Week Four: GAME Plan Update

So far my GAME plan is coming along nicely.  I have created an account with Edmodo and two separate groups for each of my freshmen classes.  Edmodo is a “service [which] gives educators an online space to interact with students in a social learning environment, sharing content and assignments and allowing classes to interact through moderated discussions. It also provides a social network for educators to connect with each other and exchange lesson plans and other educational content” (Schiller, 2011, p. 34).  I have contacted another colleague who has used Edmodo to discuss her experience with the site, so that I can trouble shoot problems in advance.  The project I have chosen to use with this site is to create several ongoing threads in response to prompts for the novel, Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson.  The novel chronicles the freshman year of the protagonist, who is recovering from trauma.  So far, I have reviewed the different activities I have used for this novel in the past, and I have either rephrased some discussion questions or written new ones entirely.  I have decided that, as the book is broken into four “Marking Periods,” my students will post a total of eight times, twice each “Marking Period.”  They will also have to respond to at least one of their classmates’ posts as well.

I do not believe that I will have to modify my action plan at all.  This lesson and this technology fit well with the two standards I have chosen, Technology Operations and Concepts and Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences.  This is new technology for me as a teacher.  I have shied away from using the real Facebook because my students are so immersed in it, and do not always use it appropriately.  However, since they seem to like the format and will understand what it means to “post and update” or “respond to a thread,” then this may prove a worthwhile means of expanding the class discussion.  In addition, computer conferencing increases the options for participation and “can be an effective support for the development of creative thinking skills” (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 71).  Incorporating online threaded discussions allows students an easier means of participating and provides them with the opportunity to really think about a response and not blurt out an answer (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009).  As they will undoubtedly face threaded discussions in college courses, it is worthwhile for me to introduce this format to them now.  “As students enter college, their familiarity with social media could mean that integrating new technology into the class- room is not just a novel feature but an essential aspect of curricula” (Schiller, 2011, 35).  This is a learning environment and experience they will most definitely encounter again in the future.

Thus far, I have learned how to set up a group in Edmodo and have looked into the different open groups they have, for example one devoted to Language Arts topics.  I know how to post an update and how to have my students join the correct group.  I have also learned that an internet based project will hold my students’ interests.  Once they are issued their iPads in January, I will ask them to download the Edmodo app, that is, if this project goes well.  That will give them quicker access to the site.

I have several new questions, some which cannot be answered until after this project is complete.  Will this kind of a project help my students to look more closely at the literature they are reading?  Will they pay more attention to literary elements if they know they will have to post work their classmates will read?  Will they be more engaged?  Is the number of times I am  requiring for their participation enough?  Too little?  My last questions revolve around assessment.  There are have several school-wide rubrics were are required to use.  Certainly one of them will align with this project, so they will be my first choice for assessing their work.  But these rubrics do not convert to a grade.  How many points will this be worth?  How do I gauge appropriate participation?  Should I take only aspects of the school-wide rubric, add elements of my won, and use that one instead?  Should I attempt a Standards Based grade, as that is the direction of the entire country?

I am anxious to begin this project as I like to try new technology each year.  Also, as any teacher does, I like to see my students truly engaged in their work.  Last year, I was successful with several projects.  Hopefully, I will be with this one as well.  I welcome any answers to my questions and any suggestions that will help the success of this project.

References

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful    classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Schiller, K. (2011). High-tech classrooms. Information Today, 28(8), 34-35.

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5 Responses to Week Four: GAME Plan Update

  1. Debbie Carchidi says:

    Rachel,
    I am glad that your GAME plan is right on track and you are very lucky you do not have to modify any of your planned activities. I noticed what you said about Facebook and would like to know how you interacted with your students through Edmodo. What type of activities will you be doing with your students on Edmodo? Do you have e-Board available at your school? Most of my communication, posting study guides, power points, and reminders are all done on e-Board and my students and their parents can e-mail me through the same program. What other types of activities can you do with your students on Edmodo?
    Debbie

    • Rachel says:

      I am just starting to use Edmodo, so I am not familiar with all its possibilities. At first I will work on presenting a prompt and having my students respond to it and then each other. I have heard good things about this site, so I am hoping to find more uses for it. I do not have an e-board or a SmartBoard, but I have an LCD projector and can project from my laptop. What is e-Board?

  2. L. Yancey says:

    I am happy to hear that your plan is progressing nice and that you are using Edmodo as a component in your plan. I am also using Edmodo and so far I have created groups for all of my classes and my students have completed several assignments online. I have found that it provides students with the social aspects of Facebook on an academic level, which the students seem to enjoy. I believe your discussion thread assignment is a great way to promote communication and collaboration in your classroom. This is actually a modification I am making to my GAME plan because I want the students to communicate more with each other so they can become self-directed learners. The inspiration for this idea actually came from the discussion board assignments that I am required to complete. I am learning so much from my Walden colleagues and I want to create this same learning experience for my students. As you mentioned this is a great concept for students to learn because they will see this classroom format again in the future. I do believe that your project will help your student improve their reading skills because they are not only reading for understanding but for learning as well. They cannot contribute to the discussion if they have not read the text and have something meaningful to contribute.

    L. Yancey

  3. Rachel- I have learned more about Edomodo from your blog than looking at it on my own! I just started actually because like you I want to help students get to the heart of learning. Their responses to each other can be so interesting and relevant to not just the lesson but to real world application as well. This is a neat way to get students more interested in reading AND interacting on a different level using a form of social networking. I’ll be trying a few things with this tool very soon.
    Tabatha
    P.S. loved the book you mentioned!

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