Friday, June 4, 2010

Edmodo - A new tool for connecting in the classsroom



This past semester I used Edmodo in my AP class, and I thought it would be a great time to post about it on this blog since we are winding down/finshed with the semester and we now have time to explore ways to enhance our curriculum. Here is essentially a "review" of Edmodo.

According to their website, Edmodo is "a private social platform for students and teachers to share ideas, files, events and assignments." According to my students, Edmodo is a lot like Facebook for school (except it is unblocked!). According to me, Edmodo is awesome!

The process to sign up is easy and painless, and within 2 minutes you have created a class and have been given a code for your students (and only your students) to enter so they can enroll in the class you have created. From there you can send links, alerts, files, and assignments to all the students enrolled in the class. Here are some thoughts:

The Good:

  • Ease of use Edmodo is one of the easiest learning applications I have ever used. The students are familiar with the layout because yeah, it is a lot like Facebook and they can Facebook in their sleep. From a teacher's perspective organizing and publishing is also pretty easy.

  • Ability to stay connected with students From snow days, swine flu, extended absences, or just attending to a conference teachers are able to always connected with their students and give them new homework or remind them of homework that is due, or other upcoming events.

  • Its mobile Students can sign up to have alerts, notifications, links, or events sent directly to their cellphones. Also, Edmodo has a great interactive mobile site for iPhones and Droids (more on the Blackberry later).

  • It collaborative Students are able to post on the main message board for the entire class and have discussion about upcoming tests, assignments, readings, etc.

  • Its private Since you need an access code to sign up for the class, if you do not have one of those codes, you cannot participate in the class. This high standard of privacy has given me (and my administrators) great piece of mind and allowed for more leeway with allowing more social networking for classes.

  • Support The support Edmodo offers is amazing! I had a question, sent them a message and had a response within an hour. From what I hear this is true throughout their network.


The Drawbacks:

  • Student-student communication Students are not able to direct message each other unless you create specific groups that students can join. I can understand wanting to control this for younger students, but it should be an option for each class you created so older students could collaborate in real time on assignments by talking directly with each other instead of posting on the board for all to see.

  • Digital Divide Some students in our district do not have access to internet at home and do not have a cell phone (or with one text messaging) so being able to log on to check assignment becomes a little more difficult because they will have to access Edmodo from the school library.

  • Doesn't play well with Blackberry I have had a hard time navigating the mobile site on my Blackberry for whatever reason. It won't let me post/update from the browser. I hope they are able to change that soon so I can have the same accessability from my Blackberry as my students with iPhones and Droids do (I know, I know, fix the problem permanently by joining the iPhone dark side!)


The "Not Quite Explored Yet"

  • The Edmodo Calendar Ok, to be honest I have explored that a bit, but right now it seems a little too clumsy for me to do all my lesson planning in.

  • RSS Feed You can have an RSS feed from your favorite blogs fed right into your class page so the updates can be viewed by your students with ease. I am going to spend some time this summer looking for blogs to incorporate into my class sites.

  • Assignment Grading There is a feature that allows students to turn in their homework online. You can then grade it and score it right there online. The score will then show up on the students home page. A pretty cool feature that I look forward to exploring in the near future.


In closing, if you are looking for a great social networking site that is private, safe, easy to use for both you and your students check out Edmodo. If you already use it in class, I'd be interested in hearing from you and how you use incorporate it in your classroom. Feel free to comment below or contact me via Twitter @jjanczak

3 comments:

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