Posted by Heather Davis | Posted in ONLINE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, WHAT I AM LEARNING | Posted on August 11, 2011
For 11 hours teachers from around the world presented, listened, watched, commented, questioned, discussed and made connections during the first ever Edmodo Conference. For those of you who have never heard of the application it is a closed and safe environment for students of all ages to interact, collaborate and generally use social networking skills.
I first heard about Edmodo about three Years ago and quickly checked it out. It looked interesting so I signed up and brought my class in for a look. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience and returned to the site frequently. I never really did more than have the students interact with each other as I was not really sure the direction to take the learning. This approach continued until last Fall when I joined the Flat Classroom pilot project for elementary students. One of the tools that was chosen to use with the children was Edmodo, obviously I needed to up my game.
Edmodo was used as the place where the students from the eight schools worldwide connected. It was exciting to watch as they investigated and began to build relationships.
After the project concluded my students continued to work and chat. I wanted to provide them with other experiences while I was also investigating what was offered. That came in the form of an invitation from one of my teaching partners in the Flat Classroom pilot project,Nancy von Walde who teaches at the International School of Prague.
Nancy asked if I would like to join her class in global reading groups. The students would be in differentiated groups and would read the same book. They would all be asked the same questions and then they would be able to discuss and question what was happening. We were also joined by a third teacher from Eastern Canada. It was exciting to watch the groups develop and their English language skills grow.
With this successfully underway I turned my mind to our end of the year assembly when we present what we have been doing in the curriculum. The students decided to present three different topics and they were to create an eight minute multimedia presentation for their parents and other students. The initial planning was going well but was also taking a lot of class time that I wanted to use for other learning. That is when I decided to create an Edmodo group for each of the topics and the students could access those at school, home or wherever they were to discuss, collaborate, in some cases argue, create and come to a consensus. I was not prepared for how incredibly well this worked. The students produced incredible presentations. I became an even bigger proponent of Edmodo.
When the announcement came out that there was going to be a conference I quickly registered. The rest is history and was incredible. More to come later about the actual learning but suffice it to say the sleep that I missed was well worth it.