Category Archives: Edmodo

Lighting the spark of curiosity

I once heard a minister talk about religion.  “You can’t really get someone to convert,” he said.  “The best you can do is live an amazing life.  They will want what you have.  And then you can help them into the church.”  I’ve thought about that a lot – not really in terms of religion, but in terms of education.  As an educator, a teacher, my job is to share that enthusiasm for learning.  The way I see it, if I can make my content (whatever it is, though currently it’s physics) so fun, so engaging, so applicable to life, my students won’t be able to help themselves.  They will want to learn too.

In his TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson talks about “lighting the spark of curiosity.”  That can be a daunting task.  But to use technology as a kindling to get that fire blazing helps make it not only possible, but likely.  My students, middle school kids, are unbelievable social.  The best I can do is to tap into that social hunger and to allow my students to fill their hunger (it will return) with learning.

That’s where edmodo comes in.  It is a safe, secure environment that allows my students to be the social creatures that they are.  It wills their needs and at the same time if fulfills mine.  I am able to quickly assess student understanding, I am able to close monitor student progress.  I don’t need to make copies at the copy machine (yay!).  The learning curve for edmodo is not steep.  It’s pretty easy to learn, and the more you learn how to use edmodo, the more you find out what else it is capable of.

Welcome to your new addiction.

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.