Posts Tagged ‘Book Study’

Using Edmodo to Facilitate Book Study: What I Learned

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Author: Rachel Hernandez-Eckert

In the September 2013 In-Sight newsletter, I wrote about the beginnings of a group book study that our grant cohort is engaging in. We are studying “Why Won’t You Just Tell Us the Answer?”: Teaching Historical Thinking in Grades 7-12.  Because the group consists of 26 educators from 18 different school districts, we had to wrestle with the issue of facilitating a book study without meeting face-to-face.  My colleagues and I decided that the best platform to do this through is Edmodo. (Edmodo is an online platform created to connect teachers and students in a “free and safe way.”)  Since I had never used Edmodo before, I had to take the time to play in the platform and discover the capabilities that it had.  We discovered that we could establish a group and post notes, quizzes and polls, create small groups within the larger group, and establish folders and documents in a library that we could then link to a post.  We could also hyperlink webpages and embed videos in a variety of ways for our group members to view.  For the book study aspect, we established a reading schedule and every Friday we post questions that require participant response.  The Edmodo group served two different purposes; first, we use it as our main avenue of communication and to share documents pertinent to our cohort of educators.  The result was the decline of mass e-mail communiqués.  Second, we were able to create small groups for our participants to engage in online discussion about the text they were reading.  The result was that we could actually see our participants in “process mode” as they read, learned and reflected together.



My recommendation for anyone trying to replicate this is to discover and practice with the platform features before you formally establish a group.  You may consider inviting a few colleagues to serve as your beta test group and make comparisons about what you see as the owner of the group and what they see as a participant.  I felt pretty proficient in the platform to launch the group, but I found subtle features that could only be learned once the group was established.  If you are considering using Edmodo to facilitate a book study as we did, you must establish a learning plan and consider posting weekly questions to bring your participants back to the platform for discussion.  The best part about this method of delivery was that I still felt connected with the grant cohort and we have been able to engage in learning collectively, even though we did not meet again until the following month.