To quote their site, Edmodo is “a free, secure, social learning platform for teachers, students, schools and districts.” With worldwide use at over 1.5M as of Feb 2011, this popular service enables teachers to connect better with kids, and safely leverage web resources for creative teaching.
Early this month, Edmodo announced new features and capabilities which will take the tool even farther into eduction.
Some of the social network capabilities which Edmodo provides, include:
- Enables teachers to post messages for their students
- Enables teachers to discuss classroom assignments
- Enables teachers to assign and grade assignments
- Enables teachers and students to share content and materials
- Enables teachers to network with other teachers, to share ideas and resources
- Alerts students through mobile phone apps about new posts
- Keeps communications safe and secure with built-in privacy controls for each virtual classroom
Edmodo was founded in late 2008. It’s privately held, and appears committed to being a free service to enable easy teacher access. It’s also nice that the Edmodo interface looks a lot like Facebook – which makes it simple and attractive to students.
New Edmodo Features Launched March 3
Edmodo announced several new features on its blog site, which were released on March 3. These new features include:
- New discussion forum communities, on a wider range of topics for teachers and educators than were available before
- Read-only access, which teachers can assign to some groups of students
- Saved assignments, which makes it easy for teachers to keep assignments – and assign them again in the future without having to recreate them
Teacher Reactions and Examples of Use
Videos with examples of how Edmodo can be used in the classroom, is provided at their web site. As one teacher comments, “The difference between the 21st century classroom and the traditional classroom, is that everything that we do not only focuses on 21st-century skills but it is project-based – which means connected to the real-world.” This teacher sees Edmodo as central to enabling better teaching, which is matched to how the current generation of kids learn best.
Some benefits for practical use cited include:
- Access to learning for kids sick at home or absent for other reasons
- Access to real-time, real-world current event information and resources
- Providing teaching opportunities for up-to-date tools like social media
- Helping prepare kids for use of tools and communication which are relevant for their futures, both business and professional
- Enabling improved communication and tracking for students of classroom assignments and materials
- Keeps teachers relevant to students in exciting new ways
Considerations if You Want to Use Edmodo for Your Classroom
Keep these challenges in mind, if you want to use Edmodo for your classroom:
- You may find that some students lack Internet access and may not have mobile phones available for their use. Work with your school administration, to see if there are ways to make up for the “digital divide” that may unfairly penalize some students or call attention to their lack of resources at home.
- Discuss adoption of Edmodo with your district’s technology integration specialist. That person can assist you with getting over some of the technology hurdles, including classroom Internet connection and site management.