Already there is more information and ideas than I can wrap my mind around, so this is going to be the first blog post about EdmodoCon 2012. If you missed it, the video of the recording will be posted in the next week or two on EdmodoCon.com. I will miss the last few sessions and will anxiously be awaiting the recording so I can see what I missed too.
My favorite part (last year and this year so far) of EdmodoCon is seeing the vision for the future. Yes there were complaints from attendees that the apps are too expensive or not available outside the United States yet. However, Edmodo stands behind their promise that EDMODO would be free. There is a plethora of ways to enhance the classroom with Edmodo. The apps are secondary, just like any other add on in education. I don’t want to get distracted by the app argument.
Edmodo said there were three new features on the near horizon: Discovery, Insights, and Apps. The Discovery is a way for teachers teaching the same content to find each other an collaborate and contribute resources. Initially it sounded like a Facebook Status thing, but the potential for finding perfectly aligned resources far surpass casual social networking. Insights is a ‘like’ button on good steroids but it can actually have value in the classroom. You will be able to get insight into student feelings about the content and/or assignment. The gauge is a second form of formative assessment, not just the assignment, but the self-reflection piece for the students. The demo icons were cute and I can see middle school students buying in to showing how they feel easily. I’ve already gone on my app rant, so moving on.
There are two current features that are being updated: the calendar and the grade book. I am excited for both of these.
The calendar is being expanded to include more detail and tasks. My current list of tasks is scraps of paper covering my desk (very non-techie I know). Having all the information in one place would encourage me to actually use it. I had great success last year keeping the classes informed of upcoming events using the calendar and plan on continuing to use the calendar to keep each class straight.
Another updated feature is the grade book. Now the grade book will include non-numerical grades. Last year teachers could assign badges to students. Now the badges can be included in the grade book view. Our school includes work skills and interpersonal skills on the report card, so I will be able to create badges to track specific behavior. It will be clear which work skill/interpersonal skill a student deserves based on the badges. There are going to be two types of badges: ones to maintain and ones to earn. I plan on giving all students badges for ‘Timely Completion’ ‘Resource Management’ and ‘Collaborator.’ Students will need to maintain these – if they turned in an assignment late, did not come to class prepared, or refused to work with their partner – I would revoke the badge. That would potentially drop them from Satisfactory to Needs Improvement. To go from Satisfactory to Excellent they would need to earn additional badges, like ‘Creativity’ ‘Optional Assignment’ ‘High Score for Review Games’ ‘Problem Solver’ or ‘Ambassador of Peers’. These are just a potential set of badges, to be fully effective I think we need to share the report card influencing badges across the teachers in the school who use Edmodo. We have already decided to have an After Party to de-brief and collaborate on what we learned during EdmodoCon.