With the multitude of holidays coming up, don’t forget that October is Connected Educator Month.
Began five years ago by the U.S. Department of Education and a handful of partners, Connected Educator Month is a celebration of online communities for schools, teachers and students alike. It’s a reminder of the many opportunities teachers have to collaborate and hold deeper discussions among peers – leading to everything from great new ideas to untangling technical glitches.
We asked teachers in the Edmodo community how they’re now connecting with others to advance their classroom success and simplify life. Here are some of their stories. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to connect in new ways this month and beyond.
“Three years ago I was looking for a U.S. class to work with, and I posted an inquiry in one of my Edmodo groups. I found Cristina, a fabulous teacher working in California. She was willing to collaborate. My middle-school class and her class began to work on specific projects (introductions, common interests) and shared everything in a common Edmodo class. We worked together for some months. It was an amazing experience for my students and me. I had the chance of meeting one of the most skilled and collaborative teachers I have ever worked with.”
Maria Rita Pepe – Educator
“I’ve worked with the program Know My World the past couple of years and have been able to connect with teachers and students in Mexico and Turkey. My students collaborated with the students in Mexico and created a book that compared/contrasted the environment in Mexico with our Alaskan tundra. With Turkey, my students read Antigone and the students in Turkey worked with them to design costumes for their characters. We used Edmodo as the platform to discuss projects, share ideas, and debate topics.”
Garnet Mayo –LKSD
“I am a teacher in San Diego, California and connected with a teacher in Stockholm. Together we decided to work on a design project that would address Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Our students first made videos using Touchcast. Through this experience, I had the joy of collaborating with a teacher in a different area of the world and my students got their first exposure to being part of a global team and learning about a different culture. It was a great experience for everyone involved.”
Brad Bielawski – Chula Vista Elementary
“Last year my students did an activity where they had to research a disease within the cardiovascular system. I was lucky to have a foreign exchange student from Egypt, so we connected with his school back home and their teacher to do the same project. Then we were able to host a Skype meeting between the classes to talk about the journals and get face-to-face feedback. It was a great experience for our students alike.”
Linwood Starling –Pine Forest High School
“I worked with a teacher from a different state that had set-up a collaboration group with two international teachers. The students had a great time connecting with students from other areas. Lots of similarities among all of our differences.”
Rory Morse – Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
“I got in touch with a teacher from Michigan, and we opened a group for language exchange among our students. It was motivating for them to write for an audience!”
Teresa Perles – Colegio Alfa y Omega
“For Digital Learning Day last year, I used Padlet and Kahoot to connect with other language classes for the day. We used the tools to see the language differences between French, German and Spanish. We also shared ideas and played a game. We recently had a Skype call with Don Wettrick, author of Pure Genius, who gave my students in Spanish 3 and 4 four some pointers.”
Rachelle Poth –Educator
“In PE, we connect with teachers all over the world to do activities with and against. We also learn games that are native to their region or area. The kids teach each other and watch each other play.”
Helen Xiong – Genoa City Joint 2 District
“This year my students and I collaborated on a project about refugees. I worked with a teacher in Athens, Greece and used Google Slides as our platform. Both schools included introductory videos to share the school, classrooms, and resources with each other. Students were encouraged to fundraise and volunteer to help in any way they could. The time zones are different, but on occasion students and teachers could join a Google chat to talk about the project, the weather, school environment or technical issues. Everyone loved the project, and it created an awareness about the refugee crisis across the world.“
Carrie – Oklahoma Centennial
“In Europe, where I live, is quite easy to get involved and connected with other teachers. I’m just coming back from Armenia, an amazing country. I met some news colleague, and we’re starting to plan a new project about poetry and visual art. That’s amazing, and I think we’ll work hard to do the better. We are from Italy, Slovakia, Poland and France and…as the pottery is, there are no boundaries between us!”
Raina Luca – IC Toscanini
“I found two pen pals, Dhrupad and Vishal, on a community board for their Indian students. I accepted the challenge. This week I was overjoyed to find 45 hand-written letters delivered to me at my school. My students are in the process of writing back. We are learning about Cricket, Squash, Bollywood and many new first names. We have discovered that Harry Potter and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid are popular everywhere. We also have found out that Indian kids are shy, mischievous, naughty, studious and outgoing. It is indeed a small world after all!”
Brenda Osborne – MacArthur Middle School
“Many years ago, I asked the Religious studies community for help. My students were working on a project about Protestants and wanted to interview someone from that religion. In no time, many teachers volunteered for the interview. My students were super excited. All the extra work of translating the questions into English and the answers back to Spanish seemed not to bother them at all.”
Cristina Centro Xabier – Centro Xabier Ikastetxea
“It was great connecting with the other educators at Edmodocon. Now I have been able to share and collaborate ideas with them through Edmodo, what’s app, and Twitter. Great way to keep the learning going!”
Alejandra Guzman – Los Fresnos CISD
No doubt these amazing stories have sparked your imagination too, proving food for thought on wonderful ways you can collaborate through Edmodo and other online tools and sources. We invite you to explore the site for ways to connect, and share your ideas with other teachers.