Advice, please! Formative, Edmodo, and fun with one-to-one technology?


#1

Hello, everyone!

Can anyone tell me about using Formative and Edmodo together? I am changing teaching positions for the 2018-19 school year, and my new school uses Edmodo as its classroom/homework management system. I have never used it before. Edmodo fans, what do you like about it? Does it play nicely with Formative? If not, what issues should I be prepared for?

Also–and please forgive the sheer geeky glee here–my new school is one-to-one. Every single student has a Macbook Air. I cannot wait to see what truly paperless, tech-based teaching and learning looks like. Formative colleagues with one-to-one classrooms, will you share your experiences? How do you structure your classes? Do you make every activity paperless, or do you use a balance of digital and traditional materials? What strategies work for making sure students are using their devices appropriately? What do you like about being one-to-one? What pitfalls should I watch out for?

Sorry: I know that is a breathless spate of questions. Any and all advice and ideas would be very welcome.

Gratefully,
Claire


#2

Our school is 1-to-1 with Chromebooks in our middle school.

Some of the benefits we have noticed:

  1. Guaranteed access to their homework assignments and extra resources while at school (most of our students also have WiFi at home so they are able to continue their work seamlessly when they get home too!) - they don’t have to wait for their partner to finish using a device or wait for their class to get into a computer lab.

  2. Ability to share videos, google docs, etc with students - and they can’t lose it! (they may need some help setting up an organization system for files so that they do a better job of finding them though).

  3. Email communication and google calendar reminders have been helpful. Some students have also switched over to online planners to help stay organized (since their planner frequently goes missing)

4.You can always plan to use technology each day, regardless of what the rest of your building is doing - Formatives, Kahoots, Prodigy Math etc. most/all classes!

  1. We are able to get access to most of our textbooks online too - so if students forget their textbooks at home, they can still do their work at home (make sure you post log-in information on your Edmodo - I put mine on our google classroom)

  2. Doing student-interest projects are so much easier with this kind of access to technology. Last semester there was an elective devoted to students researching topics of interest - inventions/species/civilizations that they are impressed with.
    Research isn’t limited to what books you happen to have in your school library or your students’ ability to get to their own library. (You do need to make sure you teach how to tell if a source is a credible one though)

Some things to look out for:

  1. Not all students are very responsible - so there are usually a few that didn’t charge their devices overnight and can’t do everything on their computer like you may have planned.

  2. Our students have a knack for finding online games that haven’t been blocked yet (or a back way onto netflix, hulu, etc.) You’ll just want to keep an eye out for your students and help them stay on task and talk to your Tech team about what needs to be blocked.

In my classroom the majority of the directions and resources are online through google classroom. I plan to have a few hard copies for each class (some students still prefer to have a physical copy in front of them, and some won’t have a charged device). Also be ready for the wifi or power to randomly be out and you need to come up with a tech-free lesson for the day :wink:

Daily assignments are typically done on their Chromebook, but for projects they have more choices and many will choose a paper-pencil option to show their understanding. At the beginning of the year, I ask students how they prefer to learn and show their understanding so that I have an idea of how many students to expect each unit that will want a physical copy.

Our school has an Acceptable Use Policy that students and parents must sign at the beginning of each school year before they are issued their Chromebook that explains expectations and describes potential consequences. (We emphasize that the devices are to help learning, not for gaming). Students do sometimes lose their devices for a class, a day, or longer, with them either having to pick it up from the teacher or principal later. If it is a continuing offense, parents may need to come in for a meeting with the principal.


#3

Thank you so much, @Darcey_Teasdale! This is helpful. I particularly appreciate the reminder that students will forget to bring and charge their devices. I’ll be sure to have paper alternatives ready. Being able to print Formatives should help with that.

I love the idea of explicitly teaching the students to organize their work online; that’s a great opportunity to practice digital literacy as well as basic organizational/executive functioning skills. It sounds like I should make “how to organize our digital space” a lesson in the first weeks of the year, while I am teaching classroom routines. What fun!

Like you, I have students who prefer pencil and paper responses. What do you do when you have a student who hates working digitally? I have only encountered a few who really detest computer time, and I haven’t yet come up with a satisfactory response beyond “Computer skills are among the necessary skills you learn in this class.” How do you respond?


#4

Hi,
I am an Edmodo Ambassador, and can help with any questions you may have on that. Formative and Edmodo play well together in that you can provide the link to your Formatives on Edmodo as assignments and or attached to notes. In both cases, I would not recommed using the embed code because Edmodo’s window for embed cannot be resized, so the Formative appears too small and cannot really be worked.
Now, these two platforms do not “talk to each other”. This means that you will need to manually input formative grades into Edmodo (which can be done as a csv if you wish).

