I can’t quite believe my last post was so long ago! Life has been racing along at its usual hectic pace. Perhaps I haven’t felt the need to blog because I have been having so much fun playing with Edmodo with my classes and hanging out in the Edmodo language arts community and on the English Companion Ning. If you haven’t tried Edmodo yet and you have classes with DER laptops you have to try it. It makes life so much easier! Without a great deal of effort you can be “integrating technology”, sometimes without even trying.
My Year 11 class have been handing in their writing assignments this term using Edmodo assignments feature. This has been a revelation. A high rate of return, straight from laptop to me, no messy email attachments, and I have actually enjoyed marking them “online”. I could have used Word comments or got them to save to PDF and used various markup tools but that would have meant saving their work and attaching a file to the “Note” I left for them. Too many extra processes. So, I opened the file, read the work and began commenting on their work in the “Note” box as I read – a bit like a think aloud. It didn’t take long, my comments were much longer (and probably easier to read) and I found myself putting more responsibility on the kids. For example, since I couldn’t underline spelling mistakes I would say “You have five spelling mistakes”. This put the onus on the student to find them, a learning experience in itself. Interestingly by the last piece there NO spelling mistakes in any kids writing.
I also found that my comments were more explicit. Perhaps because, even though they could only be seen by the student, it was after all cyberspace and we all know that once something is in cyberspace it is there forever and will come back to haunt us one day. I think I was careful to write comments that were clear, supportive, constructive and that I would happily defend now, or anytime in the future. That is, they were clearly evidence based and I used the evidence in the comment.
The kids seem to enjoy using Edmodo. We have a bit of ‘chat’ going on during lessons which is minimal, not distracting, comes up on the IWB so I get a laugh too, and probably keeps the real world chat to a minimum. Using Edmodo everyday has also meant ALL of my Year 11 students bring their laptops to school!!!!! How cool is that!