I wished I loved Evernote as much as I love the idea of Evernote. The idea is awesome, right? Multiple notebooks, being able to type and clip and organize, all at my fingertips . . .having my students use multiple notebooks, being able to type and clip and organizer, all at their fingertips, and being able to share everything with me . . .
In theory, it sounded incredible.
In reality, it left a lot to be desired, although I will chalk that up to two factors: a) it was early in the year and eighth graders have a hard time transitioning to eighth grade and b) I wasn't as consistent with using the app as I should have been.
What Didn't Work
Overall, using Evernote in my classroom was a B-/C+ experience. Have you used Evernote with your students? If so, please share your experiences in the comments!
I am in love with Today’s Meet, and even better, my students love it as well. Our Instructional Support Specialist suggested it to me when I was looking for a way to introduce technology into the traditional Socratic Seminar.
If you’re not familiar with Today’s Meet, it’s very similar to Twitter or Tumblr, except it’s set up in “rooms.” I open a room, post a link to Edmodo, my kids join the room. I post a question or prompt, and they respond in up to 140 characters. The conversation updates in real time, and for a BYOT room where not every kid has a device, it works well because kids love to pair up and formulate answers together. We can gather evidence, brainstorm outlines, discuss what we read . . . the possibilities are endless.
Usually, I give students a few moments to post, then we discuss the conversation whole-group and curate the answers, deleting repetitive or irrelevant items. Once we’ve done that, I can save the transcript as a PDF and make it available via Edmodo.
Another way I’ve used Today’s Meet is to have two discussions going on simultaneously – a traditional Socratic Seminar in the middle of the room, while students outside the circle post to the same questions via Today’s Meet. After a few minutes, the groups swap places. This works well because students who may be reticent to speak in a group discussion often post great insights to Today’s Meet. Again, we can debrief the conversation as a whole and save the transcript.
The only downside I have had is having the occasional student who will join with a false name and post off topic comments, trying to be funny. This can be avoided by having students create a user profile and setting your room so that only registered users can join. In my case, all it took was a stern warning that misusing technology could mean we used less of it and voila! no more off topic funniness.
Overall, I adore Today’s Meet and the opportunities it brings to my classroom. Have you used this website? If so, please share. If you know of a similar site you’d love to share, tell us about that also!
Educators have access to a plethora of technology, applications, platforms and other electronic wonders to make the task of teaching easier. I, for one, admittedly get overwhelmed, especially when I’m exposed to multiple new electronic resources at once. I’m all for jumping in, taking risks, and using various technologies, but I also know that I require time to really know if a resource is the one for me or not.
This is my second year using Edmodo as a classroom teacher. I’ve also been able to use Edmodo in the parent and student roles. Our school had a 60-day plan devoted to utilizing Edmodo schoolwide last year, and I credit this exposure for helping me quickly acclimate to the platform. Also, because we were using the app schoolwide, our students are all familiar with it, which makes incorporating it so much easier.
Having used Edmodo longterm, I can say this app is definitely one for me.
How I Use It and What I Like
I post assignments, reminders, documents, links . . . basically everything . . . to Edmodo. I can post openings and closings, give quizzes (which are graded for me!), place daily reminders on the planner, have students turn work in (want to quickly see who didn’t turn in an assignment? Click the Not Turned In tab. Whoo!), drop all our documents and links into folders . . . it’s more like what can’t I do with Edmodo? I like to think of the app as a gateway into our class, that’s open during class hours and beyond. I check into Edmodo a couple of times each evening as students post questions when working on homework or studying, but I have often found that students answer each other before I answer them. Edmodo boasts that its purpose is to connect people, and as middle schoolers thrive on connection, I find the app really does make these connections, between students and me, between students and students, and between students and their learning.
What I’m Not Crazy About
Edmodo frustrates parents. I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had with parents where they tell me they can’t see their child’s assignments or can’t figure out their child’s grade or . . . you get the idea. The parents’ view is limited to protect the privacy of all students in a group. I’ve taken to giving mini-tours of Edmodo during Open House or parent conferences, showing parents how to view the planner. I also make sure if I am sending out an assignment reminder, an important link, an alert or other key post, I include parents. This means if they have the Edmodo app on their personal device, they receive a notification and can see what I’m sending to students. This practice continues to protect students’ privacy, but keeps parents connected at the same time.
Overall, Edmodo has become one of my favorite teacher tools. Do you use Edmodo with your classes? If so, what tips do you have for the rest of us?