Sunday, October 27, 2013

The SUM of an Amazing Summer

This summer has been amazing, revitalizing, evolutionary, and ... and ... and... for my professional development. I could have written 20 posts about the events this summer, but I had no time to write! So, I will just sum it all up here.... I'm still having trouble slowing down my brain to get the thoughts on this page. Stop me in the hall, catch me on Edmodo, tweet to me, and I will just start gushing out of control.

Between attending FlipCon 2013, EdcampHome, EdmodoCon 2013, Google Apps Training & TeachMeetNJ, working with the Gobstopper folks, AND having the release of my first ever contribution-to-a-third-party-published-book (Flipping 2.0) AND meeting face to face with some amazing folks from my PLN, I couldn't have asked for a better summer.  Seriously.

When I look at how much I have evolved as a professional educator in the past year, I am astounded at the exponential rate at which I have learned so much from the talented educators I've had the pleasure of collaborating and interacting with on Twitter, Edmodo, and this blog. Sounds redundant, "professional educator," but really it isn't--everything I have been doing has been outside of the classroom, yet still grounded in my teaching practice.

I constantly get asked, "When do you sleep? How do you have time for all of this?" I make time because I love it, and I honestly go to bed at 10 pm every night.

Hey Edmodo Users, Are Your Groups Secure?

With the start of the school year off to a running start, it is important to address some key items that will insure success of your groups and prevent some not so nice things from occurring. I'm an avid Edmodo with Edmodo serving as the hub of my virtual classroom, but I learned a valuable lesson two weeks ago concerning the security of my groups and the trustworthiness of my students.

As an Edtech advocate, I'm always willing to try out new tools and I'm adamant about teaching digital citizenship. My students learn long before they enter my classroom what is appropriate online behavior, but I'm guilty of being too trusting and assuming that my students know one basic rule about digital citizenship: don't share passwords, or in the case of Edmodo, group codes.

Two weeks ago, one of my student shared the code to one of my Edmodo groups with his friend. This friend decided it would be funny to make a fake Edmodo account, join my group, and post very inappropriate items to my class. Edmodo Support was lightning fast in deleting the offensive postings and disabling the fake account, but some parents and students saw the items. Long story short, Edmodo Support traced the fake account to an IP address used by a real student, and my administration was able to suspend the student for breaking the district's acceptable use policy. While this story has somewhat of a happy ending with the perpetrator getting caught and punished, the inappropriate posting could have been prevented by me with just two quick clicks in Edmodo group settings.

Please heed my advice and make sure your groups are secure. By locking group codes and moderating posts, we can make sure that one bad apple won't spoil the entire barrel. To learn how, view this quick screencast. In less than one minute, you can prevent inappropriate use.