Friday, August 30, 2013

EdmodoCon 2013 Guest Post #7: L. Neumann from SWEDEN!

Guest post #7 is from Lotta Neumann, a teacher of Swedish and English language and language arts at Falkenbergs gymnasieskola in Falkenberg, Sweden, instructing 16-19 year old students. The school has been 1:1 since 2010, and Lotta is fortunate enough to be able to work with the finding and implementation of digital resources and best practices. Lotta has been using Edmodo since May 2012, and really appreciates "the global teachers' lounge" that Edmodo creates. 

Here is her recap of Edmodocon 2013:

In Sweden Edmodo Con started at 4pm. I had already declined one party invitation and told my family that I would be indisposed during the evening.  I hadn’t really bothered to look at the program, partly because even if my English is good, I still find it hard coping with the special lingo from the various curricula. I have started to get my head around the British school system and think I might understand what the Common Core is, and Stibaly Johnson’s talk about how to use Edmodo definitely inspired me anyway.

The program seemed more airy than last year - there was time to make cups of coffee and my husband even managed to time dinner, not in the lunch break (that would have been at 10pm, Swedish time) but in between Patrick Fogarty and the Classroom Gymnastics. I missed the first couple of minutes of that and dropped in on the two very wise ladies Kate Baker and Liz Calderwood juggling the BOYD, blended learning and flipping, aided by Edmodo.

I never tweeted much, but these guys kept delivering one-liners that I’m considering printing and putting up on my office walls, and I wanted the few people that for some reason follow me to hear!

At about midnight, when Kevyn Klein did a brilliant run-through of my favourite Edmodo functions, I felt like it was time to call it a day, and a brilliant PD day it had been! I even said my thank yous and goodbyes in the backchannel group on Edmodo, and got some friendly waves back. But then I was just slightly curious about the Digital Citizenship talk, and got stuck in the interesting discussion. It got me thinking about how I could make use of the mentoring time when I get a new class this year...

Bijal Damani was amazingly inspiring! Her talk would restore the faith in humanity for most people; Yes, kids CAN do amazing things, and love to help others. Not every school may have the same support from the students’ parents, but we should certainly not hesitate to encourage and believe in the ability of young people to complete complex projects. And I was wide awake again.

Anna Davila’s thoughts on building leadership skills in the classroom was well in line with my own, and I found myself not nodding off, but nodding in agreement to everything she said. But now my contacts was really almost falling out of my eyes and I decisively closed my laptop, after saying good night.

Feeling I was missing out a bit, I crept into my bedroom, thinking about all the lovely people I had met and chatted with during the evening; learning so much and getting so much inspiration. I was already longing for the next EdmodoCon. And the participation badge....

And I had finally seen the point of Twitter!


Next year, I’m going to host a EdmodoCon party! With nibbles.

I connected with Lotta via Twitter during EdmodoCon, and, as you can see, good teaching and effective learning practices are universal, no matter the language spoken. 

Thank you, Lotta! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

EdmodoCon 2013 Guest Post #6: L. Butler

Guest post #6 is submitted by Lisa Butler, a middle school Spanish and Social Studies teacher in Hershey, PA. Lisa has been using Edmodo for 2.5 years and hosted an EdmodoCon viewing party, and "enjoyed both learning from the passionate speakers and the parallel discussions we had because of the sessions." In addition to creating Animoto videos, Lisa is active on Twitter (@SrtaLisa), writes about educational technology topics on her blog, and enjoys attending educational conferences.  Lisa and I were lucky to connect during EdCamp Philly this past Spring!

Check out Lisa's Animoto video on EdmodoCon 2013


EdmodoCon 2013 Guest Post #5: J. Karabinas

Guest post #5 is written by Jaclyn Karabinas, a 3rd and 4th grade looping teacher from Hampton Falls, NH. Jaclyn started using Edmodo 1.5 years ago and has been busy getting other staff members on board. According to Jaclyn, "The possibilities with Edmodo are endless.  This was my first ever post about Edmodo, reflecting on what I started to notice about how it joined my students together and helped students to communicate..." As you read, think about how Edmodo can fuel your classroom.


