Extend your Professional Learning Network with Edmodo

Teaching an elective subject in a small school district and make building a professional learning network difficult.  Teachers using Edmodo are fortunate to have subject based communities that they can access for resources, suggestions and discussion regarding education in their content area.  These communities are the perfect extension of anyones professional learning network.

Edmodo Communities
Edmodo Communities

The communities are built around content area and not grade level, so each community includes teachers from all age groups.  Edmodo reaches across the country and into several different countries around the world.  The diversity of teacher ideas within the content area is amazing.  You can check in and look at the community activity any time you want: twice a day, once a week, once a semester – – it doesn’t matter.  The community is there for you as you need it.

The greatest gift of the Edmodo community is the sharing of ideas, resources and content specific information.  You can simply go to the community, post a question and within a day, have 15 responses from across the globe to try and help you out.  Since the information comes from other Edmodo teachers, there is a huge focus on technology and how to make it work in all tech savvy environments (IPad, 1:1, mobile carts).


Electronic Portfolio

Portfolios have become popular assessment and evaluation tools in the last decade.  The teacher education program at Clarke University prepared me for portfolios by teaching us how to make electronic portfolio.  My first teaching portfolio was electronic and I have always preferred that method.  I like the ease of clicking through related materials rather than flipping pages in a designated order.  And I like that it is easier to add media to an electronic portfolio than to a paper binder portfolio.

I first started using I-Web in 2007 and thought that it was an easy and beautiful way to create an electronic portfolio.  In the past, I was never able to upload my portfolio directly on to a website so I just burnt it to a disc.  It still works the same but it isn’t universally accessible.

This year I created my professional teaching portfolio using I-Web and was able to upload it to the server at my school.  I honestly had to rush the completion of this portfolio so I’m not 100% pleased but I still think it’s a good representation of my teaching competency.

Check it out: http://www2.denver.k12.ia.us/ehuff/Portfolio/Welcome.html

Technology Training: Bernajean Porter

Right this second I’m in a seminar about technology with a presenter named Bernajean Porter. She’s discussing technology and the state of education in general. There are some very interesting thoughts in this presentation.

  • Technology accelerates something:  what is the something we want to accelerate?  What would suffer if we eliminated technology from our building?  Have the conversation with the entire staff during staff development.  (Teachers recognize the need for technology and “just use it” making computer lab access in demand and a strain on technology resources.  If we’re sharing technology we need to make sure we’re sharing the goals.)  
  • Technology amplifies everything: the technology tool does not change the quality of skills.  It is a tool and not a vehicle that takes you from point A to point B.  Great methods and instruction plus technology equals even greater methods and instruction.  Ineffective methods and instruction plus technology equals even more ineffective methods and instruction.
  • Reality is the leading cause of stress 🙂
  • Information Anxiety: awareness of the information you do not know; can be overwhelming.  All the pieces in education are just pieces; they will not magically come together by graduation.  Confusion and uncertainty are essential; “Teachers need to be comfortable with technology before using it” is so FALSE and can’t be done (new technology and new applications invented every second)
  • Technology shopping allows people to look more modern and sound more modern but is the result modern?  If you want a different result, you need to do something different.  Need to “do” something different –not just dress it up with pretty, shiny technology (decorated lesson plans).  It comes down to instructional methods.