Further Adventures in ELearning – Mainly Scrabbling in the Dark…

Edmodo – this much I know

I have been using Edmodo for a wee while now and at the request of others I’m jotting down what we have done with it thus far. I make no claims to discuss the impact of the platform as yet – this is merely an informative piece, with some observations thrown in for good measure.

I have decided to start with my S3 and S4 class. My S4 class are a tremendous bunch-articulate, fun and high achieving. They have really taken to Edmodo, in a way I never saw with Glow. It’s encouraging. I really want ICT to be an interactive process, rather than a passive one, and Glow was incredibly passive, because it was counter-intuitive.

One of the great joys of Edmodo is the user name and password process. When we went to log in for the first time, I insisted my class submit their email addresses. They can log on using these and are able to have their password reset to that address. Most of the teenage Facebook junkies have access to an email account which they check regularly (indeed have their Blackberries connected to them) this proved not to be a problem. No more “Miss, my password isn’t working!” nonsense any more. Woo hoo!

Then you give them a code. The code is not complicated-merely a combination of 6 letters and numbers.

So, once logged on, we were off. Dead easy. They could navigate their way round the site with ease. They love that their classes are down the left, their resources are along the top and that they can ask their teacher questions. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Edmodo sees online learning through the eyes of the pupils, not the region. They are the top level. That’s the most important element in its success.

What have we done, I hear you shout? Well, it’s a wee bit boring, but somehow brilliant. The students read a book over the summer and had to write a review. I modelled my review in class and stuck all the resources online for them to review. All the book review work was to be done at home, over a three week deadline, and they had free rein to check their work with me as they went along. Cue some heavy use of Edmodo. Pupils were attaching bits of their reviews for checking as they went along. Some sent them directly to me for feedback. Others, rather bravely (or foolishly) posted their paragraphs to the whole class. It was tremendous. Pupils could go on and see what questions were being asked and then check the answer. I have one pupil, in particular, who asks all the right questions – the class adore this! AifL was in action all over the place.

Then they submitted their essays. Around 2/3 of the class opted to submit via Edmodo. That’s incredibly easy too. A quick glance at the work shows an annotate button – so I did. There’s also a place for a grade but, as we all know, add a grade and no one looks at the comments, so I’ll leave that for now, ta.

A bit functional, but amazing. And now? Well, we’re onto travel writing and already, unbidden, one of the bunch has submitted her work for me to have an ongoing look at. Outstanding.

You know, by the way, that your pupils are already doing all this at home? They Facetime each other, ask questions on Facebook, take photos of their solutions…Edmodo merely allows them to include you in this extraordinary resourcefulness and enterprise. There’s an Edmodo app too. For someone who would have her IPad surgically attached to her left hand if she could, the app is really convenient. It looks good too.

Next? A link to a video as I try to flip my classroom. I need to get my S3 class up and running (so far they’ve just asked “When do we get to watch the DVD of “Of Mice and Men”, Miss?”) and I think my Higher class too. It’s also a solution to the thorny subject of e-portfolios…

And, I forgot! There are badges. The class adore them – they’re like online stickers. I’m not going to tell you how to award them because anything else you need to know, you just ask the Scottish Teachers group. You know what? You’ll need to code to join it – it’s 3ajhwl.

Go on. Give it a go. You know you want to!

1 thought on “Further Adventures in ELearning – Mainly Scrabbling in the Dark…

  1. Bryan Gregg

    Brillinat wee blog – captures the essence of it exactly. I’ve been using it with a p4-7 class for a few weeks now. It’s magic. We’ve a VERY POOR kids to laptops ration in school (6:1!!!) so a lot use it at home – one wee fella was on his mum’s Ipad at 8am on a Saturday, another was submitting Roald Dahl related “Gobblefunk” words from Youth Club on a Thursday evening!

    The badges are a delight – I’ve made my own topic specific ones and Lord help me if I forget to award the right ones! Kids love a sticker…

    Your point about it being the opposite of GLOW in terms of focus and intuitivity (Whit?!) is spot on. Spread the word. Get everyone aboard.

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