Can you think of a time when you had a question? Of course you can—
Can you think of a time when you had a question but:
A. Couldn’t get a word in edgewise
B. Weren’t quite sure how to word it
C. Thought someone might judge you
D. You actually didn’t have one- but now you do- and it is too late!!!
Questioning.  Hands-down the most important skill that will further our learning at any given point in time, yet some learners may have barriers.  Consider the pace of thinking among learners in your classroom.  Teachers know that students need “wait time” and while that can be challenging to remember sometimes, wait time is only one management strategy.  We can have students turn and talk, we can have them journal their current thinking and questioning- but what if the question happens at home? Or interrupts the creative process during an assignment? Asking parents is not always helpful, no matter how willing and intelligent they may be, because the parents were not in the class that day- they have not been read-in on the experiential details!
For us as humans, thoughts can appear and disappear in seconds, no matter our age. Young learners do not necessarily have all the access and all the tools that we have.  So let’s give them what they need. Read the following plea of questions, and pause to absorb the imagery it provides:
Mrs. K I am stuck writing about the adveture from the point- of- view of [Sacajawea] . I have no clue I really have no clue. I guest that I have writers block. What should I do about it . I wiil try to thing about what I can do about it. I don’t what I should now. Should I justdo or not. Should I holed off from it or not. I have no clue what to do . Can you please help me please.
A handful of very important things have happened:
First, she is clearly trying to do her best, yet feels stuck, so she aims her question to a trusted source.  Second, she thought to USE that source, or was encouraged to-and did-despite struggles with writing. (This probably took her 10 minutes to write.) Third, she didn’t have to cry to a parent to get them to write a note, just to hand it to me the next day with a defeated look.  Finally, and most importantly, she could get it off her chest so that the next morning I could greet her and say, “Hey! I got your message.  Let me help you later today during Writer’s Workshop.” I mean, it’s one assignment and it’s about the learning, wherever it happens!
How does this happen?
Edmodo is a Social Learning Platform- think secure Facebook for classes/schools  Carefully instructing students how to use this platform is key.  Knowing that is a learning tool for communication and information sharing is central to its success.  Creating a space where teachers and learners can share information in an asynchronous (without time constraints) environment allows process time for ALL. Whether you are the student that is still gaining the confidence to speak up or the student who process at a much slower pace than your peers, you get the benefit of sharing your thinking in your time. Of course, establishing guidelines for appropriate use is extremely important, especially so students and teachers have an understanding about the platform’s purpose and that you will not be sitting at your computer all night at the students’ disposal! The nuts and bolts of use are for another day- today I want to talk about the power it hands to kids by placing this tool in their kit.
What else?
A few students have posted questions on the weekend, and perhaps I didn’t see them until Monday, but again- I can still let them know that they have been heard.  The few kids on my mind would not necessarily remember the question come Monday morning, for a variety of reasons.  But posting it to me on Edmodo gets it in print and in my hands- no strong memory needed! Students with anxiety? This helps in numerous ways!  Another student began to find links that enhanced our study of Biographies.  He was able to post these so others could benefit.  When one girl accessed these sites, she was extremely thankful to the fellow student.  I replied, “I am so glad you like information sharing!” She responds, “I don’t just like it, I LOVE it!”
I can post sites for all students to access and catalog in personal libraries called “backpacks” but most importantly I can directly and privately post sites and information to differentiate for individuals. No more asking, “What was that site?” or wondering “I think I typed it in wrong!”  However, individuals with “student status” can only post to the whole class.  The latter is a feature that is really important for security and teacher monitoring. During an intense class project, I was able to post a poll asking if they felt prepared to move forward, which gave me clear information about their perception of confidence.  Edmodo became a home base, teaching us as a class its power for the remainder of the year.
Not all of my students are into it.  And that is the best part, because that makes it truly a differentiated tool. We still have a lot to learn, but for now, I will add it to my toolkit.
                                                                                                                               *question mark image retrieved from
*Edmodo logo retrieved from

If you would like to contribute and share a EdmodoCon 2013 post, please submit!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

EdmodoCon 2013 Guest Post #4: D. Easterling

Our fourth guest blog post is written by Dara Easterling, a Catholic elementary school teacher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dara has been teaching for almost 14 years and loves helping young children to learn about and use technology in a productive and creative way.

Hello all,

I want to share one experience in particular while watching an EdmodoCon session online.  The one experience was with a session called "Classroom Gymnastics"presented by Kate and Liz.  First, let me just say the presenters were phenomenal.  Second, the resources provided in the presentation and in the folders associated with the Edmodo group are very easy to understand and will help me in my flipping.

Lastly, that there is not just a one size fit all model to communication, collaboration, and instruction within learning.  It takes flexibility and a willingness to attempt new things in order to move forward.

When you think of gymnastics, particularly women's gymnastics there are the following elements.  I am using these elements to outline what I got from watching and listening to the session.

-  preparation is key (lesson template along with timing of lesson; gathering of resources)
-  student participation is key no matter how limited it may be
-  working technology is important

-  Edmodo
-  equipment (iPad, laptop, etc.)
-  classroom or other learning environment
-  apps or Web 2.0 tools

-  built in assessment tool with Edmodo
-  ability to complete a skill in the routine

Completion of Skill 
-  video clips or other presentation to show what was learned and how growth came about
-  collaboration

All of these things I plan to meld together during the upcoming school year and hopefully end up with my students and I earning a perfect "10" for our routine.

Thank you, Dara, for attending EdmodoCon 2013 and the compliments! I anticipate the you and your students will be Olympians in the sport of learning!

