Monday, July 30, 2012

Using Edmodo in the Classroom

I became a huge fan of Edmodo a couple years ago. I tried it out with my 5th and 6th graders a couple years back and it was an immediate hit. I probably use it quite differently than most teachers. In the past, I have not really used it for students to hand in assignments or grades but more for social networking, practicing internet safety/ netiquette, sharing finished projects and simply getting to know my students better. 

Since we use it in my technology class, majority of my posts are tech related. However, I do throw in some “just for fun” posts for their entertainment. Also, it’s a great tool to help my shy students come out of their shell a little bit. Overall, with the help of Edmodo, not only do they really think about the technology they are using or learn about it but I give them a platform to interact with other students in a safe environment.  I monitor EVERYTHING! This year, I am making a couple changes and I plan on using the "Quiz" feature, having students submit some assignments like their Word Processing documents and I plan on adding 4th graders to the mix so that should be exciting.

With that being said, there are several types of weekly posts I post on Edmodo.  It usually ranges from 10-15 posts on Monday and then I’ll interact with the students throughout the week. It usually takes me about 20-30 minutes to post everything Monday morning. Below you will find examples of what is posted on my threads.
  • Rules-In the beginning, I post my rules daily; sometimes twice a day. If I update my rules, I alert them. Since we are just starting off and I do not want the feeds being filled with silly posts or a student just saying hi, I inform students they are not allowed to initiate posts. Some will try and they get deleted. Also, I send them a friendly reminder to follow our rules. I find this important because with 300-350 students, if I gave them free reign to post anything, a lot of students would miss out on my posts that I would like them to respond to. 
  • Edmodo Star of the Week-Once they get the gist of my expectations, I will choose an Edmodo Star of the Week. I base this on students that interact on my posts, are courteous and respectful, and try their best with correct spelling, punctuation and capitalization. These star students get free reign for the week and are allowed to initiate posts and provide me with polls they would like me to post.
  • Say Hello Thread-Since I do not allow the students to post a simple “hi” or “hello” that will clog our feeds, I start a “Say Hello” thread every week. Here students can stop by, say hello to all their friends and see who is on Edmodo. 
  •   Tech Trivia Question of the Week
  •    Computer Joke of the Week          
  • Cool Computer Art
  • Polls (Technology & Just for Fun)-One thing I learned using Edmodo is students are ADDICTED to polls. They love answering them and seeing how others answer. I usually post one technology related poll and one “just for fun” poll.
  •          Family Feud
  •       “LOL” Learn Our Language Text of the Week
  • Cool Technology Facts
Other types of posts you might find on our feeds…
  • Depending on the holiday, I’ll post trivia, jokes and polls related to that holiday as well.
  • Optical Illusions (always a hit!)
  • Congratulate specific students on a job well done or specific achievements
  • Websites related to topics they are studying
  • Word Games
  • Computer Tricks
  • Start a Story *I'll start a story and they continue it with writing 2-3 lines. 
  • Photo of the day *on special days, I’ll let them post a photo relating to the criteria I listed. (i.e. pets, nature, family)
  • Apps of the Week –since a lot of my students have iPhones or iPads, I’ll post free apps they can download. (with parental permission of course)
So in a nutshell, that’s how I use Edmodo in the classroom. I plan on brainstorming and adding a few more fun topics to my threads this next year. 

What about you? 

How do you use Edmodo? I'd love to hear!

Have a great week!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Welcome to Berkery Bytes!

Hi there! 

I’m so excited to start this educational technology blog. I want to thank one of my closest friends, Michelle for helping me come up with a name Berkery Bytes! It’s perfect!  Another thank you goes to Alicia at Dreamlike Magic Designs for the adorable design and helping me with installation. I absolutely love the look!

As for my blog, I hope to post everything and anything having to do with technology in the classroom. Not only do I hope to inspire teachers with new ideas but I hope my students (and their parents) will stop by to read what we are (or will be) doing in class or stop by to see their work on display.  

Feel free to say hello and stay tuned for new posts this week.  And don’t forget to visit my website for a ton of educational links to use in and out of the classroom. 

Have a wonderful week!