Connect with Students During the Summer with Edmodo and Schoology
Four ways to beat “summer slide” with classroom networking
Have you ever tried teaching a new lesson only to hear a class full of students complain that their teacher last year didn’t teach them the preliminary facts? Whether or not their former teacher touched on the material, your students may actually be suffering from “summer slide”– the colloquial term for the loss of subject knowledge experienced by students during the two-and-a-half-month summer break. The question is how do you keep your former and incoming students from going down the summer slide?
At Educator Studio, we think the best way to beat summer slide is to stay connected with students during the summer. Fortunately, today’s Web 2.0 technologies make staying in contact with former and new students easier than ever. You’re probably thinking: I just spent 10 months battling my students over homework and quizzes; I need a break! Granted, staying in contact with students over the summer takes time, but it need not take up all of your time in the sun, and best of all– it helps eliminate wasted time reviewing last year’s material!
This week, Educator Studio is spotlighting two highly effective Web 2.0 tools to battle summer slide: Edmodo and Schoology. If you’re new to classroom technology, Edmodo and Schoology are social networking sites and course management systems (CMS) designed specifically for educators. You may already be accustomed to using one of these in your classroom but may not have thought about continuing your online courses during the summer.
Differences exist between the two sites (which are explained in our Edmodo vs Schoology blog), but both are exceptional tools for connecting with students over the summer. Each site provides teachers with complete control over their online class in order to maintain a safe educational environment for students. They engage students more effectively because their interfaces strongly resemble technologies they are already using in their everyday lives. Best of all, teachers can connect from just about anywhere– including the beach –with the mobile app versions of Edmodo and Schoology.
How to use Edmodo and Schoology to connect with students:
1. Create discussions
With both Edmodo and Schoology, teachers can create online discussions to engage students over the summer. Invite former and incoming students to stay in contact with you once or twice a week during the summer on your Schoology or Edmodo course page. You don’t want to inundate your students with work (think what you would do if you were in their shoes!), but you could direct them to interesting readings, current events, or just post a problem of the week.
2. Introduce new resources and tools
Tech teachers are always finding new resources for learning. Thanks to the summer break, you now have extra time to find and share educational resources with your students via Edmodo and Schoology. Why not share a fun (yet educational) iPad game that your students can play during their summer road trips? The more fun (and useful) the tech tool, the more they’ll thank you on the first day back to school!
3. Create an online summer classroom
If you’re teaching summer school currently, now is a perfect time to implement a strong Edmodo or Schoology component to your classroom. If you’ve been on vacation, take this last month off to create the online class of your dreams. Get in contact with your administration once you’ve got all the kinks worked out, and you may be able to start teaching your students before they even set foot in your classroom next year.
4. Be yourself!
Why not use your time outside of the classroom to introduce yourself to your students on a more personal level? Show off your fun side by posting pictures of you on summer break. If you were on good terms with your students at the end of the year, they may not be in too much of a hurry to end the relationship and neither should you.
Students lose knowledge by not actively applying it at home. The summer can drastically destroy your hard-earned work and reputation as a teacher. By connecting with your students over the summer, you can keep them constantly engaged— and away from the summer slide!