For several years now, I have known vaguely about Edmodo and its social uses via conversations with teachers and their use of Edmodo. Unsure if I had an account, I logged into Edmodo using my school email address and clicked on “forgot my password” and after about ten minutes an email providing the password reset link arrived and I was in Edmodo. This initial exploration was mostly mechanical. Setting up my profile was a typical type and click task, and pop-up windows that suggest what additional steps to further the site’s usage helped me to navigate through page setup. Next, I added a group called Physical Science. This group will serve my 8th graders and later I will add a group for 7th graders and call it Life Science. By setting up a group, I now have a specific URL link and a group code to give to my students. This link and the code provides them with entry to my Edmodo site pages to participate online as a group. This is not a public shared link and the code allows me to lock out un-wanted participants. Once I have added the online content and we are all part of this group, we will be an online learning community! The best part of this online activity is that we can participate in online group discussions! Later on I can make better use of the polls and quiz options that are available for enriching online learning. Group discussions are typical online course-work tasks, and this writing component will serve as the key focus for student online participation for my English Learners. Language learning strategies stress writing activities, and this feature will allow me to integrate writing and an ongoing technology component in science content instruction. With a weekly topic schedule, limited access to computers and the internet will not pose a major problem for participation. Posting will be possible for all students! Some students with access from home can post from home. This will allow more time for my students to use my classroom computers or the media center computers and post during school hours. Students that need writing help will seek peers and teachers for assistance. This type of student centered learning encourages social learning online and face2face. As you can likely detect, I am going to like having this Edmodo page.
My experience using Google Docs was reminiscent of setting up my online DropBox.com account. The service of Google Docs far surpasses my daily uses of DropBox.com. I have not completely transferred all my files to Google Docs, and will likely keep both interface accounts open for my online resource locations to hold my electronic documents. Having suffered from the loss of data using flash drives, three in the past year, I am very applicative of access to online files that are available when and wherever I am online.
Being able to construct and share documents, folders, and presentations using the Google Docs’ interface sets Google Docs far apart from any drop box. These creative and sharing options make this application a collaborative tool that saves time and is more effective for group projects. As a teacher, the sharing of documents is not a common practice for me. Most of what I have published and shared online are images and presentations, and even this practice is very limited. After using the shared Google document to verify posting comments for my coursework, for Internet Tools in the Classroom, I can see how this practice of sharing documents is advantageous for group collaborative projects. This online participation likely avoids making
mistakes when updates to a document or a project are made. Work in progress likely moves forward faster without the delay that can occur when changes are not seen simultaneously by all. In my building I am managing a Wiki site to share curriculum and lesson plans with an ongoing rotation of sub-instructors due to an unexpected long term leave of a coworker. Using Google Docs, I constructed a presentation that describes the details of the Wiki site. This should save me from so many repeated explanations and give some indication of instruction expectations. I can keep my focus on instruction and every time someone is not sure about what learning is supposed to be going on, I can simple suggest that they see my presentation on Google Docs, titled Collaboration, Science Content Instruction Online, and send off the link, without any significant impact on my email capacity.
To view this presentation click on full screen above and to the right of the forward arrow.