Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Online Mentoring via Edmodo & Google

In December, Dean Shareski, professor at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, put a call out on Twitter for teachers who would be willing to pair with his pre-service student teachers for a virtual mentoring project. While I've mentored pre-service teachers in person (and in New Jersey), doing so online was new for me, and I jumped on the opportunity. Using Edmodo for the virtual classroom space, teachers and students connected from 1,972 miles away.

SRHS to University of Regina = 1,972 mi, approximately 30 hrs driving

I've had the privilege and honor to work with Jozette Sherstabitoff the past few months. Joz connected with students on Edmodo and worked with them on collaborative Google Docs. Joz and I communicated via Edmodo, Gmail and Google Hangouts.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working together, but what is more important are her thoughts on the experience....


My mentoring teacher, Kate, asked me to write a guest post for her blog. Check out Kate’s blog @
When I first entered into this mentoring program, I was a little hesitant. First off, I am a middle years person and Kate teaches senior English. I was a little intimated to start, not knowing what I could offer her. However, as the semester progressed, I realized that the difference between our teaching levels did not necessarily matter. I was still able to learn many new things that can be applied to my level of teaching.
Here are some reflections on what we have done and what we have learned.
What have Kate and I been doing this semester?
  • Commenting on assignments in Edmodo
  • Commenting on papers in Google Docs
  • Having a Google Hangout with the students
  • Making a video for students to watch
  • Creating a quiz on Edmodo for students to complete after watching my video
What are the benefits of being mentored?
  • Learning new tools. The biggest thing I took out of mentoring is Edmodo. Edmodo is like an online classroom, where Kate can upload videos, assignments and quizzes. It is a great way to have students collaborate online and outside of the classroom. Edmodo is also great for reducing paper use!
    • I can use Edmodo in the middle years just the same way Kate uses it at the senior level. I could upload videos for students to watch during class and after class. Assessments can be taken online just the same as at the senior level.
  • Learning new teaching styles. I was exposed to the flip classroom idea through Kate. I have heard about the idea before and was able to see some models throughout her class. The exposure will benefit me in the future if it is a style I choose to adopt.
  • Learning new assessment techniques. Kate got me thinking about assessment in general and the styles I use.
    • The assessment she uses can be applied to middle years level. For example, Kate uses a rubric called OSU (outstanding, satisfactory, unsatisfactory) and gives students a mark from it. The rubric can be used to assess at the middle years level.
The main benefit of being mentored is the thinking that happens! Kate always had me thinking about what I would do differently, what I like, and what I do not like about her class and education in general.
What are the benefits of being a mentor?
  • Reflecting on assignments. Kate keeps me updated on the learning that is happening in her classroom. While telling me what is being taught, I believe she is able to reflect upon the significance of their tasks.
  • Getting another opinion. Kate explains what the students are doing and how she is assessing them. When Kate tells me about the assignments and assessments she is able to ask my opinion, what I would do differently, what I like, etc. Kate is able to see a different perspective through my answers, and justify her own reasons by explaining what she does to me.
  • Another set of eyes on her students. Kate asked me what I thought about her student’s online identity. Having another aspiring teacher look over student work is a pure benefit for the students. They have another proof reader to help them be successful.
The main benefit of being a mentor is the reflection that happens. I think Kate is able to reflect on her teaching by showing me what she does.
I would like to thank Kate for the experience she has given me. I enjoyed her, and her students very much. Thank you for taking me in!!! :)

In addition, check out our Google Hangout discussing technology integration in the classroom.

Be sure to follow Jozette Sherstabitoff on Twitter @jshersty and read about her other adventures in teaching on her blog
And as a culminating project for the teachers and students involved in this mentoring experience, Dean Shareski organized a virtual lip dub of Chris Hadfield and the Barenaked Ladies'  song, "Is Somebody Singing." Take a look at the locations of the participants. Pretty darn cool.

Thanks again to Joz & Dean for this opportunity, and Edmodo and Google for making it happen!  

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