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Three educators answer questions about what they gave and got out of EdmodoCon.

THREE ON THREE | by Victor Rivero

CREDIT EdmodoCon 2014Technology is bringing together educators from around the country and around the world. Case in point: Edmodo recently hosted its annual global educator conference bringing together teachers and administrators from around the world for an 11 hour day of professional development. On the agenda were 13 teacher-led presentations discussing various ways they have integrated Edmodo into their instruction. In this up close panel interview, three educators share what they presented at the conference, what they learned, and their priorities for the upcoming school year. Featured are Beatrice Lopez, a teacher at PS/Intermediate School 54 in the Bronx, NY; Deanna Menchaca, a newly appointed instructional tech specialist at Brown Elementary School in Irving, TX, and Shellie Carson, an instructional technology consultant.

Victor: What did you present at EdmodoCon?

Beatrice LopezBeatrice: At EdmodoCon, I presented how I use Edmodo to facilitate and streamline assessments in my classroom. With a vast range of differentiation needed to meet the needs of all my students, I have to be able to have a strong grasp on where my kids stand — knowing their areas of strengths and their struggles academically. This past year, my 5th grade classroom had 19 out of 30 students who did not meet 4th Grade Common Core Learning Standards in the Mathematics State Exam, and 14 out of 30 did not meet 5th Grade Common Core Learning Standards in the English Language Arts State Exam. This is the data I received on the first week of school. I had to take this data and assess my students to find their areas of greatest deficiency to strategically plan instruction and differentiation on 3 levels (whole group, small group and individual intervention).

My presentation, D3: Data-Driven Differentiation, focused on how to use Edmodo for
diagnostic, formative, summative, criterion-reference and interim benchmark assessment. Edmodo allows us as teachers to conduct item analysis (identifying trends by item and by student groups).With the advantage of instantaneous scoring, different dimensional perspectives for analyzing assessment results, and the ease of managing meaningful data on Edmodo, an educator can make well-informed data driven decisions to inform planning and instructional goals, and in a nut shell, provide students with what they need to learn most.

Deanna MenchacaDeanna: I presented “Spreading the Edmodo Wildfire” with Shellie Carson. I spoke about how our school wanted to affect more students with rigorous academics through the use of technology. We developed a Tech Camp, which met for two 6 week sessions on Saturday mornings. The students participated in PBL activities in small groups, presenting their projects in a culminating showcase for parents. Since the Tech Camp, our school has embraced the use of technology and particularly Edmodo across the K-5 grade levels.

I spoke about how our school wanted to affect more students with rigorous academics through the use of technology.

Shellie CarsonShellie: Edmodo became the catalyst to use technology in all classrooms (K-5) to reach every student, every day. It evolved from the Tech Camp to what we use for Professional Development year round and what teacher’s use in their classroom in all content areas. It became the tool that put everything teachers wanted to do in one platform, and we have seen amazing results! Teachers that didn’t think they could use technology have been cliff diving right into it and students that had never felt success in school are now giving it credit for changing their lives.

Victor: ‘Professional Development’ can inspire a lot of flack; done right it’s a pleasure. What did you learn at the event?

Beatrice: EdmodoCon is an event like none other. I learned that the conference creates a global collective among educators that stimulates collaboration and inspires community. I learned I am not alone [there]. So many times as teachers, we become isolated in our classrooms and in our silent struggles. The conference provides a diversity and richness in experiences coming straight from the teacher perspective versus a professional development webinar rooted in theoretical rhetoric that does not reflect what we are truly experiencing in our classrooms today. I learned that [this conference] keeps it real!

Deanna: I particularly learned how to easily implement the use of badges to improve the writing products of students from Nathan Garvin’s presentation.

Shellie: I learned that this platform has impacted so many people around the world in a variety of ways. It has brought together teachers and students alike to collaborate, learn from each other, and be successful in a manner that has never existed until now. To me, it is the future of education.

Victor: What are your priorities for the upcoming school year?

Beatrice: Working in a public school deemed as a (SINI) School In Need of Improvement by New York State with an enrollment of 92% of the students qualifying for free or reduced price lunch, I have a plate full of priorities. However, connecting my priorities to EdmodoCon, I want to do the following:

  1. Use all possible resources to help my students achieve grade level standards while enjoying and delighting in the learning process (I am hopeful!)
  2. Continue to work on working smarter to use data to drive my instruction and differentiation in my classroom (i.e. keep developing as an Edmodo Snapshot Trailblazer to again integrate and deliver CCLS Snapshot assessments for data analysis and to drive instruction)
  3. Share with teachers the great advantages of how Edmodo can facilitate teaching and learning at our PK-5 school
  4. Continue to use my Professional Learning Communities on Edmodo to collaborate and connect with other classrooms
  5. Cultivate a strong collective of data-driven educators in my D3 Edmodo Group
  6. On August 20th, I will become a NYC Edmodo Certified Trainer, and I hope to help connect classrooms across New York City on Edmodo.

Deanna: As an Instructional Technology Specialist at an elementary school, my goal for this year is to assist teachers in differentiating to the needs of their individual students through the use of technology.

Shellie: My priority for this next school year is to inspire more and more teachers to use the platform. As a consultant, I use it for all of my instructional technology trainings with teachers. A former educator myself, I am able to show them all of the powerful ways they can use it in the classroom, district, with other educators, and around the world. The impact it is having on education continues to evolve, and I am looking forward to sharing this with others in education.

Victor Rivero is the Editor in Chief of EdTech Digest. Write to: victor@edtechdigest.com

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