How I Use It
While I do not have my own classroom yet, I plan to use Edmodo in the future with my students. As a student in AP World History, I used Edmodo for two years. I then went on to serve as a Teacher’s Assistant for that same teacher, and am now becoming a teacher myself largely because of her influence on me. In AP World, we used Edmodo to share current events articles that pertained to our class. We also used it ask each other questions when studying for exams and writing essays. Very quickly, we used Edmodo beyond the time required by our teacher.
We used Edmodo a lot in AP World, but I do not think we used it to it’s fullest potential. For example, our families were not involved in any way in our Edmodo use. But Edmodo has the ability to increase parent and teacher dialogue, and also encourages dialogue between the teacher and the students and the students themselves beyond classroom time. When viewing this tool through the lens of the SAMR framework, Edmodo thus redefines the educational experience. Prior to social media, there would be no such way for the parents, teachers, and students to communicate in such a dynamic manner. And being that Edmodo is uniquely an education-driven social media tool, it is able to take the benefits of social media while still maintaining an appropriate boundary between the professional and the personal.
Additionally, I think such a tool as Edmodo is extremely beneficial for ELLs and their families. If teachers post classroom announcements, grades, and feedback on the site in English, students and their families can easily use Internet services to translate the information, again redifining the level of involvement that can occur. Students of different native languages can also communicate with each other in the language they feel most comfortable online using translation services. More generally, Edmodo is definitely a tool that encourages differentiation and inclusion by giving all parties the opportunity to re-read information as they need.
Considering Edmodo through the lens of the TPACK framework, on its own the tool does not uniquely pertain to social studies pedagogy in any way. But the way my teacher, for example, used the tool to encourage students to make connections between the course content and the “real world,” and share those connections with one another, made the tool reach the TPACK criteria. Such an outcome is dependent on teacher creativity and consistent student engagement. But once we used Edmodo enough, and consistently enough, it became not just a classroom norm, but a part of our lifestyle and relationships, making the learning relevant to our lives, and therefore more likely to sink in in a meaningful way.
Overall, I highly recommend Edmodo. It is fun, and an effective way to use technology to support classroom management and build comraderie between students, families, and the teacher.