Engaging with learners using on-line tools In the flipped classroom

 We are using the Edmodo platform to liaise with learners between classes. Edmodo is a free, on-line application that allows a “teacher” (it’s a system designed for schools) to hook up with “students’ by posting messages, quizzes, surveys, marks, chats, etc. I also used it for providing the learners with a library of articles for each class intervention and for doing the formative assessments. It’s a really cool app (well I thinks so) and its free, which of course makes it all the more attractive (with the learners in the flipped classroom we gave them all Samsung galaxy tablets so that we could use Edmodo, e-books and e-assessment methodology).

Edmodo has a ‘facebook’ type look and it is easy for a learner to navigate.

What has interested me is the general lack of engagement on the social platform. There are 3 or 4 who regularly engage with me and the rest just don’t seem to ever go onto the site. It got me thinking, because before this experience I thought that the learners would welcome a way to stay in contact, ask questions and share ideas. It amazed me that they didn’t. But I guess it makes sense given that:

• Even in a classroom all the learners don’t participate – so why should they on-line;

• Even in the class, discussion does not just happen – it needs to be part of the course design, stimulated by a good facilitator;

• Even in class there needs to be feedback and affirmation to encourage people to keep talking… this is probably even more necessary to spark on-line engagement.

So, what am I going to do to get my learners engaging? Does anyone have any ideas? In the meantime I thought I would:

• Reward participation, using badges or incentives; • Encourage participation by only putting my news and updates on the platform (not also via email as I am doing as a back up);

• Posting regular polls and questions to spark discussion (making me more proactive, not reactive);

• Only having some content available here (like TED talks videos and extra readings);

• Only posting formative results via Edmodo (not also via email – it is private for each learner);

• Making the forum more part of the course – by setting up small chat groups to collaborate on projects, support and mentor each other, etc.

Does anyone have any other ideas for me?  why do you go to Skills-Universe?  Maybe that will give me some ideas too!

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