Students ‘like’ Facebook-type classroom tools

Students 'like' Facebook-type classroom tools

Teachers are finding new ways to stay connected with their students outside the classroom.

One way is through Edmodo, a free educational social networking website. Edmodo is similar to Facebook. Students can create their own profiles, access assignments and homework, keep track of their grades and message teachers for help.

Mandela Academy Graphic Design teacher Anita Smiley began using Edmodo and says it has made her job as a teacher a lot easier. Smiley started recommending Edmodo, and that’s when more teachers started using it.

Media Academy English teacher Candice Valenzuela began using Edmodo with her senior classes in November to help them with their senior projects.

“I don’t know if it has helped the relationship [between students and teachers], but I think it has put more responsibility on the student, so that way, if I make an announcement in class, I don’t have to keep repeating it because I put it up on Edmodo,” said Valenzuela.

Many seniors like using Edmodo.

“It has been helpful for me because if I need to see what’s the assignment for the day, I can go there and I won’t get stuck on the work,” said Media Academy senior Sabrina Lee. “It’s educational for students to use it to get their school work done instead of using Facebook.”

ConnectEd Studios is another educational version of social media that Media Academy teachers Howard Ruffner, Sonja Totten-Harris and Lisa Shafer are using.

As pilots of the program, the teachers are trying to help the developers figure out what works and what doesn’t before ConnectEd expands the site to others.

The teachers are using ConnectEd Studios for a unit on wellness. Students have created their own blogs to write reactions to class assignments and guest speakers and to post graphic design and journalism work.

ConnectEd also can help connect students to the real world. Industry partners can be invited to look at student work and help students with projects.

“We’re using ConnectEd as our way of coordinating all of our classes and efforts with students,” said Ruffner.