The 2011 school year is now in full swing. It feels good to be back. I’m really enjoying getting to know the bunch of students I have in the 3/4 unit this year. I feel refreshed and positive after a satisfying break.
My main goal for the first and second week of term one is to get the entire unit of 3/4 students (approx. 170 students) signed up to Edmodo. We already have a head start because most of the grade four students are still signed up from last year. So some of my spare time has been dedicated to omitting the students that have moved on and ‘tidying’ up the groups.
This year I have a larger group of Edmodo ‘experts’ across the grades that are promoting the positive aspects of Edmodo to the new students and my intention is to get these students to be the ‘teachers.’ In fact, it is already happening.
The next step is the parents! We have an information night next Tuesday 15th February and from my experience last year we should expect a rather healthy turn out. One of my favourite tweets from the @edmodo people over the summer break was that they had parent accounts active and ready to go on the site. My intention next week is to allow some keen parents (I think I have at least two or three) that are willing to sign up to Edmodo on the night with a parent account using the Smartboard so all can see the benefits. We will be promoting Edmodo as ‘the norm’, not an extra bonus for the ICT savvy.
If you are unaware of this new parent account feature, I’ve posted a link below to the Edmodo blog.
Now here is my little dilemma! I completely acknowledge that the Ultranet will provide all these things that I am talking about eventually. We are yet to sign parents up and our students have only recently been signed up. We have some dedicated Lead Users on our staff and I am looking forward to the next few steps of our Ultranet experience.
My question is: will the Ultranet and Edmodo be able to live in harmony at BPS?
I’d like to think they can. There are two main facts that I keep coming back to with Edmodo:
1. Edmodo adds new features regularly and they work instantly…in my experience anyway!
2. The interface is so user friendly for students. It looks like something they may have seen before (Facebook, Skype). The spaces are uncluttered and tailored to students across all year levels.
Outlook for me, my colleagues and students…
My thinking is that Edmodo could continue as a tool for instant communication between students and teachers, a place to hand in homework projects, to have ‘live’ discussion about topics, books, units of work etc. and much, much more.
The Ultranet will be the place for all other work, assessment and learning portfolios for my students.
This is me thinking out loud and I welcome comments, questions and musings.
Thanks for reading.