Can you relate?
Thirteen student hands wave in the air. Is that one kid holding up two hands? The last student helped asked a question that you just answered for another student. The kid before him asked a question you answered in the pre-project instructions. The pair in the corner are busy socializing knowing you are too busy to intervene. Deep sigh. Is anyone learning? A splitting headache and it’s only the beginning of the day – why did I think this was a good idea? No wonder some teachers avoid the computer lab like the plague.
The word “chaotic” aptly described my beginning experiences with classes completing technology-based projects in the computer lab. I loved projects. I believed in technology, but success with the combo eluded me. I hit a wall (figuratively) when I tried to have students submit a project digitally with a flash drive! Could I justify this much wasted class time? How did other star educators make the computer lab a profitable learning experience?
An online classmate turned me onto Edmodo as a management solution for my computer lab days. After a perusal of her Edmodo classes and learning of Edmodo’s promise to be forever free, I was hooked. Now after years of use, I love Edmodo.
Computer labs woes meet Edmodo. My 9th graders are now trained to log on to Edmodo first (upon entering the lab) and look for the directions, links, and files for the day. A FAQ page or tutorial video clip for project navigation are just a few of the things that can easily be shared with students via Edmodo.
Do students still ask questions that are answered in the directions? Of course. Learned helplessness is what I call it. However, I respond to these questions with a question, “What do the directions on Edmodo say?” and I stand there while the directions are read to make sure the question is answered. After being consistent with this response, other students get the message to check Edmodo first, and that needed life skill of following directions received a little exercise.
Previously posted directions can be easily edited for future classes if I notice a problem. Moreover, the small group feature allows opens a portal for students to share files with group members. Submitting projects digitally requires NO flash drives or network folders, and projects can even be graded and returned to students within the Edmodo software. With Edmodo, taking my high school students to the computer lab has become easier than staying in the classroom.