Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Edmodo is 24/7 Education

Edmodo has been a transformative educational tool for my students and me. It has revolutionized my teaching and my learning. Edmodo has changed the way I share digital content with my classes and the way I share with and learn from other educators from around the globe. With edmodo, I can provide content with students for the days they are absent, offer enrichment activities, assign and collect homework, quizzes and projects all without printing a single page. Edmodo has also provided the means for me to deliver a lesson on days that I have not physically been in class. To do this, I used SchoolTube’s embed feature paired with edmodo to share videos I’ve recorded for lessons.
Edmodo allows you to share virtually anything. In the past semester, I have used edmodo to share videos tutorials and guides for student projects, songs I’ve made to go with units, a VoiceThread project for students to add their voice, websites, polls, delicious stacksvokisprezisglogsSchoolTube videos and an exit survey. Edmodo offers a rewards system with badges for students and teachers as well as a “sharing score” for teachers. With every item a teacher shares, they gain a point. This is my favorite feature!
Sharing is caring...and with Edmodo it's EASY!!!
Sharing is caring...and with Edmodo it's EASY!!!
Furthermore, edmodo has completely changed the way I collaborate and connect with teachers from around the world. This free educational tool has opened up opportunities to connect my classes with native speakers of French and Spanish from Canada, Argentina and Spain. Last week we spent our last minutes of class connecting with a classroom in Argentina via skype. Next year, this group of Argentinian students will be connecting with my Spanish II students for a year long exchange. We will use the versatility of an edmodo group to share VoiceThreads, SchoolTube videos and other various cloud-based projects with one another.
Edmodo has helped me grow as an educator thanks to the World Language community and other various Professional Development and technology groups I participate in on a regular basis. Edmodo is a virtual conference room of educators sharing ideas, resources and helping each other out. I am amazed at the generosity and expertise of the educators who have chosen to call this venue “home.” Also, I am delighted with the “Spanish Teacher Share” group that I created in order to share resources and ideas more efficiently. In this group alone, we have almost 200 members who have shared over 60 folders full of hundreds of Spanish language learning resources, just waiting to be used in classrooms around the world. There simply is no better way out there to connect, communicate and collaborate. Edmodo is 24/7 education for teachers and students alike.
Students have benefitted from the 24/7 access to library items. I have organized our digital library on edmodo into unit folders that include language learning videos, PowerPoints, websites and other pertinent files and links for that particular topic. With just a click of a button, students have access to resources I have created and collected from my generous edmodo (and twitter) PLN. Students also take advantage of edmodo’s “backpack” feature that eliminates the need for thumb drives as it allows you to store files in the cloud.
I have learned that students have been spending their free time on edmodo. One of their favorite things to do is to log into edmodo and then go directly to view our SchoolTube videos of various French and Spanish classes here at Marcellus. They enjoy watching themselves and others learning, singing, presenting and dancing in French and Spanish class. On an exit survey for Exploratory Language, one out of every three seventh graders answered that edmodo was among the best tools we used during the year for language learning. This choice was in direct competition with other popular strategies such as singing, dancing and playing games. Some students have expressed this love of edmodo in their public posts on our wall and in private messages to me that have read “I love edmodo.” On the exit survey, students stated that they enjoyed edmodo because you could login on your own time and pick and choose the resources you wanted to use while learning at your own pace.
This year’s projects have allowed students to tap into their creative side as they have written stories, songs, dialogues, created games and made videos of their daily routines. After using their creativity to make their projects, students were taught how to use embed code to share projects such as glogsGoAnimates and vokis. They also learned how to upload files such as PowerPoints and how to post links to VoiceThreads. I created our groups this year by subject and therefore whenever students share their content on edmodo, it reaches a wider audience than if it were just presented in class. Additionally, some students have been able to share their video projects globally via the use of SchoolTube. The pairing of SchoolTube with edmodo has allowed me to use student-generated videos as content for written discussions on our “wall” and even as a component on edmodo assignments. Students are assigned a student video to watch, then asked questions which they answer and submit using edmodo’s assignment feature.
Students have gained choice in their learning and have gained knowledge about various online tools for self-learning. I believe that learning how to create videos and how to use cloud-based tools will prove useful for future class projects across the curriculum. This year's wider range of cloud-based projects has provided students with more chances for creativity while edmodo has given us a wider audience. If I were to choose the one innovation that has provided the largest overall student benefit and has proven to be the biggest motivator for student achievement and excellence, it would be the expansion of our target audience. This year’s student work has proven to be the best of my career. Now that students have created exemplary projects that can be shared as examples next year, I believe there is no limit as to how far the students at Marcellus Central Schools will climb! Thanks to edmodo, we will be sharing our journey with an amazing global community of teachers and their students!

P.S. We currently have over 1,200 members in the Spanish Teacher Share group! There are over 150 teacher shared folders with thousands of free resources for all members to use! I’d like to say a very special “GRACIAS” to all who have shared your links and resources with us all in this group!!! Edmodo Spanish Teacher Share ROCKS!!! If you are a Spanish teacher looking to grow your PLN, join edmodo and connect with the most generous, hard-working group of Spanish educators I have ever had the pleasure of knowing! Once your edmodo account has the “verified teacher” badge, use this link to join!

P.S.S. Please visit my Edmodo profile or this google doc to find more information about my Edmodo groups for teachers.

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