This is a guest post by Steve Weissburg, a high school mathematics teacher at Ithaca Senior High School in Ithaca, New York. Passionate about education as a means of social justice, Steve has been teaching secondary mathematics for over 20 years, and uses it as tool for understanding and communicating about our world.
As a math teacher, one of the biggest problems I face is student engagement and participation. There is no single formula for how my students learn, but thanks to Edmodo’s Small Groups and Co-Teacher features, I’ve discovered new ways to communicate with students, share resources, and encourage collaboration — within my own classroom and on a worldwide scale.
Small Groups, Big Payoff
After more than 20 years in the classroom, I’ve learned many students are hesitant to participate in front of the entire class. Edmodo helps me solve this by letting me organize students into smaller groups.
I’ve seen this most recently with our class blog. Some students don’t post when they have to share their post with the entire class. But when they’re in placed into Small Groups, they become more engaged because they only have to share their work with a few students.
Partners in Participation
When engagement increased in my own classroom, I began using Edmodo’s Co-Teacher feature to introduce students to other classrooms and cultures around the world. The Co-Teacher feature also allows me to share resources and collaborate with other teachers, and coordinate global lesson plans. Some examples:
These collaborative projects demonstrated that adolescence transcends national boundaries. Students seem to really enjoy focusing on global issues and are always surprised to discover how similar they are to students around the world. My long-term goal is to set up projects with schools in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Advice to Teachers New to Edmodo
During my first year using Edmodo, I dabbled and didn’t make much progress. Edmodo is most valuable if you use it all the time. Just jump in with both feet — the site is very intuitive. Nine times out of ten, when you’re thinking, “I wish I could do X,” you’ll find out that you can.
I also really appreciate the Edmodo Support team. As a teacher, having reliable and responsive support makes a huge difference when working with technology.