. My teacher team has already noticed an increase in turned-in homework from previous years.
Our collaboration has resulted in some surprising and positive outcomes. The connections that our students have made with us and their peers has been phenomenal. I have learned all kinds of interesting facts that I might not have learned from some of my shy and quiet students. For example, there is an interesting fad where my students create their own poll (ala the Edmodo poll feature) asking thought-provoking questions. Here is an actual poll written by one of our students for fun:
Which would you rather do?
- Spend your whole life as a doll and live in a nice, big, dollhouse
- Become successful at your job and earn thousands of dollars
- Start life all over again
- Create your own life…make up your name, what your age is, what you look like, etc
- Spend the rest of your life working as a cook for a famous person
- Become the president
- Have a world where everybody was always happy and not a single fight was made, not a tear was shed, and not a frown was shown.
The answers students gave to each other are not only cute but also enlightening. Whether you are collaborating with someone in Australia, China, France, or your own school, Edmodo connects us all in one big global – and interesting – community. Happy Connected Educator Month!