February 22, 2011

Edmodo - social networking meets the classroom.

Seems like we're all addicted to social networking. Those of us who don't post every detail of our lives on our facebook page still lurk around and read about everyone else's lives! Am I right? Well, Edmodo is sort of like that. It's a social networking tool designed specifically for the classroom...sort of like facebook for students! But the great thing is that it's a closed environment - conversations are between classmates and not the entire world. With Edmodo, students aren't posting the minute details of their lives, they're collaborating and communicating about schoolwork.

Edmodo allows students to communicate with each other and with their teacher (think backchannel chats) during class or at home. Students can talk to their classmates about the great book they're reading at home. Assignments can be managed and submitted through Edmodo. Videos can be embedding directly into Edmodo, eliminating the junk students might see on video sharing websites. Students can also collaborate on projects with their classmates. There are so many more things Edmodo can be used for, so just check out their website here instead of reading this boring post. But before you click on that link, let's review. Collaboration + Communication = Jubilation. Now go check out Edmodo!

Image used with permission from Edmodo

February 1, 2011

Using Technology in the Classroom

OK, I'll admit it. I don't really "get" blogs. My cousin has been blogging for years and I always feel like I'm spying on her when I read it. Anyone else feel this way? No? Just me, then? Well fine, I might as well jump on the blog bandwagon. Another confession - there is one blog I follow with some regularity (translation: every day). It's really more of a photo blog than a word blog, which is probably why I love it so much. I am a visual learner to a fault. Because I know you're curious now, the blog is: Better After. It has absolutely nothing to do with technology in the classroom, although someone has probably posted before and after photos of a classroom makeover or even a laptop makeover.

Speaking of technology in the classroom, it's something that is exciting to me as a parent, a school board member, and a future teacher. I think a lot of people don't really "get" the idea behind technology in the classroom. But we can't continue to teach the same way we've taught for years - we have to find a better way to connect to the students who are immersed in technology. Obviously, that's the purpose of my Educational Technology & Design class, and probably the reason most of you are reading this blog in the first place! How we go about doing that is going to be the challenge, but I think it's also going to be a lot of fun. I have always been comfortable using technology, although because of my age, I am considered a digital immigrant. Boo hoo.

There seem to be some great educational blogs, and today I found  Mathew Needleman's blog, Creating Lifelong Learners. Mr. Needleman gives ideas for integrating technology into the classroom. A really cool application that he has developed is the fluency timer. Fluency is the ability to read text with speed, accuracy and proper expression. The fluency timer times and records students doing their readings. Students can then listen to themselves and hear what mistakes they might have made. It can also be played back for parents, teachers, administrators - what a great assessment tool! Something that can probably be very boring for a student has now been turned into sort of a fun game. How's that for finding a way to connect with the digital natives? Not bad, I think. Throw that in your bag of tricks when you become a teacher; your students will love you for it.

Image used with permission from Pics4Learning