You can read about Dara's adventures in elementary education on her blog, Kontemporary Kreations. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

EdmodoCon Guest Post #3: M.Valois

Our third guest post comes from Megan Valois, a high school History/English teacher in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Megan is the guest moderator on the Canadian Ed Chat (#cdnedchat) on Twitter who enjoys expanding her PLN and learning about new tech tools to improve her teaching and class experience. Here is Megan's recap of EdmodoCon 2013.

On Tuesday, I participated in a virtual conference - a professional learning opportunity - called #Edmodocon. It was presented by the good people over at the #Edmodo app/website. 

If you aren't familiar, Edmodo is a social learning platform for schools, often called the "Facebook" for schools because its format is similar. Edmodo has many advantages for many reasons. It's a great, safe place for teachers and students to connect; students can post questions, submit assignments, create projects, access notes, join discussion groups, and much more.  Students need access codes to join a class so it's secure and safe. Check it out:

#Edmodocon provided educators with the chance to 'virtually' participate in a full day conference to learn more about the amazing ways to utilize Edmodo for classroom learning and success. More than 20,000 educators globally tuned in! There were several sessions throughout the day by presenters on a range of topics, including digital citizenship, project based learning, "flipping" the classroom, building leadership capacity and more! 

Some of my take-aways from the sessions were:

1 - Using Edmodo for literature circles
2 - Ways to teach students how to be better digital citizens
3 - New apps (compatible with Edmodo) to try - ie: Explain Everything
4- Re-emphasis on what I already knew about how amazing project based learning is
5- Flipping the classroom

Patrick Fogarty's session: Access, Engagement, and Equality with Edmodo was one of my favourites. Loved his "30 second lesson" ideas, where students can create a video in "30 seconds" about a key concept. This is a great way to teach the skill of summarizing main ideas! You can build on this by having students string together a series of related '30 second lessons' too! 

He also reminded us about the core philosophy of differentiated instruction - my biggest passion. He shared: "It's professional malpractice giving kids work they can't access in multiple ways". To meet the needs of all learners, we must give opportunities for choice! 

Flipping the classroom/BYOD by Kate Baker and Liz Calderwood was another gem. The idea of classroom flipping is "a form of blended learning in which students watch lectures online and work on problem sets with other students in class. This approach allows teachers to spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing. This is also known as backwards classroomreverse instructionflipping the classroom and reverse teaching."[1][2] 

I am already a huge proponent of BYOD and am very intrigued by flipping the classroom. It's definitely something I'd like to try, even for just a few lessons, to see how it works. The advantages are so very clear - that more time spent actually working out problems in class with teacher support will benefit the students. My fear, of course, is that the 'homework' of watching the lesson won't be done and then the in-class time would be wasted. Does anyone have suggestions for me or guidance about this? Would love your feedback because I am really keen on trying this if I can wrap my head around how to make it work! The ladies in this session were engaging and passionate; it was a great watch! 

One of the more powerful moments of the day was Sheryl Sandberg's virtual address as part of the Lean In organization. She reminds us that we are "teaching future leaders". Her talk was about gender stereotypes in leadership and what we can do to promote leadership among young girls and women.  Check it out here:

Thank you #Edmodo for a great conference! I already look forward to next year!

Thank YOU, Megan for your recap! 

You can connect with Megan and read about her academic adventures at her blog

If you would like to contribute and share a EdmodoCon 2013 post, please submit!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

EdmodoCon Guest Post #2: N. Dale

Our 2nd guest blog post in the series is by Nira Dale, a 9th grade English teacher in Florence, Alabama, and a very active member of the Language Arts community on Edmodo. You can follow Mrs. Dale's educational adventures on her very impressive blog: Mrs. Dale is a whiz with implementing tech tools in her classroom. Take a look at what she learned during EdmodoCon 2013.

from EdmodoCon 2013

  1. Create CCSS Edmodo quizzes that strategically tie standards to each question for even more comprehensive feedback.(Stibaly Johnson)
  2. Navigate and utilize the Common Core Consortium website.(Stibaly Johnson)
  3. Attempt to "Meyerize" my English class--Not sure exactly how yet...But I'm determined... (Kim McMonagle)
  4. Flip the learning inside out by assigning my students a block of time to create "30 sec. Lessons" (Patrick Fogarty)
  5. Organize my lessons and relative resources into eTexts --iBook Author (Patrick Fogarty)
  6. BACK CHANNELING (Edmodocon.)
  7. "Let students digitize their work samples by having them take a picture of their written work for assessment.( Kate Baker/ Liz Calderwood)
  8. Use Mp3 apps for students who are not as comfortable with video presentations. Audio podcast allow students to focus mainly on speaking and listening--CCSS :-) (Kate Baker/ Liz Calderwood)
  9. Set a goal to go paperless! (Melissa Butler/ Kate Baker)
  10. Have students create a fictitious commercial in a project-based learning activity to support their conclusions/ stand on the given issue--Make it very real-world. (Bijal Damani)
  11. COLLABORATION STATIONS~ Use physical space and available devices for "collaboration stations" (Denise Yamashita)

I hope to apply these strategies as soon as my school year begins.

