Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer Resolution Series: #Edmodo

Social networking is the name of the game in education today. If our students are already using it, why not use it in your classroom? Many school districts cringe at this comment, but it is true. We need to find ways to get our kids engaged and social networking is a great tool to teach valuable 21st Century skills. I have mentioned the free educational social network called Edmodo in the past, but today I am going to talk about how teachers can use it as part of my Summer Resolution series.

It may not be a bad idea to experiment with Edmodo this summer because not only is it free, but it is easy to use.  Many teachers are creating their own Edmodo accounts to connect in virtual book discussion groups over the summer.Why not use it as a tool to connect with your dedicated colleagues over the summer?

Several years ago, my colleagues and I used this as a tool to discuss Eric Jensen's book Teaching with Poverty in Mind. It was a great way to reflect and connect over the course of the year without needing to attend daily meetings. Many of my colleagues really enjoyed connecting with each other virtually. I also developed an Edmodo group for a group of online instructors at Regional Training Center to discuss ideas, issues, and information.

This sounds great in theory; however, let me share with you a few lessons I have learned before you jump in.

1. Consistency - Edmodo is a great professional development tool, but if you are not posting on a daily or every other day basis, then people tend to lose interest and forget about it. Make sure that you are consistently sharing information on a regular basis, even if it is sharing external links to news stories. My online instructor group failed miserably because I was not consistent enough and did not provide users with a reason to visit Edmodo each day.

2. If users don't know how to use it, you will lose it. Probably the biggest hurdle to overcome is the barrier that technology presents to some educators. Many of us are intimidated by technology and need supports in place like written instructions or video clips. Give educators in your group a chance to learn how to use it. Here is a sample video clip that I created on my YouTube channel for teachers to learn how to use Edmodo.

How I plan to use Edmodo this summer:

As many of you know, I teach graduate courses for Regional Training Center. In just a few weeks, I will be off to the eastern shore of Maryland to teach a course on Universal Design for Learning. I am planning on using Edmodo as a way for students in my course to share resources, upload assignments, and communicate ideas. It will be a great way to connect with a group of educators from another state with only a click of a mouse.

Do you have ideas for our Summer Resolution Series? Do you want to serve as a guest blogger? Contact me with your ideas or for more information.

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