Thursday, March 14, 2013

Edmodo 101

Here are my notes from the Edmodo session I attended. There will be incomplete sentences and outline-format ideas here. Enjoy this with taht in mind:

It's like Facebook for schools
It's a "walled garden": a protected, safe social networking environment
Students can't go "out" and make friends. They can't even connect to other classes that I set up, unless I configure it that way.
Teachers see everything, can monitor everything.

No email address necessary (good for younger-than-13-year-olds)
Write their username and password in their agendas/daily planner
Teachers can change their usernames/passwords

Functions:
1. Polls
PollEverywhere.com is a good option - a good way to use cell phones acceptably in school
Edmodo's Poll function might be a great way to to check for understanding, both mid-lesson, or at end of longer lesson/unit

2. Assignments (classwork/homework)
3. Tests & Quizzes
Multiple-choice questions - Students see scores instantly!
Fill-in - students must type in EXACTLY what you typed in
Short answer - teacher must grade
all is paperless, though! :)

4. Student and Teacher Collaboration
Huge potential for this. Hard to fully convey in a verbal conversation.
I think I'm just going to have to jump in to fully understand how this can work, and grasp the full potential of what this tool can do.


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Had a fantastic talk with the folks at the Edmodo booth in the Exhibit hall.
Very encouraged to see how folders can work.
For example, if there is a resource in a group I'm a part of (like Basal Alignment Project) that I want to share, I can share that resource with my teacher colleagues by sharing it with a group that we are all in.
Then, if a teacher wants to use that resource with his/her students, the resource can be shared with a group for just that class or period.

The chat/discussion feature is fantastic. I can choose the settings so that any comment that a student posts has to go through me first. This makes me, the teacher, the filter, so that I can teach my students about online netiquette...what is appropriate and what is not, how to make wise decisions about their online footprint, etc.

With all of these powerful features, I naturally had some anxiety about my class/school/district/etc investing time and energy in understanding and using Edmodo, and then it becoming a fee-based service, since many free online services have gone this way. The rep assured me that they "are free and always will be".

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I will probably update this blog post as I continue to talk more with the folks at their booth, and rub shoulders with other teachers that have used this tool with their students and colleagues.



Google Sites: Simple, Yet Sensational

Thanks to those planning on attending my session “Google Sites: Simple, yet Sensational

I hope that you gained (will gain) some inspiration about creating a Google Sites for your classroom website, or perhaps another purpose.

Whether you attend or not, I hope you can use my presentation, which can be found here.

It covers:

Creating a new Site
Captcha
Name vs. URL
Templates
Features
Types of New Pages (Web page, File Cabinet, Blog)
Layout of New Pages
Live Links
Sidebar (Automatically or Manually)
Images
Upload files (non-File Cabinet way)
Embedding Google Products
Embedding other things (HTML embed code)
Countdown
Sharing (various degrees of privacy/publishing)

Examples will be shared

Live Demo and Q + A at the end