After using Edmodo for so many years just to create and manage classes, now I have started taking advantage of the many opportunities it offers.
Edmodo is also a really big community of teachers from all over the world and a couple of weeks ago a colleague from Ukraine posted a message in which he expressed his intention to put his students in touch with others from abroad. I replied his post and now we are working together in a friendly and collaborative way. We have called the project Our Cultures and Languages and the first aim is of course to help our students improve their level of English, but it is also very important for us to put them in touch with a culture which is somehow unknown to them.
Another important feature Edmodo offers is the connection with Google Drive so we could create a shared document and work together adding our ideas, comments and suggestions.
We created a group which all our students could join. I love Edmodo for its flexibility and the fact that you don’t need any sensitive information from your pupils: name, surname and that’s it. They join the different groups using the group code we teachers provide them with and they are in, ready to exchange notes, do surveys, turn in assignments and share their works.
All the students were then divided into groups and so, inside the main group, we created some small groups so to give the students the possibility to work only with the partners in the group. This avoids confusion and distraction and the kids can focus on their tasks.
As first step we both made a video in which the pupils introduce themselves. It was great fun for us and I must say that in the end we had much more material for the backstage video than for the real one!
Then my colleague shared a video about their town and school and we could analyse it and see the differences and similarities with our neighbourhood and the way we think of school. What my students noticed at once was that we don’t have any classes about drama or singing or dancing. They liked it very much.
The second step was to find out some information about the partners. In the small groups the kids starting asking and replying questions so to have enough material to create a presentation about the Ukranian kids. They learnt about the sports they practise, the food they like and even some words from their language. They shared their works as an assignment.
It was nice to watch the presentations in the classroom and notice how others see us. My students loved it and it was also a good opportunity for class discussion.
I really love working on this project. It gives me the opportunity to use the language my students need to know in a very realistic way with such lovely and live material!
If you have not joined Edmodo yet, my advice is to do it ASAP!