At the beginning of this school year, I found myself to be in a very awkward position. I didn’t have enough students in video class to keep the class, and not enough students in the yearbook class to produce a yearbook. I convinced the two students who first wanted to be in the video class to join the yearbook class, however that meant there would be two different class periods for yearbook. This produced another dilemma. How could I keep the communication a collaboration going between two different class periods in creating a 176-page yearbook?
I had been reading online about a classroom management system called Edmodo. I decided to create an Edmodo online classroom to promote collaboration and the exchange of ideas between the two groups. Later as my class numbers grew to seven students in the 5th period class and three students in the 6th period class, this Edmodo class helped me to remember what had been discussed in the previous class, so that the students in the next period would be on the same page, so to speak with the other students. Students could then read the reflections from the other students to understand what had been discussed in the other class section.
This became very helpful at the beginning when we were trying to think of a theme for this year’s yearbook. Different students would think of an idea and post it online in Edmodo. Others then had the chance to comment and add their opinions or expand upon them. I also liked the ability to link information in Edmodo. I started to collect the resources that I usually use to teach from and added them to the library in Edmodo for easy access for my students. Then I could just assign some reading and they could get access to the documents that I had posted either as a post or from the library. I started conversations with notes, and soon other students were starting conversations themselves, and replying. I also tried the assignment method in Edmodo, but the only problem with that was I was the only one who could read the responses, and after reading the responses, it made me wish I had posted the question as a post so that everyone could read the responses. In assignments, only the teacher can read the responses. So it is only used for assessment purposes and not for sharing. I also tried the quiz and poll features in Edmodo and found it very easy to use.
I was the first teacher in my school to enroll a class in Edmodo. I told my technology coordinator about it, so when a teacher came to him thinking about using Moodle, he directed the teacher to talk to me about using Edmodo instead. As a home economics teacher, she started using Edmodo and liked how she was getting her students to reflect and share recipes and respond to her in a way that they never did in class. She then talked about it with the art teacher, and I heard that she started an Edmodo class too. Suddenly we had three teachers in our school using Edmodo during the first month of school.
Now that my students have started to work on their actual layouts in Adobe InDesign, we have used Edmodo less and less, but it really became important during the first planning stages of our book. I still have a few students post ideas whenever they find something. It has become a resource online site for my class to post ideas as they find them and to share with their peers. Because what you find on a Friday, will be forgotten on Monday, unless you post it.