Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On technology

I am not ashamed to admit that I'm pretty on top of current pop culture.  I rarely hear my students talking about something and think, what is that? while smiling like I get it.  (Exception being Twerking and Kik--both of which I now know all about, though I wish I knew nothing of twerking and could unsee Miley Cyrus's infamous twerking at the VMA's).

The point of this tangent on technology is that I use it in my classroom as much as possible.  I'm always looking for new ways to use it, new apps, new devices.  I would kill for an interactive whiteboard and a set of student clickers.

I was introduced to Edmodo about 4 years ago and at the time, it was kind of lame and not very user friendly.  However, I randomly thought of it the other day and decided to check it out again.  It looked a lot more appealing.

Edmodo is like facebook for classes.  A teacher creates an account and sets up groups--I chose to have one group for each of my classes.  Edmodo creates a Group Code for each group, which the students will need in order to sign up.  A student cannot create an account without a group to join.  They don't even need to input an email address, but they can if they want to receive email alerts.

With Edmodo, kids can post things, upload files, add files to their "Backpack," which is a place to store work electronically that they can access again.  As a teacher, you can send alerts, take polls, create quizzes and close them on a certain day so that students must take them by a certain time, upload assignments and documents, etc.  There are even apps that you can add to the site.  I added a flashcards app and created a stack using their vocab words.  I shared this with them and now they have an online study tool--in addition to the cards they make in class.  There's also a (free!) app for iPhone and Android.  It's not the best, but it's functional.

It has been a slow process getting my AVID kids and my 8th grade grade-level English class to all get on the site, but my honors 8th graders are obsessed with it.  They post silly pun-ny jokes and hashtag everything ironically.  I'm having a blast using it with them.  I have already used it to post homework, give them a quiz, have them all respond to a discussion question, and even post a grammatically incorrect sentence to see who would find the errors.  My 7th grade AVID class has been using it to ask each other homework questions.  As the teacher, you have the ability to delete anything they post, and you can even change the settings so that you have to approve every post before it goes up, but #Ain'tNobodyGotTimeForThat. :)

Some of my kids are not allowed to have Facebook pages, so this is the only social networking they get to do.  And so they blow it up.  They will come into the room and say, "Ms. T, check the edmodo site! Someone posted the most ridiculous joke."

Here are a couple of screen shots:

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