Edsby and Me: A Classroom Connection
New Mexico English teacher Michele Baber shares the story of her personal discovery of Edsby.
My district adopted Edsby early on. At the time, I knew little about it. I heard some teachers extolling the virtues of the platform, stating that they no longer needed to make so many copies. I assumed that Edsby was just a drop-box type program, and I moved on to doing my own thing in the classroom.
Three years ago, I began working at a middle school in the same district. This school provided us ample time to meet in PLC teams. One of our team’s initiatives was to become more proficient in the technologies our district had to offer, and when we looked closely at Edsby, wow! What an eye opening experience.
Edsby has helped me organize my lesson plans. I can create online quizzes to be used year after year. I can store my lessons on Edsby and not worry about a computer crash erasing years of work.
Yes, it was true, you could post copies of texts or homework and cut down on making copies. But there was so much more. I could assign essays and review them on the platform. I could then evaluate them and score them using an integrated grade book. I didn’t have to import my students or give them a new password. Everything from our district appears right in Edsby. Any new student is updated within 24 hours of enrollment.
I could engage students in a way that speaks to them. I will often post polls as bell ringers, and students have to take them as soon as we walk in class. Then we can discuss the results as a hook into new material. I can then use a quick quiz at the end of class to gauge my students’ understanding of the topic. I use these formative assessments to shape my lessons to best meet the needs of my students. I can post video and audio clips to supplement student understanding and students can discuss the contents in the feed below. Students can take their time to respond, and I feel that it helps those reluctant students who fear speaking up in class. My hope is to use this function to “flip” my classroom.
Parents and students can access Edsby anytime, and that really helps with make-up work. I direct students to Edsby to catch up on what they have missed. Additionally, parents feel empowered by viewing my Edsby page and knowing what to expect for assignments and how to encourage their children at school.
Finally, Edsby has helped me organize my lesson plans. I can create online quizzes to be used year after year. I can store my lessons on Edsby and not worry about a computer crash erasing years of work. Additionally, Edsby helps me plan with my PLC. We can easily share data, ideas, and lesson plans across the platform. Our collaboration has been streamlined.
Some of my colleagues joke about my Edsby enthusiasm, but I am making it my mission this next school year to get my entire middle school as excited about Edsby as I am.
In the past I had been reluctant to use a web based classroom service. I didn’t want to inadvertently expose my students work or privacy to unknown corners of the Internet. Edsby does not present this problem. Students and parents are provided with secure logins via the district’s systems and student work is not exposed beyond our virtual classrooms. The kids are safe and the parents are happy.
In a time when students are digital natives and accustomed to immediate, objective feedback, Edsby has helped me engage my students and organize my lessons in a new way. Edsby allows me to teach using tools students are accustomed to interacting with. Additionally, Edsby provides an immediate record of what the day to day activities are in my classroom so that parents and students are always informed. And I love that it’s integrated with my district’s systems and is built with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other privacy regulations in mind.
I’m still learning how to best implement Edsby in my classroom. Edsby releases new features regularly which keeps the platform fresh for my students and myself. Some of my colleagues joke about my Edsby enthusiasm, but I am making it my mission this next school year to get my entire middle school as excited about Edsby as I am.
Michele Baber teaches 8th Grade English Language Arts at Tibbetts Middle School in Farmington Municipal Schools, an Edsby school district in New Mexico.