How I Use It
I attempted to use Edmodo as an alternative to a classroom website. I could post not just assignment due dates, but also electronic copies of the assignment itself.
I encouraged students to use Edmodo to communicate with me and with one another. Group members could touch base with one another to be sure everyone was on track, especially if one member was absent.
I also tried to encourage students to seek out interesting information that related to the course - articles, images, videos, websites, tweets - and have them share it via the website.
I had mixed results. The main issue I had was that students often bypassed Edmodo and communicated via Facebook since they were more familiar with that and it was generally a default icon/app on their device. Students like the idea of sharing and using social media in this way, but often questioned the value of learning a new program that did almost everything Facebook did, when 90% of the class were already on Facebook and comfortable with the program.
It made it difficult for me, because I didn't have a lot of solid answers outside of the privacy issue.
I have stopped using Edmodo, preferring Google Calendar for a streamlined class website. I am considered using Facebook for future classes, but nothing has been decided yet.
Edmodo has a lot to offer to a teacher who wants to integrate more social media and technology into their practice.
Edmodo presents itself as Facebook for the classroom. It has many of the same features and capabilities as Facebook with plenty of opportunities to share ideas, work cooperatively, communicate easily outside of class time (with other students or the teacher). Users can post comments and questions, share video and images, just like on Facebook.
Unlike Facebook, Edmodo is a closed environment with none of the privacy issues that plague standard social media platforms. No one outside of the 'classroom' has access to student information or posts.
As a strictly 'educational' site, it also helps maintain the professional boundaries that can get a bit blurred when teachers use social media platforms in class. Users recognize that, although their account can be personalized, this is not their personal, at-home profile. There is no danger of students seeing personal info on the teacher's profile or vice versa.
In my experience, the main drawback of Edmodo, is that students have to seek it out on purpose. Edmodo is not something students use outside of its educational purpose and are much less likely to be aware of what is happening on the site unless required to visit.
This is one area in which Facebook is hard to beat. Kids use Facebook regularly, multiple times a day. It is a technology that is pervasive (and often annoying in the middle of class!), and students are already using it. Most students have their phone/laptops set up to notify them of any activity that happens on Facebook. If a teacher posts something on a classroom Facebook group students will know about it almost immediately. They become aware of updates, comments, and questions as they are posted without having to change their current habits. Using Facebook manipulates habits and behaviours already in place. Edmodo requires creating new habits and convincing students to buy-in to a new technology - no easy feat!
Edmodo is doing a pretty good job of being the Facebook of the classroom, but its main flaw is that it just isn't Facebook.