My last day with the students was a week ago. I am without a class until after Labour Day. You might think that I’d take a breather, step back, shut down (or at least reboot), but nah… I see the next 5-6 weeks as a prime opportunity to jump online and take a close look at what’s going on in EdTech.
Twitter – What Would I Do Without You?
This morning I went right to Twitter (I sometimes go to Flipboard, but usually I check my Twitter feeds first thing). An American educator that I follow had just tweeted about attending an online EdModo conference, beginning immediately. So, that changed my morning. I had been following Edmodo, and it was on my list to learn more about it. Edmodo is essentially a Learning Management System but one that keeps current, and has more to offer than other LMS’s. Had I not been on Twitter, I wouldn’t have known about this online conference.
EdmodoCon 2015: This is What I’m Talking About
I love being connected to a group of like-minded educators. The keynote speaker opened by talking about Edmodo community, and how the system has been evolving. They even distributed EdModie awards to deserving instructors and teachers around the world. It was inspiring to hear what others are doing in the classroom.
I just finished attending a panel discussion where panel members discussed current and relevant issues like how the learner has evolved, how important it is that curriculum drive technology (*), how educators need professional development and support using technology in the classroom… Really, we are all experiencing many of the same issues regardless of where we are. Professional Development has to be meaningful and have direct application for the teacher in the classroom. There should be some hands-on component in a technology PD workshop. Sounds logical.
I’ve just finished another couple of Edmodo Con workshops, both with featured teachers (John Choins and Kari Salomon). Both of these teachers are K-12, but again, I can definitely find practical use for my learners. Some things, obviously, don’t apply (like having a relationship with parents) (kind of glad, though!), but most of it does. Some great ideas about structuring debate via a LMS and keeping class videos to 8-12 minutes.
MOOC – Some Progress
I’ve mentioned that I’m taking a Coursera MOOC called “Foundations of Virtual Learning” run out of the University of California. Completion rates of MOOCS are low; most people start them out of curiosity but then don’t finish. I vowed to complete every part of this MOOC. MOOCs are designed to be flexible, so I had planned on doing the majority of the work really beginning last week, and then completing it all this week. I’m almost exactly where I want to be, and have scored over 90% average on the weekly quizzes on my first attempt. (You get at least three attempts). I just won’t get any credit for this MOOC because I haven’t paid for that. But I’m in the course for the knowledge, not the credit.
Summer of Tech
My plans for my “time off” are to work on my fall curriculum, investigate Edmodo as an alternative LMS site, develop my OneNote – PBLA e-Portfolio PD workshop, and update some TESL O webinar training materials. I also want to put together a technology workshop dreamlist for my workplace, focusing on the technology that fits the immediate demands of the learners, and that will improve student achievement of learning objectives. Also, I want to spruce up my WEEBLY webpage, and upload some modules.
* Yes, I know that I’ve said before about teaching the specific technology, and exploring how it can be used by Adult ESL learners, but that said, I do recognize that the pedagogy has to be the primary focus.