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Posts Tagged ‘Edmodo’

This week I began another course where I hopefully can encourage and support more educators on their journey to getting connected. I’m working with 9 fabulous educators representing many different areas and levels of education in our district.

So far, we’ve explored Twitter, Diigo, Edmodo, Google+, and networks such as the Educator’s PLN, Classroom 2.0, and Educlipper. Everyone is feeling overwhelmed while striving to keep track of usernames and passwords. And yet… they’re still smiling. I love teaching teachers!

Instead of ‘sustained silent reading’ time, we have 20-minute Twitter Time each morning. During those minutes that fly by, our participants are finding new people to follow, retweeting someone else’s tweet, replying to a tweet, and composing a new tweet of their own. They’ve begged for more time to continue and it certainly wasn’t silent!

Near the end of the day today, only day 2, one participant asked if  from my perspective I could see any growth. The answer is a resounding YES! These fabulous educators are tweeting, +1-ing (is that a verb?), saving and sharing bookmarks, and much more. They added their thoughts on a slide on a collaborative Google presentation and shared a Google drawing representing being connected in our private Google+ community.

diving in

Image created by @carolhuntingo1

They don’t see the change in their level of comfort, but I do. They’re using the lingo, supporting one another, and taking risks as they learn to trust and share in larger communities and on new networks.

We continue tomorrow with blogging and commenting- both as professionals and with our students. I truly love this opportunity to grow and learn along with my colleagues, build relationships, and ponder new challenges.

Beyond this week, it will come down to each individual. Will they continue to explore and delve deeper into any networks? Will they make/take the time? Will they engage and connect with others? Will they see the value of being connected? And most important, will they help other educators get connected as well?

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We’re off to a busy start this school year. Here’s how I’ve been spending some of my time:

I’ve been getting three different carts of iPads ready for use. Two are in our preK-2 building and the other is for a new extended day program for middle schoolers. Getting to know Apple’s Configurator and trouble-shooting why things aren’t working in a logical manner has been quite time-consuming! The final cart is almost ready and now we’re making sure iOS 6 gets installed. It wasn’t great timing from Apple for us!

I recently assisted a French teacher to assist her with a Voicethread project. Her students each created their own Voicethread with an image of somewhere they either went this summer or wish they had visited. They then recorded themselves describing, in French, various elements of that trip, real or imaginary. Once that was complete, they each had to leave comments for one another, also in French. They turned out well. I’d share one here, but need to get permission from students first.

I’ve worked with a middle school math teacher whose team is a pilot group using Edmodo. We co-taught classes to discuss Codes of Conduct for Edmodo or any other online experiences. A fellow teacher on Twitter helped me find some great resources to get started with Edmodo.I also helped a para-educator who runs a middle school literature group set up Kidblog for the group and again went over Codes of Conduct for using Kidblog and other online tools.

More and more teachers are exploring the idea of blogging using Kidblog. I’ve just ordered copies of “Making Connections with Blogging” to share with other teachers. I attended a session at ISTE this summer facilitated by Lisa Parisi and Brian Crosby, the authors of this book. It’s a great introduction to blogging and includes elements about setting it up, establishing expectations, ideas for posts, and much more. I highly recommend it.

My previous post was about an initiative that our middle school teachers are tackling. They had their Curriculum Night this week with parents. I gathered ideas from my PLN for a document about the rationale for publishing to a larger audience and it was shared that evening.

I teach third and fourth graders each week and this year I’m using Common Sense Media‘s Digital Passport as one tool with those students. It has already opened up many incredible conversations with the students! I got this resource from Richard Byrne’s Free Tech for Teachers site via a tweet.

Last week I had the pleasure of spending a day with other technology integrators and teachers doing some professional development around Flipped PD. It was nice to get some PD myself rather than providing it for others. I look forward to exploring Camtasia Studio some more as a tool for this endeavor.

Also this week I met with participants from the summer course I facilitated about Becoming a Connected Educator. We’re officially required to spend an additional 6 hours together. The biggest challenge is finding common time! We met this week in two separate groups. The group decided that for our next ‘gathering’ we’d have our own Twitter chat. Hopefully that will help everyone feel more comfortable with the idea and logistics of chats. Other members of our PLNs are welcome to help out and participate too. We’re still determining the date and time.

The week ahead is exciting too. I’ll be attending Vita-Learn’s One-to-One School Conference. I look forward to a day of learning and connecting with other Vermont educators. Then I leave Thursday after school to travel to Philadelphia for PLPLive! I will attend a tweet-up that evening and spend Friday connecting with other educators. I have been invited to be a part of one presentation, along with a colleague. There will undoubtedly be a blog post about PLPLive coming soon.

All in all, things are busy and challenging. There are many more things that pop up each day that haven’t been shared in this post, but you get the idea. A common theme in all of this for me? I couldn’t do much of what I do without my PLN. The resources and support provided for me by members who I see locally or connect with in the broader sense are invaluable, inspiring, and amazingly helpful. Thank you PLN!

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This week I had the first of three faculty meetings focused on technology. This one was with the middle school teachers. The meeting with the third/fourth grade teachers is next, followed by the meeting with our K-2 faculty.

The focus of this week’s meeting was to generate discussion about a path the whole 5-8 might pursue together, that involves and integrates technology. How we could use technology to achieve greater things, inspire our students, and help meet the ISTE standards? Should it be a specific tool like Kidblog and Edmodo? Some teachers were hesitant to commit to something they didn’t know much about and others didn’t feel our focus should be on a specific tool. Bravo!

One teacher shared this over-arching goal:

Students will publish/collaborate/share their work with a larger community outside of their classroom.

The group was willing to commit to that and quickly! Upcoming tech-faculty meetings will focus on sharing what this might look like, what tools might support our work (including those shared above), and how we proceed and support one another. Given that it’s the beginning of the school year and parents are about to come in for Open Houses and Curriculum Nights, teachers made a request. They would like to share a statement from the school that tells parents about the focus on and importance of publishing work online and opening the work up to comments and feedback by a larger audience.

Do you have such a statement for your school? Would you be willing to share it?

Thank you for your comments and thoughts. And possibly your resources!

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