--Nira Dale English 9

Mrs. Dale also curated on her site session videos from EdmodoCon. For impatient participants (read: me) anxiously waiting for the release of the archives, Mrs. Dale's videos were very helpful! I'm so impressed with Nira Dale that I gave her a shout out during EdmodoCon. 

Nira ROCKS, so be sure to connect with her!

If you would like to contribute and share a EdmodoCon 2013 post, please submit!

Monday, August 12, 2013

EdmodoCon Guest Post #1: L. Monge

Our first EdmodoCon Guest Post is brought to us by Laura Monge from Rancho Palos Verde, California. Laura is starting her 27th year of teaching and is obviously excited by all this crazy tech stuff. Looking forward to going paperless, Laura will be piloting a BYOD 1:1 iPad 4/5 combo classroom this year. Like what you see? Laura will be presenting at CUE in Napa in October!  Way to go, Laura Monge!

Yesterday I woke up about quarter to 7 in the morning, opened my emails, and saw this reminder that Edmodocon would be starting at 7:00 a.m. Since this was my first time experiencing Edmodocon, I had zero expectation or thoughts about what it would entail.

I tuned in right from the start of the live stream program, still in my pjs. Little did I know what I was in for...the day was filled with some of the most amazing speakers!  Some were educators, some technology specialists in their school districts, some Edmodo staff. These people speaking were from all over the world, and Edmodo had flown them in for the event.

As each person shared the ways they had utilized the Edmodo site with their students, a code was given out to the audience to join that person's Edmodo page, with all the videos, ideas and handouts included on that page. In real time, we, the audience, commented and asked questions on the Edmodo page and on the live stream.  It was a real collaboration!

I watched the presentations on my iPad. I took notes on my iPhone as each speaker shared their amazing ideas for using Edmodo in the classroom. Although I used Edmodo last year with my students for communication, sharing videos, and flipping the classroom, there are polls, assignments, quizzes, school planner features I need to add to my repertoire.

I will be making an iMovie of what I learned and saw yesterday! Amazing!

I had to do it! Had to make an iMovie synthesizing the massive amount of innovative information shared yesterday at Edmodocon! Here it is!

Thank you, Laura for attending EdmodoCon 2013 and sharing your experience! You can connect with Laura on Google+ and at her blog, Laura Monge's Blog Page.

If you would like to contribute and share a EdmodoCon 2013 post, please submit!

Friday, August 9, 2013

COMING ATTRACTIONS! Edmodocon Recaps! Guest Posts!

I am so awed, overwhelmed, and overjoyed with presenting at Edmodocon 2013 and meeting phenomenal, inspiring educators.  Let me just say, I am BEAMING and get GOOSEBUMPS every time I talk about it with my home PLN.

 It was just...yeah... No words, just beaming smiles and goosebumps. Mind has been blown and Baker can't talk--as Liz and anyone else who has worked with me can attest, this is a miracle!

Screenshot of Liz & I at EdmodoCon. Photo Credit: N. Dale
As soon as I can process this and find the words,  I will be writing a series of blog posts on Edmodocon and the presentation Liz Calderwood and I gave.

In the meantime, I'd like to put a call out to all you wonderful and amazing readers...

For those of you who attended the conference, virtually or in person, please share your experiences as a guest post on my blog. I'd love to hear from you, the audience, about your experience with Edmodocon!  Great take-aways? Favorites? Recaps? Share, share share! Your submission can be in written, audio, or video form. 

Just complete the form below and provide a link to where I can find your submission and I will copy/paste into a post here. For those of you who don't have your own blog or are unsure, this is super easy because you don't have to worry about design: I'll do that for you! And if you already published it on your blog, I don't mind! Posts will go up ASAP. You keep 'em coming, I'll keep posting them! My only stipulation is that you demonstrate appropriate and professional digital citizenship. #JustSayin'

There is one very important thing that was evident during Edmodocon that I can put into words right now:

Using Edmodo as a management and communication system has transformed my teaching, learning, and connectivity, but it is the PEOPLE who created, maintain, and use Edmodo that make all this magic happen. The tool is leverage to lift the load of learning. No matter the tool you use, it is the PEOPLE who matter most.

Thank you to Edmodo and all the educators, students, administrators, and support staff who use Edmodo. If you thought I was fired up before, just wait and see what I'm going to do to next. Radiating, blazing, Edu-awesomeness! I hope you will join me, because...

 We make each other better, together.