PowerUp schools and Rigor Institute using social learning platform to connect during training
Dubbed the “Facebook of education,” Edmodo now has more than 21 million members globally, and some 3,400 of them are HISD teachers enrolled in the HISD Summer Rigor Institute. Edmodo is also being used as an integral part of the PowerUp training at 11 high schools across the district that are receiving laptops for all of their students in January. Subjects being discussed in the Rigor Institute this week include how to enforce a wait time in the classroom after a question is asked, how to access students’ prior knowledge skills, and how to effectively use student data.
Edmodo, which is based in San Mateo, CA, was developed by two former school employees. “When I got the idea for Edmodo, I was working in the IT department of a school and having to block a lot of social networking and video sites,” said Co-Founder Jeff O’Hara. “In a place where resource-sharing is essential, we knew that it would be a success.”
Edmodo is a free and secure K-12 social-learning platform that students can access at home or on any of their mobile devices. By introducing it to students at a young age, teachers can teach them to be good digital citizens by using appropriate language and being supportive of one another.
Teachers can also set up their classes and post lesson plans, assignments, and even quizzes. Students may contact their teachers directly with questions and turn in assignments electronically. Parents can also view the site to see their child’s assignments and grades. In turn, teachers can send alerts to parents about upcoming tests, missed assignments, attendance, etc.
Teachers are also using it to collaborate, posting and critiquing lesson plans, and asking and answering questions. An HISD social studies teacher posted that she was new to Edmodo, for example, and asked how teachers are using it. One HISD teacher responded that he uses Edmodo as his primary learning platform, listing all class information, links, etc. so that students can access them at any time. “Edmodo also allows me to stay more organized and run almost paperless,” he wrote. An Advanced Placement U.S. history teacher responded that his classes take all their quizzes on Edmodo to preserve instruction time. When questioned about low-income students having access, he responded that over the past two years, he has had a 90 percent completion rate on assignments and quizzes.
An HISD language-arts teacher put out a request for an eye-witness to 9-11 who would be willing to Skype with her class and received a response from a teacher in Germany asking about her lesson plan. Another teacher responded that her brother had been there and might be willing to talk to the class.
Edmodo has easy-to-use apps from developers such as MasteryConnect, Sokikom, and StudySync that cover everything from biology to poetry and grammar to fractions.
“Teachers and students are, and always will be, our focus,” said Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Nic Borg. “Our goal is to build tools that teachers want to use, not have to use.”