Blog Archive

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Edmodo as our Social Community Space for Teachers, Coaches, and Admin

Image representing Edmodo as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase
We are moving along with rapid speed as we roll out an intra-outra social space and environment for our teachers and students. By attacking the social learning platform via adults first; our hope is that the ridiculously easy user-interface, familiarity with other tools that most teachers already use in their personal lives, and direct relevance to their professional growth plans and objectives for the coming year, make it a tool they are comfortable using with students. By not explicitly laying out any mandates or requirements, my hope is that our communities grow organically and purposefully over time.
What_is_social_learning
What we are learning is that, while there are SO many reasons to use this tool with our students, its use for professional learning needs some features that are not available by default. And, rather than create workarounds, we are hoping (fingers-crossed) that Edmodo can address these issues in their next iteration or update from the development team. Here's a quick synopsis of what we feel would make this the killer social learning tool for adults we are needing.
Collaborative folders stories…
  • When collaborating between teachers on grade level, vertical, admin, and data teams it would be helpful if we could have a "shared folder" option where any of the three teachers could upload a lesson plan into one space. 
    • Taking the idea of data teams one step farther, the largest complaint we hear is that folks want the opportunity to share and collaborate on the data virtually. This would require us to be able to allow ALL team members to upload and download documents into a single folder. 
  • For the teacher effectiveness coaches; we would like the ability to have a central repository in edmodo where lesson plans, instructional tasks aligned to the common core, and evaluations or coaching templates could be uploaded and then downloaded or shared with other coaches. We NEED the ability for any of our coaches in these groups to be able to upload what they believe to be best practice templates and models without having to go and hunt them down via older discussions or posts. 
  • The Teacher Leadership academy is 300+ teachers strong. Edmodo will be a great place for us to centralize the sharing, but we are attacking this as an organic bottom-up and top-down approach; which requires us to trust the leaders that they could very well have better examples of what the central staff believes are best practice lessons, or tasks aligned with the common core. 
    • We HAVE to avoid more top down sharing. If it's central uploading all the documents, tasks, templates, etc there will be a large decrease in buy-in. We want and need everyone to have the opportunity to upload to folders. 
Email selected as the default in notification stories…
  • As we bring more and more less techie teachers and administrators into edmodo we need the ability to send important blasts to individuals and teams of teachers. We don't want to lock the ability for them to change their notifications, but we want the default to be that if they are a member of a group, they receive notification of the post (what they do after is their choice, read, delete, etc) 
  • If we decide to use edmodo for the new teacher cohort (400+) we need to know that they will receive our messages and notifications by default. We are trying to save time from doing one-offs and instead we would like to be abel to answer a troubleshooting question or other in one space and that everyone would receive notification of this response. 
PLN Group codes avilable in a menu, two stories for this one…
  • First, if I'm a teacher interested in collaborating with other 4th grade teachers across the district, it would be great to be able to search and request access to an existing 4th grade group. 
  • Secondly, as the admin, I would like to be able to push codes and "suggest" networks of teachers for a teacher to join around a specific idea or expectation. Each teacher is working on two expectations in their growth plan, (example classroom management and standards based goals). We want the communities of practice to become a machine of sharing, learning labs, and collaborative discussion and planning. We can only do this if folks know who else is working on similar goals and if there are groups already in existence that they can join…otherwise we will have isolated and siloed sharing occurring.
We are really excited about the interest that our teachers, curriculum departments, instructional superintendents, coaches, leaders, and community managers are showing in the possibility of this tool.


images courtesy of edmodo and inGenius
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