Today I did a workshop on using Edmodo, for my colleagues here at IH Palermo. It was a very practical workshop, with the goal of sending teachers away with the technical know-how necessary for using Edmodo and some ideas for integrating it into their classes. I thought I’d share what I did and the materials I made/used here, in case it’s of interest to anyone else who wants to run a similar workshop at their school – or anyone who wants to learn how to use Edmodo, themselves! (The handout with step-by-step instructions for teachers and students, and my power point slides with step-by-step screen shots, are at the end of this post.)
This was the outline of my workshop:
- What is Edmodo?
- Edmodo as a teacher (“How do I…?”)
- Edmodo as a learner (“How do they…?”)
- Integrating Edmodo (Homework; autonomous use)
- Potential issues (“But what about…?”)
What is Edmodo?
For the “what”, I used Edmodo‘s own description of itself:
“a free and safe way for students and teachers to connect and collaborate”
– in combination with the way I explain it to my learners:
“a space for this class to use English together at any time, to discuss, to share links, to share pictures, to share files. And sometimes, a space for homework!”
It isn’t a millstone, it’s not compulsory, it’s an opportunity. I think it’s important to put it like that, so that students feel they are getting something extra rather than being forced into doing something.
“Edmodo as a teacher”
This involved getting all the teachers registered and attached to our school, as well as exploring the Edmodo platform from a teacher’s point of view. I had prepared powerpoint slides with screen shots, which I used to take the teachers through these steps. Registering is a one-off process, so getting it done in the workshop meant that teachers didn’t have to fiddle about with it on their own later on, which might have been off-putting during an already busy day.
“Edmodo as a learner”
For this part, I gave the teachers a group code, which was for a group I had set up in advance, getting them them to register as students in this group. This was to give them a flavour of Edmodo from the students’ perspective. As well as the powerpoint as a guide, I had my own Edmodo account open on the group page, so that they could see what happens on the teacher’s page, when a student joins a group and uses the page. I had set up a little poll and a quiz for them to do as students too. Hopefully having used Edmodo as a student will help them be better able to help their students, if it is needed.
Now that my colleagues had played with Edmodo, both as a teacher and as a learner, I got them to brainstorm ideas for using it with their learners. I also gave them links to my two blog posts, on using Edmodo to make homework more interesting and on using Edmodo for fostering learner autonomywhich each contain a series of ready-to-use ideas to experiment with. The goal of this part of the workshop was to arm them with ideas so that they could easily start to use Edmodo with their own learners.
“But what about…?”
This section was to give teachers the opportunity voice their concerns about using Edmodo and hopefully to address these. I started with the slide of potential issues (though some had cropped up as the workshop progressed, of course):
- But what if my students don’t like social media?
- But what if my students don’t use Edmodo?
- But what if my students think this is a stupid idea?
- But I don’t have *time* for this!!
- But how do I give feedback?
- But I’m rubbish with technology!
- …any more?
These listed I could address:
- I’ve had students who hate Facebook but love Edmodo. The trick is avoid selling it as Facebook the second. It’s not. It’s a tool to support their language learning and to enable them to communicate in English more than they otherwise could. They may not be too sure about it as first, but just give them time and don’t force it down their throats. It’s an opportunity not a millstone.
- That’s ok. It’s not compulsory to use it. Also, hopefully, as they see course mates using it, and finding it useful, they will want in on the action too! Again, don’t force it. But allow a bit of class time for discussion about it (within discussion about activities using English outside the classroom), so that those who don’t use it are exposed to the experiences of those who have, which will be potentially motivating.
- I haven’t had a student yet who’s thought it’s a stupid idea. Students tend to like things that have been made specially for them – it makes them feel special!
- With regards to time, once you are registered, it’s quick and easy to use. If you use it for homework, then you are only using what time you would be using for marking.
- Feedback can be done in a variety of ways: you can reply to posts with both response to content and corrections, if it’s a case of homework – I usually copy the sentence with the error, put it in quotation marks, then paste it again and correct it, with the corrections capitalised so that they are easier to spot. Alternatively, you could use it for delayed feedback in the classroom – it’s easy to copy and paste to a slide and project it in the classroom.
- With regards to technological prowess, very little is needed in order to use Edmodo. As long as you can type a message in a box where it says “Type your note here”, type in a group or student name where it says “Type the name of a group, student or teacher here” and click send, and as long as you can type a message under student’s note, where it says “type your reply here” and click send, you’re away! Anything else (polls, quizzes etc) is an optional extra. You also don’t need a Facebook account or an email address, or anything else, in order to use it.
The teachers then had time to voice any more, for discussion of how to deal with them.
Finally, I showed them some of my own class pages, so they could see it in action. I had even got some of my students to write a post for me to show the teachers, saying why they like Edmodo (and therefore why it’s good for teachers to use it with students!)
Here is the handout I made for extra reference (made for use in conjunction with the powerpoint, hence lack of screen-shots!)
Here is a copy of my slides (which are mostly step-by-step for how to use Edmodo)
To conclude this post, I’d like to say a big thank you to Sandy Millin, who introduced me to Edmodo, by essentially doing a mini-version of this workshop with me, when I visited her last year! (And also, when I mentioned this workshop to her, for reminding me of the value of an opportunity to play about with it, if you are a teacher coming to it for the first time!)
And thank you, of course, to my DoS, for giving me the opportunity to deliver a workshop to my colleagues, which was a rewarding learning experience.