Like Facebook for Education!
I love using Edmodo in order to reach out to the students while they are working individually. It works in my classroom like a helpdesk platform for everyday work that they need to complete at home. Rather than attempting work at home, not understanding, then not completing the work, they can reach out to me with questions. Once I create a class for each section of a course that I teach and have the students signed in, I create a resource folder where I place every document that I hand out in the class. This ensures that if a student loses a document that they may need for homework, they can access it from home. Likewise, it allows for the students who have missed class to access the work they have missed in order to prevent falling behind. Once in the classroom, I post announcements that remind the students of upcoming assignments or field trips. I also post assignments, which create drop boxes for papers and projects, in order to prevent the “printer issue” that can occur on the due date. With these assignments, I am able to plan ahead and set them up to post on specific days and times. The only drawback of these drop boxes is when a student posts a document that isn’t in the correct format in order to open it. However, when you do open these papers or projects, it has an option for comments and annotations from the teacher. Like Google Docs and Office 365, the program saves every key stroke so that the student can receive feedback in order to learn from mistakes. I am also able to create quizzes of all styles (multiple choice, polls, short responses, timed writes, and spotlights, which are generated by Edmodo that are specific to the Common Core Standards).
The most exciting aspect of this website is the app that can be paired with it. As a teacher, I am able to respond to the posts almost instantaneously when the notification comes across my mobile device: smart phone, or tablet. I can pull up assignments that are posted in the drop boxes and provide quick comments that may allow for the student to make corrections prior to the final product. Again, the drawback to this comes from the technology access and interaction on the part of both the teacher and student. Overall, this website provides a wider platform for both teachers and students to engage their own teaching and learning.
How I Use It
Edmodo is a multifaceted online resource that allows the teacher to disseminate documents, assignments, lessons, and resources to help students for remediation, support, preparation, and reminders. The setup is straight forward and with the similarities to Facebook, the students and teachers alike are able to navigate it with ease. For remediation, I am able to post items like screencasts, documents, and presentations directly to the students who need further help with a concept. The students are able to post questions directly to me, so I am able to support them when they are working on the actual assignment on their own. For preparation for the next day’s class, I can post items that the students can review prior to class (Flip Classroom) in order to prepare them for the concepts of the day I post alerts and announcements specific to the class or even individuals. It allows for the teacher to build relationships with the students beyond the classroom that translates into the classroom atmosphere. All of these techniques work with the students, but the drawback can be when the students don’t do their part in checking Edmodo. Unlike Facebook, the posting and comments can only go to the teacher in the initial platform of the website.
The teacher can create small groups within the classroom in order to facilitate group work or discussion forums, which prepares them for the online coursework that they may face beyond the K-12 level of education. When using this aspect of the website, it is important as the teacher to monitor closely in order to prevent electronic misuse such as cyberbullying or inattention by group members. This allows for students, who may have anxiety about speaking up in the classroom setting, to have the opportunity to add in their voice with regard to the discussion topic. Overall, this website provides the teacher and student opportunities that the traditional classroom doesn’t always allow.