Education Technology Coach Emily MacLean shares her experience using Edmodo, a website that brings social media to the classroom environment. Edmodo allows teachers and students to connect and share ideas, problems and helpful tips. Teachers can assign and grade work on Edmodo, and students can reach out to the whole class for help. In this interview, Emily shares how Edmodo is used in her school, across grade levels and by teachers for professional development.
I am currently the Education Technology Coach at Chatsworth International School, Orchard Campus in Singapore. We are an International Baccalaureate World School with a diverse community of around 700 students from Kindergarten to Year 13.
Our school uses a range of technology to support teaching and learning. We are a 1-to-1 Macbook school from Year 4 and above, with the transition year to laptops in Year 3 and a combination of iPads and iMacs in the Early Years. We are also a Google Apps for Education School, with Google Apps being integrated into our organizational and educational systems. We use a wide range of software and online resources to support teachers and students in their learning journey with a focus on choosing and utilizing the best tool to enhance and transform learning.
My students have used Edmodo as a tool to collaborate, provide each other with feedback and share useful links in small groups and as a whole class in a digital learning environment. Edmodo supports a blended learning environment where students can access it from both home and school while providing students with an opportunity to support each other rather than just asking the teacher. Edmodo has provided my students with a safe and educational platform to communicate online. This has allowed me to have many conversations about digital citizenship with my students such as creating avatars, appropriate online communication and digital footprints. With my students in the Primary School, it also exposes them to a social media–like platform where they can begin to learn how to navigate a realm that is usually limited to students 13 and above. As a teacher, I am able to ensure students are engaging in appropriate dialogue online and offer support for this new area as they move towards middle school.
Our Primary Digital Media Team uses Edmodo as a way to stay connected throughout the week before their weekly webcast recording. Sometimes it’s for suggesting new ideas or segments, collaborating or planning the next episode. It provides our students with a way to connect and take the lead with their own project ideas and initiatives while also being able to be monitored by the teacher supervisor. It has been wonderful to watch how the students support each other and build upon each other’s ideas and extend their learning beyond the classroom.
This past year the Chatsworth EdTech team created a 10-week blended learning course. The content was delivered through Edmodo and it allowed teachers an avenue to share ideas, collaborate and give feedback to each other in a closed and safe space for only the participants. It was wonderful to see the dialogue that occurred online in conjunction with the in-person sessions. This also gave teachers the opportunity to experience Edmodo from the perspective of a student. The badges that were created and distributed through Edmodo helped to engage staff and were highly motivating.
Technology has opened up the walls of the classroom to expand around the globe. Students have a plethora of resources available to them and a variety of platforms to express and share their knowledge and understanding. By integrating technology into my classroom practice, it is allowing even the students with the quietest voice to share in ways never possible before. What I love about using technology within my classroom is that there is always something to learn. Not only am I constantly learning, but I can also learn so much about technology from my students. Together, we are constantly constructing the classroom environment to create an place where students can learn what they want, in the way they want while also enjoying the process.
You can connect with Emily through Twitter, Google+ or her website.
Monica Burns is an Author, Speaker, Curriculum & EdTech Consultant and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.
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