Making the Digital Jump

One week at it and the fog in the classroom is starting to clear. It feels like I have been a completely gang tackled by a bunch of hardware, software, and webware thugs. My desk is a mess with lose papers, software disks, ipads (students and teachers), styli, pens, pencils, cords, chargers… it is evident that I am in a struggle with a digital/analogue identity crisis.

Where are these files? Are they printed? Do they need to be printed?
Can students access this file just using the iPad? Can they edit this file?
Can they organize their iPad so that they know where to find these files?
How do I receive these files back from students with their annotations?
How do I grade digital student artifacts? Do I really want 150 emails today?
Does doing this analogue make better sense for the sake of best practice?

These are just a few of the questions that I find myself asking as I slowly morph from analogue to digital. In an attempt to move to the digital world and connect our learners in a virtual classroom my classes are meeting and communicating on Edmodo- ahhh yes! math class is no longer 58 minutes. In addition, I have built a wiki for just my geometry classes. Biting off more than I can chew is a habit of mine and I don’t want to start another project that I don’t finish…my wife wouldn’t be happy even if it isn’t going on the living room wall.

Edmodo is a social network specifically geared for education. It is not as “academic” as Moodle and not as sexy as Facebook…it could almost be seen as an offspring of the two. Some where down inside of me I am scared that students will reject this attempt to meet them in their own world and see through the “trick”of getting them to learn in a place they already are. But I am quite passionate about engaging students on their turf, showing them that they are learning where ever they are and that together we as a community we construct meaning and knowledge about life.

So I feel compelled to push this method of learning…for now. The smallest glimpses of this thing working have been making me giddy… Students will post a question as plain as “what is the homework?” Another student will respond…sometimes with a snide remark like “click on the calendar link above”. I smile and say to myself ‘look they really do care about one another.’ But in reality they are helping, they are directing, they are answering the questions, they are taking ownership…and I am removing myself from the position of sole authority.

Today I posted the links to the first set of Showme tutorials geometry students created for our first quiz review. Student created work, created to help students work… ummm I think this could be good. Check out this students first attempt:

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