Friday, August 9, 2013

Organizing Shared Files in Google Drive

As can be expected, Google advertises their Google Apps for Education as a powerful tool with a multitude of benefits for the educational community.   Not only is it a secure, user-friendly platform that can be accessed from the cloud anywhere in the world, it also encourages collaboration within the classroom, a skill that the International Society for Technology in Education identifies  as one of the six core standards that students must acquire to be prepared for the digital age.

The school where I work has a been a Google Apps for Education school for many years.  The teachers who do use it regularly know that the collaboration features can bolster student learning and provide teachers with valuable formative assessment data, but constantly sharing files can become cumbersome.  I conducted some research and found a few easy strategies to facilitate sharing of files within a classroom that will help to maintain organization within Google Drive.  I hope that this will help to encourage more teachers to put Google Drive to use with their students.

Please check out my Diigo library to learn more of the capabilities of Google Apps for Education.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Edmodo: A Promising Collaborative Learning Environment

Though my K-6 school has a wealth of technology, we have not yet entered the realm of Collaborative Learning Environments.  As I prepare to deploy another 18 iPads for individual classroom use, I am inspired to introduce teachers to the concept of blended learning using a CLE.  After exploring a variety of options such as EDU 2.0, Moodle, and Collaborize Classroom, I have decided to push for integrating Edumodo into the current instructional model.    

Edmodo appeals to me for a variety of reasons.  First of all, Edmodo advertises itself as a collaborative "social learning" platform for teachers and students.  It is a FREE tool that can be used in a blended learning model, as well as by teachers attempting to build their PLN, two ideas that I would like to promote during the upcoming school year.  

I also like the fact that Edmodo offers a secure environment in which teachers can provide personalized instruction for students.  Teachers can assign resources and apps on a variety of levels to meet the needs of all learners.  Teachers can also share resources with other teachers and can collaborate to assess a specific group of students.  Edmodo provides teachers with the opportunity assess student learning using online discussions, quizzes, and assignments.  They offer feedback on student learning by commenting on student discussions, posting grades for assignments, awarding "badges" for a job well done, and communicate with parents who have created an Edmodo log-in account.

I believe that Edmodo is a promising tool for use in my school because it offers a user-friendly platform and a COPPA-compliant, secure student log-in portal, which is important because all of our students are under the age of 13.  The fifth and sixth grade students and teachers will be able to easily access their Edmodo classrooms through the mobile iOS app, helping to bolster the power of technology in their 1:1 environments.