How I Use It
When I first starting experimenting with Edmodo I just used it to a) administer tests and b) use it as a place where students could access old work when they were outside of school. But now I take advantage of all the features that Edmodo offers. I run an almost paperless classroom so all of my assignments and worksheets are posted on Edmodo. The students are able to download docs to work on, then turn the digital copy back into Edmodo for grading. Edmodo also provides the option to post announcements, create self-correcting quizzes, create threaded discussions and conduct polls. Edmodo gathers all of the student work and organizes it in a way that makes it extremely easy to grade and return to the students. There is a bit of a learning curve when beginning to use the site but it is designed to be user friendly, and it is.
If you are familiar with Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas or the new Google Classroom then you get the purpose of Edmodo. It's a great site to keep both teachers and students organized. If you are sick of "I turned that in already", or "you lost my work" or "it wasn't late" then Edmodo might be the option for you. When used to its full capacity, Edmodo is great for organizing both student and teacher work and makes managing the workflow that much more easier. As long as there is access to the internet, students are able to check what they have turned in, get feedback on assignments and see what they still owe. Students are able to take more control of their own work giving them ability to access their assignments whenever they want.
Edmodo also provides the option to link to Google Drive.
As for the bells and whistles, the user interface looks a lot like Facebook which provides a certain level of familiarity for most users. Edmodo also provides the option for self-correcting quizzes, posting discussion questions and sending out reminders to all users. One of the nicer aspects of Edmodo is that the teacher can reset student passwords - as opposed to other LMS's that require an administrator to change them. Edmodo also allows you to create subgroups within your class which is great when you have adapted tests and assignments. You can send send those adapted docs directly to the appropriate student(s) without being viewed by others.
Edmodo also has great technical support with a pretty quick response time. And if you can't find your answer through support, there are a number of communities that you can join to share lesson plans, ideas and strategies. There have been a number of great ideas that I have used that I picked up from these communities.
There are very few negatives that I can mention about Edmodo. It would be nice if Edmodo had an in-site app where students could annotate pdf's but until then you will have to have students download your assignment and send it to an outside site such as crocodoc or notablePDF. When they are finished with the assignment they will have to send it back to Edmodo to "turn in". If you plan on relying heavily on Edmodo for a flipped classroom scenario you need to be prepared for students that don't have access to the internet.
But in the case of Edmodo the pros outweigh the cons. It's free, the teacher has total control and is the administrator, there is a mobile app for easy access and it is simple to use for all contributors. Below is a link for for more information on the product.