The Unintentional Geek – Edmodo and me

            I’m too old to be a geek.  Seriously.  I’ve been teaching longer than most of today’s geek have been alive.  I could easily be the geek’s mom (actually, I am the mom to 2 geeks).  I achieved my geek status because of two things: iPads and Edmodo.

            I wasn’t asked if I wanted to be in my district’s iPad pilot program, I was just put in it.  I wasn’t too happy about it, especially since I got in trouble for missing the first meeting, which was held while I was cruising in Alaska over summer vacation.  But I was game.  I knew that the students would love it, and I could only use my double dice and other games for so long to keep them engaged.  To say that I was overwhelmed with the iPads was putting it mildly.  I was in survival mode, and I planned to stay there until this pilot program was over.

Out of all the stuff we were supposed to do with the iPads, and there was a lot, I decided that I would pick one, and only one, and I would get good at it.  In fact, I would be the best at it – the expert, the go-to person.   I picked Edmodo.  I picked Edmodo because I was tired of waiting in line to make copies and struggling to have enough copy paper.  Using Edmodo meant that I didn’t need copies.  That’s it.  That’s the real reason I decided to go for it with Edmodo.

It didn’t take long for me to see that I made the right decision.  Sure, I stopped making 150 copies of everything.  But I also streamlined my assessment strategy but using Edmodo quizzes.  I could easily assess students on a daily basis, and they would get IMMEDIATE feedback.  I could, with laser-like accuracy, determine where a student’s understanding was strong and where it needed some attention.  I spend more time working with students on the topics they need help in exactly when they need the help.  I address misconceptions and misunderstandings as they occur and not a day or a week later, as I used to do in the past.

The time I spent grading decreased significantly (my family claims it’s decreased by at least 70%).  Homework became less a chore for me and more an opportunity to take the pulse of each of my students’ comprehension and mastery of individual concepts.

Saving time was one thing – and it was a big one.  What was incredibly important – maybe more important than saving time – was that I was able to take a peek into my students’ brains.  In real time I could see what I needed to do to help a student learn.  Before Edmodo I would have said this was impossible.  Now I want to share it with everyone.

One a daily basis I find new and exciting tools that are in Edmodo.  I like being able to interact with my students when I have the day off.  They are convinced that I can see what they have on their screen at every moment since I frequently drop in on them via messaging when I am not at school.  I like being able to schedule quizzes and announcements in advance.  I like being able to put links to my video lectures and to the note taking guides I have developed.  I like being able to see their interactions with one another on a thought-provoking question that I have posed or a challenging problem.

Mostly though, I like Edmodo.  I am the go-to person in my district.  And I love being that geek.

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