07.31.2017 Huffington Post
The Global Search for Education: Is Edmodo Disrupting the Education Conference?
Once upon a time, we thought the only place to meet authors was in bookstores and the only way to network with movie industry people was at film festivals. But look at the disruptive innovations we’ve witnessed, thanks to technology, since the 90’s. There are new platforms and vehicles allowing vast audiences to participate and collaborate regarding any topic and from anywhere in the world.
On August 1st, Sal Khan of Khan Academy, Richard Culatta of ISTE, Steven Farr of Teach for All, and Anthony Salcitto of Microsoft will be presenting to and engaging with Edmodo’s global audience (80 million registered users in 400,000 schools in 190 countries), including teachers, parents and students, at the seventh annual EdmodoCon 2017. Billed as a free day of professional development for all learners, the virtual event is the largest online education conference in the world. Educators from everywhere will share best practices for project based learning, improving classroom participation and building professional learning networks. This audience doesn’t have to fork out monies for airline tickets, expensive hotels and taxis, or fight for a front row seat in a packed auditorium to watch a sage on a stage – they simply log on.
“I have a hunch that in 10 years’ time virtual reality might be playing a role in global collaborative events and PD opportunities,” says Sal Khan. “Everything we try to do with technology is aimed to empower the teacher to make the classroom more human. In a world where students can get personalized practice, teachers don’t have to spend valuable time grading and teachers are equipped with much more data.” Khan adds that freed up class time allows teachers to focus on more important things such as “interventions, simulations, Socratic dialogue, and projects.” Richard Culatta, CEO of ISTE, one of the largest ed tech focused events in the world, adds, “We have no shortage of great ideas from teachers around the world. But we need to do a much, much better job of sharing them.” Culatta says he’s more excited about the potential of technology to “engage students and teachers with peers and experts” than he is about technology’s ability to simply deliver content. “The future of professional learning needs to feel like a conversation, not a lecture.”
At EdmodoCon 2017, new PD tools, including a new home stream for teachers to easily connect with other teachers and share resources, will be presented. Edmodo recently extended its range of online PD courses for teachers, and to date, over 700 teachers have taken part in fifty courses that leverage live instruction, high-quality videos and peer-based learning through social collaboration. “EdmodoCon is a culmination of the learning and collaboration across our network all year,” says Edmodo CEO Vibhu Mittal, who believes their new products will “help teachers engage more students, involve more parents, and connect with more peers.”