Wednesday, January 29, 2014

EDMODO--An Awesome Activity for Students (personal reflections here + practical advice)

Well, it has been 10 days using Edmodo with my English language learners.  In day 10, most seemed to be able to do the simple assignment I posted there.  A few had some issues navigating the site.  So, how have we moved from ZERO knowledge of EDMODO to 75%?  :)

In the first day, I spent time at home and in my prep exploring the site after signing up.  Time spent here was not wasted for I had a chance to look at all the features of the site.  Since there is technically no user's guide, I had to figure out how the site was organized.  The teacher's site offers great tools for educators.  One of first ones I liked was the feature of creating multiple groups for my class.  This is crucial in a class of 4 different levels of English proficiency.  Such an option opens up many options:  whole class overall introduction activities, specific interest sections (math, science, English, social studies) geared to student interests, and groups based on proficiency so no one is frustrated.

Another feature I liked was the ability to not only assign work, but also lock the "door" so that if a student does not meet my deadline, her/his submission won't be accepted.  Explaining "deadlines" was an eyeopener for many of them.  After all, life is made up of countless deadlines so they might as well learn to deal with them in class:).  Also, every assignment carries points so this is an encouragement for students to raise grades.

One item students don't seem much interested in is that their parents are welcomed to see what their children are doing by joining the class as parents by using a code that is in their children's accounts.  I will probably call parents or email them about this opportunity.  With the Olympics coming up soon, assignments at all levels will be geared to that.

I have also built my own "library" of websites in all disciplines that will assist students in not just English, but also their other academic areas.  I then send websites to the class through a general posting which they can add to their virtual "backpacks."

Today, students had to submit their assignments.  All they had to do was go to the link right in the site, click on it, post their response, "turn it in" and RATE the assignment (interesting, boring, didn't understand, etc.).  Once the student "turned in" the work, it shows up in my scoring section as an assignment to be scored.  I also have the option of awarding "badges" which recognize effort as well as expertise.  Students can then see their progress (graph icon on their page). 

EDMODO also offers tutorials (I am signed up for one 1/30/14).  They are free.  Another plus about the site is that their tech people answer teacher requests for help in minutes.  THAT is a first for me and probably many of you as well.

I am co-presenting to the faculty on this Monday of next week and again at the California Association of Bilingual Educators in the spring.  I will take photos of my handouts and upload them to the blog next week.

You will really love the site and will wonder how you ever lived without it:)  Again, see the video next to the sign up section.



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