Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Educator’s Virtual Classroom: Edmodo Style

Since I stumbled upon the virtual classroom website Edmodo, I have approached education in a slightly different manner. To put it simple, I have been able to re-create a classroom setting that is engaging and refreshing for both my students and myself. The following is how I use Edmodo in and out of the classroom.
  1. Direct Communication: As with many things, students need to know and understand what is expected of them. In particular, I use Edmodo to list assignments, answer questions, and communicate with parents. What I like most is that I can add assignments to the calendar that are automatically listed as either an assignment or an upcoming event. Assignments have past due dates while events simply remind the student there’s something due. Nevertheless, students see both bits of information seamlessly. This helps when a student is absent or forgets to write the homework from the board because there’s a central online location as a backup.
  2. Folder Management: Edmodo allows the teacher to create endless folders. Since I teach multiple subjects, I use their folder management system to dump all resources into and then share the folders with each class depending. In addition, I place many of my daily quizzes into a folder and share with the class just before initiating the exam. With the use of a computer lab, students simply refresh the browser and the folder appears – giving students the access to the PDF file.
  3. Collaboration and Feedback: In conjunction to the folder management, I use Edmodo to engage students in collaboration sessions, setup virtual small groups, and receive feedback. Subsequently, I enjoy using the poll feature on Edmodo after homework and quizzes to allow students to submit which questions were the most difficult. I use this data to determine my discussion and will typically go the most requested questions.
Now that Edmodo and StudyBlue have joined hands in a digital partnership, I can certainly add several ways to enrich my classroom.
  1. Direct links: Students will receive direct links back to their StudyBlue flashcards as well as an “all-star” deck in which I’ve merged personally. As a side note, my students are responsible for building their own flashcards; however, I will merge those in which I see fit together into a single deck that encompasses the necessary criteria.
  2. Speed drills: With a link, I will share the URL to a common deck for students to study as a speed drill. This would include students using the quiz function on StudyBlue and practicing their vocabulary in class in 10 minute increments. Students must continue their practice until master is achieved – 100% score.
  3. Embedding: While this is not currently an option, I can imagine that StudyBlue would add this option as a function to export or embed flashcards through a widget. This would further enhance the functionality of one’s use by embedding flashcards directly into Edmodo. Students could login and have that as their homepage each day in class and that could serve as an easy, yet effective, warm-up strategy.

Daniel Rothrock

Disclosure: Daniel is a user and Teacher Advocate for StudyBlue.