Our Guest Blogger today is Faraja Thompson, at present a Technology Literacy Teacher at Maplewood Middle School in Maplewood, NJ. We first met her through the Talent 21 Grant where she was a Technology Integration Specialist for Roselle Public Schools.
Reprinted with permission of Faraja Thompson 2013
Edmodo - The Perfect Learning Management System
I signed up for Edmodo in spring of 2011, while working full time as an integration specialist/teacher mentor. At the time, I did not foresee what an integral part of my life this learning management system (LMS) would become. I made a couple of teacher connections, figured out ways to earn badges on my profile, and set up a few sample student accounts--that was about it. But my perspective changed over the summer, as I made preparations to teach three brand new middle school technology courses.
The first marking period of use served as an experiment for my students and me. We learned how to navigate our class page and to filter messages and assignments. We learned that carefully choosing and recording usernames and passwords helped us avoid having to repeatedly sign up for new accounts, due to forgotten log-in information. Students socialized on a special group I created, the Tech Ed Lounge, rather than clutter our class group feeds with unrelated comments. Meanwhile, I continued making connections with other teachers and exchanging educational ideas on the community pages.
During the second marking period, we discovered intricacies of the library backpack and small groups. This is when major collaboration and peer editing efforts began. Students started storing files in the backpack, using it as an online flash drive. They posted URLs of Google Docs and other real-time collaborative editing (RTCE) tools on their small group pages, so that only four or five group members would have access, for working together on assignments and for commenting constructively on each other's essays. It was around this time that I began discovering teacher-created groups, such as Flip Share.
By the third and fourth marking periods, our Edmodo use was in full swing. Students turned in all project tasks, classwork, and homework using Edmodo assignment boxes. Suddenly, my desk was neater, my tote-bags--lighter, as paper became obsolete in the computer lab. In exchange, I found myself taking time--normally spent socializing on Facebook with family and friends--to grade, create new assignments, moderate the tech lounge, and exchange ideas with teachers from around the world on Edmodo.
Thank you for reading!
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