I am also a 1:1 with district provided devices. Almost all my assignments are paperless, and my students are very adept at moving from one task to the next (whether a hyperdoc, formative, or whatever) seamlessly. We use Google Apps for everything, though you will probably be using an IOS product. The only thing I recommend to watch out for from the device perspective is making sure that you test whatever you are assigning in a student device, even better if youc an get a student to be logged on when you test. In my district teachers have laptops and sometimes (not often) things that work on my device do not work on theirs, and viceversa. Doublechecking is key.

As for student behavior while on devices, I recommend providing a solid unit on digital citizenship and revisiting that information often. Students will sometimes make bad choices, and on ocation become off-task, but with a solid foundation and engaging activities, the need for distractions often goes away. That being said, make sure that AUPs are signed and understood by both parents and students, in order to avoid headaches.
Also, as with anything else, routines for taking devices out, setiing them aside, listening to directions (in our case screens at listening height), plugging in, cleaning, organizing, etc are extremely important to keep devices in good working order from class to class.
My last recommendation is to make good friends with your IT department. Often a quick call can solve an issue that would take “put in a ticket” several days to resolve.


#5

What do you do when you have a student who hates working digitally? I have only encountered a few who really detest computer time, and I haven’t yet come up with a satisfactory response beyond “Computer skills are among the necessary skills you learn in this class.” How do you respond?

There are some times when a key standard for the assignment is practicing or showing mastery in a tech skill. Because I give them choices so often, they respect the times when they have to use their computer skills vs doing it by hand.

If it just for the practice of their skill, I will make it clear to the class that I am grading on what they know about the content and that the computer skills are for their practice, but won’t negatively impact their grade. This helps with my students who are still struggling with their fear of failure (especially if they feel they aren’t very good with the tech tools we use).
I like to provide rubrics for assignments that make it clear how many standards/points are related to communication skills, proficiency with technology, understanding of content.

My explanation is very similar to yours. I pull in examples from my college friends in their workplace and how I’ve had to help them with computer skills, or what different skills they’ve needed in their position. When they see/are given examples of when they will actually need to use it in life - they start to be more open to using their tech skills. (Like most things - if you make the purpose clear, you’ll have more willing and excited students!)


#6

My high school has been 1-1 for a few years, but our English department is working on a first days of tech lesson plans to familiarize all students with a variety of tech tips and protocols to help with organization and efficiency. Students can use computers - google things, use social media and play games, but they lack proper communication skills. We cover, among other things…

  • creating class files/naming files/saving files

  • bookmarking common sites

  • writing emails

  • uploading/attaching files

  • passwords (we encourage students to use their computer log in for their user name and their lunch number for their password)

  • ins and outs of office 356/OneNote


#7

Thanks, @yazelj! Would you mind sharing your department’s tech lesson plans? I would love to see them as I am working on my own. I have found a similar disconnect between mobile device skills and computer skills among the students at my current school.


#8

Thank you, @Darcey_Teasdale! I do many of the same things, including making sure that the kids know why they are using the technology. You are right that rubrics can be helpful.

I appreciate your thoughtful answers, Darcy—it is really good to hear what other teachers do.

Claire


#9

@mgarcia, thanks so much. I have been playing around with Edmodo; it seems like a powerful tool. I am looking forward to making hyperdoc lessons with Office 365 and Formative and distributing them via Edmodo. I haven’t been able to use hyperdocs before because my current school just doesn’t have the tech resources to make them work. But now (she says, full of excitement) I can get creative. I am counting the days until mid June, when I will be registered for user accounts at my new school. I will ask if I may set up a dummy student account for double-checking purposes. Thank you for the reminder.

If you have “introduction to tech” lessons that you like, will you share, please? I would love to see them!

Claire


#10

Yes, give me some time, though, we are reworking them at the moment for next year!


#11

@mgarcia, thank you for your feedback on Formative and Edmodo. I am new to using Formative and trying to find out how to make both work in my classroom. Your suggestion on using csv will help me getting all my grades in Edmodo.


#12

Hi Claire,

I am an Edmodo Certified Trainer, and Edmodo is the hub of my online classroom. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

I use it for posting the daily agenda and resources for students to access. Edmodo’s quiz feature is such a time saver as all my quizzes and questions are banked. I also use Google Classroom for document workflow, but Edmodo’s assignment feature has the ability to make a copy of Gdocs and Word docs for students to edit.

In terms of Formative & Edmodo together, they are separate platforms. They don’t talk to one another. You can post notes to your Edmodo classes with the link to the Formative attached.

I am not 1:1 and instead have a cart of Chromebooks shared among my hallmates. I wish you best of luck & smooth sailing with your students! Enjoy the journey!

Best,
Kate