Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Exploring Edmodo

My class and I joined Edmodo last year so that we could take part in a global project.  We have not used it for anything more, yet I have heard teachers on Twitter and in the blogosphere highly commend all that it offers. As part of my sabbatical term I wanted to identify tools that can have a positive impact on student learning and that the students may use in the context of a social network.

After spending time listening to some webinars and exploring around on Edmodo I have found that it offers a safe secure environment that has to some extent a Facebook like feel to it. It not only is an environment for students but for teachers as well.  It has many great features.

A teacher signs up and forms a group which has a code generated for it.  Students can then sign up and put in the code given them by the teacher, they then become a member of the group.  A teacher may have a number of groups and sub groups for students - so that there is large scope for differentiation.  Students can then make posts that fall into the timeline and other students can add to the conversation by replying, or they can post their own thoughts on something.  An important point is that students cannot direct message each other, everything that is written is in the public timeline. Teachers do have the choice of moderating this chat if they so wished before it goes public but I think this would hinder the flow.

One of the main features about Edmodo is that it is entirely private to the group -' a walled garden' as one of the webinar tutors described it. It is a place to learn the skills of online citizenship.  If a student makes a judgement of error here, it is an indication of where more teaching and learning needs to take place.  It is of course important that we continue to teach about being a good and safe digital citizen, and it needs to be ongoing.  Edmodo is one place where students can practice what that looks like.

Teachers and students can direct message each other however and so can teachers to each other. When we were taking part in the global collaboration project, the teacher who organised the joint group, was able to make the other teachers in the group jointly responsible for the group.

Parents can also join, a teacher gives them a code that then enables them to be able to read what their own child produces, but they are unable to see anything else.  I expect some parents would be interested, however I am not sure how many would do this. However the opportunity is there if they want.

How will I use Edmodo with my students in the future?

  • Homework - setting an assignment and due date is very easy here. In fact it could be a place to set  class assignments set as well. It has a very nice calendar integrated into it so that each student can see what is happening when.
  • Set up more groups - so that reading, maths groups can talk to one another and where I can set assignments for them.  For example I can place videos and games for them only to view.
  • Set up quizzes and polls which are very easy to integrate in this environment.
  • I will ask students to turn in certain assignments to me through Edmodo. There is the ability to annotate and respond to their work.  There is also a grading system which I won't use, I presume it can be ignored!  
  • Google docs can also be worked with from within Edmodo, I haven't explored how this works yet but I will definitely use it. I have however synced my docs with Edmodo.
  • Use it for back channelling for the students whenever it is needed.
  • Encourage them to use it to discuss with each other books they are reading, give or offer help that is needed with a problem they don't understand etc.
  • A place to communicate with each other. We have done that and the students enjoy it and while they do it they are writing!  
  • For some form of collaboration in the future with other classes and schools.
How will I use it for myself?
  • Join communities of teachers who have same teaching interests and who share ideas and questions.
  • Explore publisher communities to see what they have to offer.
  • Interact with other teachers there so as to widen my PLN.
I also like the fact that schools can form their own groups.  A group of teachers from the same school form a group and share their ideas, the same with a school district.  I am sure there are a number of environments where something similar may take place, however I believe the simplicity of this environemt recommends itself.

Places to learn more about Edmodo are the following webinars or blog posts:
Edmodo is a place where students can be connected and actively involved, where they can use their thinking and language skills, relate to others, participate and contribute and above all learn to manage themselves within a social networking site.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kathryn,
    Social media in the classroom is such a great idea--students show to become more engaged in their learning.
    Have you looked at My Big Campus? It's similar to Edmodo but with many more benefits. MBC has several security features making it a safer environment. And its educational resource library has hundreds of thousands of pre-embedded links, videos, wikis, documents, etc. Here is a great post about MBC written by a teacher: http://gradesandupgradestoo.blogspot.com/2012/02/top-10-reasons-why-i-love-my-big-campus.html

    Explore both options if you can!


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