What a day…today was organized chaos with a very productive outcome. It was also iPod Roll-out Day.
The students remembered the process we discussed yesterday. I ran a brief discussion as to what we were trying to accomplish and the students seemed confident we would be successful. The Polyvision interactive whiteboard (IWB) was used to model the steps to each of the following tasks.
They came back to my cart when called to sign out their iPods. They double checked the numbers, initialed the sign-out sheet and jumped into Safari to go to our district Edmodo domain. The web pages were open on the Polyvision IWB and the regular dry-erase board contained static text as to what was needed for the class today.
Many students already had accounts and could log in and join my classes, others had to create accounts to join my class groups. For the most part the students at both levels were at ease with the interface. Even students who were viewing Edmodo for the first time noticed how it was similar to Facebook in looks.
Once the students logged in they saw the assignments for the day. Each of today’s three tasks were listed as assignments along with turning in the signed parental forms from yesterday. The goal was to ingrain the concept of “I need to turn in assignments” on Edmodo and know how to do so. Last year my students were a bit forgetful with this concept, but we did not use the assignment tool until late in the school year.
At this time the signed forms were collected by hand and the students used the Edmodo assignment interface to leave a digital note that they had their signed forms. I later compared the turned in forms to the number of students who left digital notes…the numbers were close.
The students were then turned loose to go to their new Gaggle email accounts. The link to Gaggle was embedded in the Edmodo assignment along with a pdf copy of directions. I had the directions opened on the Polyvision board with links to the various pages open in multiple tabs. This enabled the students to view what to expect on their screens with a larger interface. Students volunteered to run the board during this exercise.
Once logged in to Gaggle, the students came back to my desk to change their passwords. Administrator or teacher rights are needed to do this with Gaggle. We had the process down and moved quickly to update passwords without holding up the class.
Students then sent an email to my school email account. This had them actually complete a task they may need to do in the future and get my school email address in their contact list. The plan is for them to use their Gaggle accounts when signing up for Web 2.0 tools or to email me when Edmodo is down. They can access their Gaggle accounts to verify email addresses and retrieve passwords if needed. Otherwise, we will be using the Edmodo classroom for communications.
Students were great at helping each other and mentoring others who were having technical difficulties. Their ability and willingness to help out freed me up to handle issues that needed full administrative rights to fix. These included changing passwords in Edmodo and Gaggle, looking up users in Gaggle, and reconnecting iPods to my dedicated classroom wireless network.
We adjusted on the fly with some students not in Gaggle’s system; they could not complete some of the assignments yet, but collected information so I can try and get them in soon. This situation reinforced the concept of flexibility and the need to adjust as necessary in the classroom.
The day was not flawless by any means, but it was a great learning process for all involved. What seemed the most impressive to me was that all of this was accomplished on an iPod interface. Most of my students have used iPods for games and music, but few have used them in a classroom setting, with the exception of students who had me last year in other classes.