Road to Edmodocon 2016: Meet Speaker Stephanie Ward
Posted by: Meredith May
Throughout July, the Edmodo blog will feature EdmodoCon 2016 speakers. For our third installment, meet teacher Stephanie Ward. Stephanie used Edmodo to create a scalable project based learning model. With learning styles and increased academic rigor in mind, she developed project based approaches that assist with redesigning the role of the teacher. Be sure to register for EdmodoCon to catch Stephanie’s presentation.
Briefly tell us about yourself. What’s your role and where do you work?
I am a secondary English and Drama teacher and have been teaching since 2008 in Sydney and spent a year teaching in the
United Kingdom. I have spent the majority of my teaching time in a middle school which is part of Sydney Secondary College, a
school made up of two junior campuses and a Senior Campus. This year I moved to the senior Campus (Blackwattle Bay) where I am teaching HSC English for the first time. For the last two and half years I was responsible for developing and running The ACCORD Project which I will be talking about in my presentation.
How did you find Edmodo, and what inspired you to apply to be an EdmodoCon speaker?
My Head Teacher of English introduced me to Edmodo in 2010 and I have been using it with all my classes since. I enjoy having the opportunity to learn from others and also to share my experiences trying new pedagogies. I believe that EdmodoCon is a great opportunity to transcend the restrictions of place in order to share and learn with dynamic teachers who share similar ideologies.
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?
The Mountain Climber – stepping into the world of project based learning required collaboration between teachers and students. All teachers and students bring different skill sets into the classroom and by combining these the learning outcomes are enhanced.
What’s the best piece of advice you have for teachers and administrators who are just getting started with edtech or blended learning tools?
I think teacher training is essential. Classroom teachers must feel confident in using the technology before they will embrace the use in their classrooms. Patience and scaffolding the introduction of edtech is important in ensuring its success. Technology is a tool that should support what teachers already do well.
What’s the one thing you hope your audience takes away from your EdmodoCon presentation?
That responsibility for learning is a joint venture between teachers and students. Student feedback and direction of their own learning is highly important and that as a teacher it is OK to feel out of your content comfort zone – students should be encouraged to take risks with learning and experience making mistakes. As teachers it is hard to allow students to flounder and fail but sometimes these are the most powerful learning opportunities.