West Briar Middle School teacher Adam Beckham has always been one to embrace new technology, but admits he has had a hard time finding a safe tool to collaborate with his students outside of school hours.
“Teachers know there is technology out there that would truly enhance our teaching and connection with students, but with things changing so fast it is hard to find the right one,” said Beckham.
That was true up until a year ago, when Beckham discovered and started using the free social learning platform, Edmodo . In Edmodo teachers can continue classroom discussions online, give polls to check for student understanding, post classroom assignments and have access to best practices from other teachers. Parents can also use the tool to engage in their child’s learning and stay informed of their grades and assignments.
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Currently, around 600 HISD teachers are using Edmodo. The district wants to increase that number this coming school year through increased awareness and districtwide training. During the June Summer Leadership Institute, HISD principals learned about the benefits of using Edmodo on their campuses. During the upcoming Rigor Institute in August, all teachers will train on the tool and learn how it can assist them in the classroom.
“Edmodo integrates many things teachers want into one attractive, flexible, powerful, and engaging website,” said Beckham. “Teachers are able to manage assignments, documents, contacts, quizzes, grades, student rosters and student groups all in an interface that is very familiar to anyone who has spent time on social media sites like Facebook.”
In addition to using it to connect with students and parents, teachers can use it to connect with each other.
“The student-facing tools are powerful, but the greatest value of Edmodo to me has been how it connects teachers,” said Beckham. “We can join groups based on interests or content areas and talk with each other, share ideas, and offer much-needed coaching.”