Teaching without resources is like trying to build a house without power tools.
It’s definitely possible, but it’ll take a lot of extra effort and you’ll probably end up with something that suffers from a few too many compromises.
There was a time where a teacher’s primary resource was the lauded Teacher’s Edition of the school-selected textbook. Some other activity books or teaching tips could supplement this curriculum, but it was difficult to find and share resources among teachers.
Then the Internet happened.
“Today’s students are digital natives, not pioneers. They’re growing up in a world where the smartphone has always been ubiquitous, where the floppy disk is a save icon more than physical hardware.”
Now, there’s a near-limitless number of edtech tools and resources available for teachers. The problem is no longer about finding them, it’s about finding the right ones for your students. Instead of struggling to come up with new lesson plans for your own students, teachers now have to evaluate a dozen different options: Do you show your students a video? Or would an interactive HTML page be better? How can you be sure that this web game is accurate to the topic you’re teaching?
With Edmodo, you can discover and save new teaching resources every day knowing that they’ve been shared by fellow teachers from around the world.
It’s easy, maybe too easy, to think of teaching as just a reversal of our own experiences while learning. We can imagine ourselves at the front of the classroom that we sat in, fictional students fashioned after the classmates we had, using the same tools we did.
But students today don’t face the same challenges that we did. They don’t learn the same way that we do. Today’s students are digital natives, not pioneers. They’re growing up in a world where the smartphone has always been ubiquitous, where the floppy disk is more easily recognized as a save icon than physical hardware.
And these digital tools aren’t going away anytime soon. But teachers can make old material and standards relevant to students by using digital resources on devices and platforms they already feel comfortable with. Digital teaching resources have also shown to improve student engagement and learning outcomes.
But implementing those resources can be a challenge. Thankfully, Edmodo can help.
On Edmodo, you can use anything as a resource, whether it’s a web link, a Google Doc, a PDF, a PowerPoint presentation, or a YouTube video. Just attach whatever you want to your next Post and send it to each of your students. You can even administer a quick Quiz or distribute individual copies of Assignments to each student. Whatever your resource, it already works on Edmodo.
On Edmodo, you can use anything as a resource.
Consider the story of Pero Sardjoski, Co-founder and Director of Studies at Pegasus ELS in Tetovo, Macedonia. Using Edmodo, he was able to digitize the majority of student activities in a given day for his classes.
What does a day in Pero’s classroom look like?
“I start checking student interest using the Edmodo Poll feature. Then, I show them a video and give out a Quiz related to the video. After completing their Quizzes and Assignments, students are awarded badges for their work. As soon as students complete their tasks they’re transferred to the next Small Group related to the next topic. This is a great motivational tool for students since they are not able to view the contents on their own mobile devices until they’re transmitted to the next Small Group.
“So there are many many positive aspects to this approach. Students love being fully engaged with technology. The Small Groups approach that I use is a great motivating factor, even the students who are unwilling to participate at the initial stage eventually get involved because of their curiosity. I show them glimpses of these tools just to tease them a little bit and then they get motivated. And quizzes, the badges, everything is super cool and they love it, they just love it.”
“Going paperless” can be a frightening phrase. The idea of eliminating all of the paper in your classroom, no matter where or how you use it, is intimidating. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s hard to muster up the motivation to try going paperless when the only benefit you can think of is sustainability, especially when you’ll get a lot of friction from parents, other teachers, or administrators.
Turns out there are more benefits to cutting paper use than just sustainability. We’ve already talked about how students prefer digital tools and learn better with them, but there’s an added benefit built into that: Cutting down on paper in your classroom.
Fewer papers in your classroom means fewer opportunities for your students to lose assignments or misplace important documents. It means a lighter bag for those days you need to take home some grading. In a world where schools can end up spending as much as $30,000 per year on paper and printing, it means we can stand to benefit from reducing paper use in dozens of ways for everyone involved.
Using Edmodo for your teaching will reduce your need for paper significantly, just by the nature of how Edmodo works: When you can send your assignments and documents digitally, every student in your class knows exactly where to find them, instead of leaving the organization of documents up to each individual student.
So how did Pero and Pegasus ELS do it? Through small, incremental steps:
“We’ve done it up to 90%, so we are a 90% paperless school…The first step is to introduce basic technology in the classroom: one computer or laptop, or students can bring their own devices like tablets. The second step is introducing or training teachers how to use various software applications that are available, like Microsoft PowerPoint, Keynote, interactive learning tools, vocabulary and grammar apps, etc.
“It was great to show PowerPoint presentations and play online games with students, but it was still not that engaging until we introduced the concept of bring-your-own-device. With this kind of approach, as well as with other online tools such as Quizlet, KaHoot, or virtual reality apps, we have made it possible for students to participate interactively in the class with their own devices.”
When your teaching resources aren’t limited by the cost of printing or supplies (the way paper and textbooks are), you can share and discover more of them than ever before. Teachers have moved beyond relying on the Teacher’s Edition textbook and are now assembling and arranging new lesson materials with remarkable speed.
Imagine if you could find a resource that another teacher at your school already uses, just as easily as you can find anything else on the internet. With Edmodo, you can easily share materials with all the teachers in your department or grade level. Plus, you can save all those shared resources to your Edmodo Library with a click of a mouse (or tap of the finger).
If you want to look beyond what your fellow teachers use — or you’re unlucky enough to be the only teacher for your subject or grade — Edmodo Spotlight is always available to you. Spotlight is a curated library of resources selected by content experts and veteran teachers, featuring thousands of activities and materials that you can add to Edmodo instantly.
For Pero and the rest of Pegasus ELS, resource sharing and discovery are both part of the appeal of a paperless classroom and an opportunity for new learning strategies:
We have significantly reduced paper consumption with this approach in our school, introducing resources that teachers have developed on their own… We have the curriculum teachers developed around resources — with our own Word Document files, PowerPoint Presentations and the Edmodo resources available, we have started promoting blended learning opportunities for our students.
Resources are a huge part of classroom teaching in the 21st century. But with such a wide variety of resources and materials available, it’s hard to find resources you can really trust.
With Edmodo, you can finally find resources that have been vetted and reviewed by veteran teachers. Whether you’re looking to bolster your Library or digitize your current materials, Edmodo can help.
When you’re not spending hours just trying to put together a lesson that’s appropriate for your class, you can focus your time and effort on what really matters: