I will confess up front, I am a massive fan of Edrolo. I have used it for my senior Biology classes for the past few years. I love how easy it is to use, and how it has everything I need to support my students. Plus my students love Andrew Douch (the Bio presenter), he explains everything so clearly and makes my job that little bit easier.
So I thought I’d share some tips I’ve picked up along the way (as a super user!), to help you get the most from using Edrolo with your students. I’m not getting any kickbacks for this (maybe I should!). I just really believe it’s helping my students learn and want to share what I can in case it’s helpful.
Take some heavy lifting out of your planning
A lot of teachers feel like Edrolo is there to supplement their teaching. I see it very differently. This year for VCE Biology we have a new study design. As with all curriculum changes, some content was removed or added, and things were shuffled around. Meaning a reworking of all our planning and materials from the past years (sigh!).
I was able to use Edrolo, as the starting point for my own planning. Edrolo had it all mapped out, and Andrew’s presenter notes helped me create my own PowerPoints to use in class. I used some of his notes in my slides, meaning I wasn’t starting from scratch and that in-class learning would align with what students were learning on Edrolo.
In terms of workload as a teacher, it would have been a huge burden to have to develop all of these from scratch. Edrolo made it so much easier.
The practice SAC questions, chapter review questions and exam practice questions were also all there, ready to go. In terms of workload as a teacher, it would have been a huge burden to have to develop all of these from scratch. Edrolo made it so much easier. Of course, I still needed to come up with my own stuff - but it gave me the basis to build my own content and create the resources for my teaching.
Easily scaffold student access
One great thing with Edrolo is you have all the content you need - and students can revise or jump ahead at their own pace. However, the downside is that some students, especially high achievers, might feel they need to complete everything as quickly as they can. And struggling students might get a bit lost.
Fortunately it’s super easy to copy a link to a specific lesson and send to your students. I tell my classes that if they want to answer more questions or watch more videos, they are more than welcome to do so, but I am assigning them the essential content that they need to answer and study.
It also helps me to track the content that our students have accessed, and closely support those who need assistance by seeing how they are performing along the way. Our lessons are 72 mins each - and I tend to structure my lessons with 50 mins teaching face-to-face, and 20 mins of students using Edrolo. Then I’ll send them the relevant lesson links for review/ preview for the next lesson. It keeps it structured for all learners, so even if they are absent from class, they can still continue with their learning from home.
Powerful data and feedback
Edrolo is really good in terms of instant data that I can look at/analyse to help with my planning. It’s so easy to see which students have completed which questions and how they’re tracking.
More than this though, the students love the feedback! It would be very difficult to be able to sit down and mark all the students’ questions for each chapter and give them detailed feedback. Also, it would never be instant. With Edrolo, if a student is stuck or doesn’t understand, they don’t need to wait for the next lesson or hunt me down during recess. They can just check the written solution. If they are still unclear after that, they have the option to watch a video solution and, if they need further clarification after that, we can talk about it in class.
It is essential to spend time with your students to make sure they know what they’re looking for. Knowing how to use the checklists and videos will pay dividends for you and your students.
This data can also help with accountability. I had a parent worried about the progress of his child, and trying to understand why he wasn’t doing so well. I was able to screenshot Edrolo and show that the student was following along, doing all the classwork - but he wasn’t doing any of the homework (no chapter review questions etc). I was able to include all that into the email that I sent to them.
Get the textbook too
The Edrolo textbook is fantastic, for Units 1 & 2 and Units 3 & 4 VCE Biology. If there is a textbook available for your subject, check it out. It aligns with all the online content, making it super easy for students to jump from online out of class to the textbook in class. The layout is easy, with small chunks that help students to follow through. Then at the end of the chapter they have questions - which can also be done online.
As I said, I’m a fan. I’m also very appreciative of my principal Brad Moyle for supporting us with access to Edrolo!
Cesar has been a Science and Biology teacher for 16 years. During this time, he has taught Science across all year levels, with many years spent focussing on VCE Biology across Years 11 and 12. He has been a VCAA Biology assessor since 2012, and is currently the Head of Science at Epping Secondary College, where he has enjoyed teaching for the past 13 years.
About Epping Secondary College
Epping Secondary College is an academic college in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, that aspires to provide its students with every opportunity to achieve educational excellence, personal growth and vocational success.
The student population has increased significantly over the past 3 years, as the college’s reputation for firm discipline, challenging learning programs and supportive teachers, has placed it as a school of choice for many families. The current student population is 1300. There is a strong sense of community and a commitment to building the partnership between parents, teachers and students so that the staff work as a team to bring out the very best in every student.