Have you ever considered the benefits of setting up a Virtual Learning Environment?
According to BBC Active, "a VLE, or learning platform, is an online system that allows teachers to share educational materials with their pupils via the web."
Examples include Moodle, WebCT, Blackboard, and, of course - Edmodo!
Setting up Edmodo as a virtual classroom does not only simplify the interaction between educators and students. It also increases the productivity and the creative impetus on both sides, and it facilitates a richer teaching/learning experience. Most of all, it enables educators to create a customised paperless classroom, thus ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns in education by “doing more and better with less”, which is one of the goals for sustainable development promoted by the United Nations.
Ever since the start of the Industrial Revolution, paper consumption has gradually become one of the main factors that contribute towards the increase of the negative impact our modern societies have on the environment. Moreover, education seems to be playing a significant part in this process, since it is one of the largest paper consuming industries in the world. However, the ongoing Digital Revolution can offer both solutions and remedies for this problem. Research has confirmed that with more and more technological breakthroughs, there have been many positive ecological impacts.
From a Paper-based to a Paperless Classroom
I remember, it wasn't such a long time ago, when I used to enter the classroom with a pile of dictionaries in my hand, a teacher's book, a student course book and workbook, some extra handouts, a couple of posters, and a set of flesh cards - all nicely stocked in an extra-large box, that I'd just picked up from the nearby junk store, feeling like a packed up bookstall, trying to figure out the right angle to get into the classroom without rolling on the floor like a spinning plunger toy, literally "spreading all the knowledge on my students' heads". Although a bit nostalgic for the good old paper dictionaries and the rustling of pages under my fingertips, I must say that I'm happy those days are over!
At Pegasus ELS, we have gradually been introducing technology in our teaching practice since the time when the Internet became a commodity impossible to deny. It all started with teachers bringing their laptops to class to present videos to students, the next step being a portable video projector to be used by teachers in turns with PowerPoint presentations, and evolving into what we have today - a video projector and a laptop per classroom, with a set of digital tools to be used in class, and students bringing their own devices (a one-computer and BYOD classroom setting). With this approach, we have significantly reduced paper consumption in our school, introducing our own resources that teachers have developed for the requirements of each of the level groups they teach. We have continuously been upgrading our school's database of resources, from Word Document files, PowerPoint presentations to various educational software applications and online digital tools, promoting blended learning opportunities for our students.
Going Paperless with Edmodo
I have personally grown very fond of Edmodo as an online learning platform that has enabled me to flip my classroom and go completely paperless in my teaching practice. The platform is user-friendly, and offers a set of learning tools intended for a wide range of educators to share their digital resources with students and parents. The following video highlights some of the aspects that make Edmodo a highly useful tool for educators in their teaching practice.
Edmodo has helped me organise my teaching resources for each level I teach, as well as digitalise a whole range of activities, such as written assignments, grammar and vocabulary revision quizzes, listening tasks, and much more. It has enabled me to keep my students focused by increasing their motivation and commitment in the learning process. Moreover, Edmodo has provided a secure virtual learning environment for my students without any risks of having their privacy interfered with by any external factors, since all interaction on the platform is moderated by the teacher within closed groups, with parents being invited to monitor the students' progress.
I have made myself at home with Edmodo, not only because it is a user-friendly platform used by millions of teachers around the world, but also because it is popular among students, particularly its mobile version.
It takes a bit of time to train teachers to use Edmodo in their classroom, and proper guidance to get students accustomed to this platform, but once they get used to it, there is an amazing flow of content production and a much easier communication that will make the whole process a pleasurable learning adventure.
As an Edmodo Certified Trainer, I would warmly recommend Edmodo to all educators who are willing to do more, better, with less, and in the process meet one of the sustainable development goals promoted by the United Nations.
Try it out and see for yourself! I promise there is a whole treasure chest of goodies waiting for you in there!
Enjoy Edmodo, go paperless, and make this world a better place!