Friday, March 23, 2012

How I Use - Top 10 Uses and 2 bonus ideas

My Edmodo start screen

As I began preparing for teaching The 21st Century Classroom, a professional development course for colleagues, I wondered how I was really using Edmodo. So, I sat and started to run through the archives of the groups I created and groups I participate in. What I discovered was a list much longer than I expected and a consistent growth that I was pleased to uncover. Here are my top 10 uses and a brief description of why it makes a difference.

1. Student Discussions
I started with one class four years ago on a different platform. While I think there is room for Edmodo to improve, I am thrilled to be using this platform to extend the classroom. I currently have four different groups in weekly discussions on various topics related to the variety of courses I teach. Students have an opportunity to respond by sharing their research, exploring classmate's links, and leaving comments to further the discussion. 

2. Assignments
In addition to being able to post a discussion topic (which I now do as an assignment), I can also post assignments directly to a group. Each assignment is created with a due date, the option to attach links, documents, etc. and the ability for students to 'Turn In' the assignment. A turned in assignment provides a private communication between the teacher and student and an opportunity for the teacher to provide feedback and a grade.

3. Share Documents
Using the library feature of Edmodo, I am constantly uploading documents, sorting them into folders for specific groups and creating private repository for my classes that will be reusable year after year. After a recent update to Edmodo, I can also now share my Google Docs directly from my account. Because I am a devoted user of Google Docs, this addition just made my life much easier! I always post documents with assignments including rubrics and instructions.

4. Sharing Links and Videos
As a frequent part of online class discussions, I provide links to websites and videos for students to watch. In return I often ask for students to do the same. The number of great links that have been posted to my walls over the past two years is amazing. My only wish is for an easy way to capture all of the student posted links. Also, all of the videos I link to are embeded directly into Edmodo and play right from the site.

5. Professional Discussions
Edmodo is full of groups that are started by other teachers and professional organizations. These groups create instant communities of like minded individuals able to share ideas, ask questions and be a participant in the ever changing 21st century classroom. Almost every subject and topic is covered by at least one group. I use the groups to post questions, participate in philosophical debate, and answer questions of other users.

6. Creating Subgroups
Once a group is formed, it is quite simple to create subgroups. I use this feature for my web design group. their are currently over 30 users and several of them are in my Advanced Web Design. So I give these students full access to the web design group and I have created a subgroup to create discussions tailored to their needs and growth.

7. Notes / Alerts / Polls / Quizzes
Using these various types of posts I have managed to explore student thoughts in different ways, get their attention quickly, and share my thoughts. While I almost always use 'Assignment' as my post of choice, the others serve their purposes from time to time.

8. Twitter Stream (or any RSS feed)
Using my Twitter RSS link, I have found it possible to have my Twitter messages post directly to the wall for each group. Now I know that students see my posts, which often provide links to technology and education related topics. I also sometimes Tweet out directly what students are doing in class, so they get to see their own work published on Twitter.

9. Parent Communication
I have created access for parents to see what is going on in Edmodo on an as needed basis. I could easily do this for the entire class. I currently only provide access as any parent requests it. Parents receive their own special code that gives them access to their child and any posts that I choose to share with parents.
10. Professional Development
I currently use Edmodo as my class platform when I deliver professional development. It is a tool that continues to impress and while it does not fit all of my needs (it is not a duplicate of Blackboard or other delivery systems) it is reusable, connected to the outside world and I find using Edmodo creates an opportunity for other teachers to explore its many possible uses.

Bonus #1 - Gradebook
If you choose to, you can provide grades on assignments done in Edmodo, directly through Edmodo. While I have an electronic gradebook that I use already, I can see this tool being quite helpful and it can provide immediate feedback to both parents and students.

Bonus #2 - Text Messages
While I don't use this feature, students and teachers may find it helpful to find that notifications of updates to Edmodo groups can be sent as a text to any cell phone number. The user can select which type of Edmodo event will trigger a text notification.
While the number of possible uses of continues to grow, it is my intention that this list give you a good starting place for what you can do with Edmodo. If you would like to read a much longer list of very specific curriculum ideas, please see the google shared document Edmodo Ideas started well over a year ago by Troy Seyfert.

Please follow me on Twitter @ahstechteacher and leave feedback on this post if you have something to say! 

Chad McGowan
Computer Arts teacher
Technology Enthusiast
Ashland, MA

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to read and post a comment on my blog!