So 2 weeks into the semester. We are up and running with digital devices on a daily, somewhat sustained basis in one of my English classes.
The sign up? The very first day, the Edmodo sign up went like a dream. I couldn’t believe how smooth it was. All students created accounts without a glitch. In comparison, this was vastly different than each semester when I get my classes going on google docs!
Will students remember their devices? So far, the ones who have their own devices have brought them faithfully. They are small and portable, so it’s not an issue. On our second day of using the ipads in class, I asked a question (on the ipads) about how students felt about using ipads and Edmodo. The students overwhelmingly wrote about enjoying, even loving, using the ipads. Even the student without computer or internet access at home was eager to expand her technology skills. Many wrote about how much easier it was to type on an ipad than on a regular computer, although some were longing to use a real key board.
Will Edmodo do what I need it to do? This is the questionable part. I frequently remind the students that we’re all learning this new platform. Most are open to the idea that this is new and we’re all figuring it out. Where to submit an assignment, where to post comments so that your classmates can’t see them, how to upload and submit their google doc response—these are all issues that I’ve had to model and re-teach. I’ve even tried a few quizzes with the edmodo quiz option…useful, unless the answer could be quickly googled. Not sure how to manage that aspect.
I’m finding that the marking on my end is a bit of a challenge. In order to mark the work that they submit online, the teacher has to have online access and be sitting in front of a computer. Although I spend lots of time in front of the computer creating and reworking documents, trying out new websites, and setting up Edmodo, I’m not so sure that I am enjoying the EXTRA time attached to the computer to do the assessing.
My big take away is a confirmation of my beliefs on students and their devices. It has almost been accepted that students are the technology experts and we, as educators and the education system, need to somehow “keep up” with students.
The more I work with students and technology, I’m realizing that students are very good at ‘consuming’ with their technology: playing games, watching YouTube, interacting with Facebook and Instagram……HOWEVER, few of my high school students could function ‘productively’ if they were dropped into a work environment. I’m sure they would pick it up quickly, but they currently aren’t leaving our institutions with these skills. For instance,
- basic Word Processing skills like indenting, line spacing, and even leaving a space after typing a period –in a formal essay, not just less casual writing—are increasingly lacking
- only one or two students in my class has used online production and sharing applications like Google Drive/Docs, Dropbox, or Evernote
- many struggle to follow instructions for posting responses to polling or survey sites like polleverywhere.com, padlet.com, socrative.com
Like any new skill, some pick up the technology ‘productivity’ side quickly, but in general, I don’t think that the majority of youth is as technologically apt as we assume!