Throughout July, the Edmodo blog will feature EdmodoCon 2016 speakers. For our second installment, meet teachers Wendy Dowler and Jennifer Kindred. They used Edmodo to turn a traditional project into a highly engaging activity that can be used between classes. Together with their students, they created a live feed to “Facilitate Audience Engagement during a Debate.” Be sure to register for EdmodoCon to catch Wendy and Jennifer’s presentation.
Briefly tell us about yourself. What’s your role and where do you work?
Wendy Dowler: I work at Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, California. I’ve taught 11th grade American Literature and
9th grade English for the past 16 years and this year I took on a new role as our school’s Technology Specialist. I also coached cross country and track for 11 years. I’ve been using Edmodo since it first came out in 2008 and I absolutely love it! It has reinvigorated the educational experience for me and my students and it has allowed me completely reinvent my classroom culture. I enjoy spreading the word about all that Edmodo offers.
Jennifer Kindred: I have been teaching for 26 years. For the past 13 years, I have been an English teacher and director of forensics at Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, CA. Currently, I teach 11th grade English and coach the speech and debate team.
How did you find Edmodo, and what inspired you to apply to be an EdmodoCon speaker?
WD: I found Edmodo in 2008 when it was mentioned in a master’s class a colleague was taking. She texted me about it as school as it was mentioned, I looked it up right away and had made my first classes that afternoon! When I saw it, I was thrilled because it was just what I had been searching for. I have attended EdmodoCon for the last three years and I’ve wanted to apply every year. This year, I finally did!
JK: The answer to both these questions is through my colleague and co-presenter, Wendy Dowler. She discovered Edmodo quite a while ago, and has been singing its praises ever since. One day, I asked her, “Could I use Edmodo during debate practice so that the other kids could ask questions in real time?” From that moment, I have used Edmodo in all my classes. This year, Wendy suggested that we try to be presenters. I’m glad I said yes!
Our back to school campaign will revolve thematically around explorers. What kind of explorers do you think your presentation will resonate with most and why?
WD: The Voyager. Our presentation revolves around how to use Edmodo to get the students to further develop their critical thinking and analytical skills.
JK: I feel that our presentation fits with two explorer personas. We are attracting the adventurers who may want to take the idea of using Edmodo as a live feed and allow students to interact with debaters and presenters. But the content of our project fits the voyager. We are part of an English/history integration and we found a way to cover Common Core English and history standards at the same time.
What’s the best piece of advice you have for teachers and administrators who are just getting started with edtech or blended learning tools?
WD: Relax and have fun! There’s nothing to be nervous about, students and teachers can learn together at the same time, that only helps to deepen the educational experience.
JK: You know more than you think you do.
What’s the one thing you hope your audience takes away from your EdmodoCon presentation?
WD: Edmodo offers creative resources to take our “traditional” best practices and improve them by doing them in new and different ways to further engage both students and teachers. The possibilities are endless!
JK: As the speech and debate coach, I hope that the audience appreciates the importance of teaching debate in the classroom. I also hope that they recognize that the audience can and should play an important role in all classroom presentations.