Edmodo keeps getting better!

It’s odd but I don’t think that I have ever blogged (solely) about edmodo. Edmodo is my most favourite web 2.0 tool. Why? Because it literally has become my virtual learning space. I guess I could say ‘classroom’ but I won’t because it connotes four walls and isolated teaching and learning. I guess I could say ‘environment’ because that is the buzz word (er, I mean ‘acronym’) ‘VLE’ but for me the word ‘space’ connotes freedom from the traditional restrictions placed on learning. I could use adjective ‘institutionalised’ in the preceding sentence but I refrained as I know you’ve heard it all before – being eduporn addicts and all!

So why blog about edmodo now? Afterall, I’ve been using this ‘micro-blog’/’social-networking for education’ for over 18 months now. I’ve been evangelising edmodo for the last 12 months. NOW is the time to blog about because it’s getting just so damn good! The people at edmodo have (honestly) listened to their community and moulded their (dare I say it?) ‘product’ to suit our needs and wants. It’s really cool that users can have such a genuine influence on education tools – what’s better is that it is free. It better stay that way. Can I have a chorus of ‘Ning’? 😉

I’m not going to blab on about edmodo like I do with everything else (afterall I have 6 hours to complete three piles of marking – two physical and one virtual – and three PBL projects to organise) I’m simply going to list my 5 fav things about edmodo at the moment.

1. Communities: This is a brand new feature just introduced to edmodo yesterday. (Aside: You know you’re an edu-geek when you notice a feature introduced 5 mins after it becomes available!) Edmodo communities are oriented by subjects (i.e. Social Science; Science; Mathematics; Language Arts) and are ‘suggested’ to teachers in the ‘suggestions’ tab. Once you join the community you can get direct access to the resources/ideas/experience/feedback of other teachers from around the world. Iknow many of you are on twitter – the best PLN there is. What edmodo communities allows you to do though is save any of your favourite resources/links directly to the built-in library (more about this at number 2). Also, the conversations are threaded and this means you can ‘write longer’ and keep track of a conversation more easily. Awesome.

2. Library feature: Edmodo recently added the library feature in order to assist teachers in keeping track of and organising the great resources they share  (and have shared with them) on edmodo. Simply put, every file and link added to an edmodo group is ‘magically’ placed into a large cache called the ‘library’. Teachers can then creat folders and select which resource should reside in which folder. I know this sounds simple but it gets even better. You can share these folders directly with your students! This means the teacher can select a variety of materials appropriate to a specific unit/topic and send these directly to the students, all organised into a folder! Awesome.

3. Assignments and gradebook: I am just beginning to use this feature regularly and I LOVE it! The edmodo assignments are so easy to set. All you have to do is click ‘assigment’, add the details of the task, upload files/attach links with a click, select the due date with another click and the send to your chosen group. (Go register for edmodo, play around with setting an assignment and I assure you it is this simple!) My fav part of this feature is the gradebook. Your students ‘turn-in’ an assignment with a click, and then you access them in your ‘spotlight’. Read through their work, give them some feedback and a mark – then literally with a click of a button the grades have been sent to your ‘gradebook’. Awesome.

4. RSS feeds: You can now RSS to your fav blog/site and it feed DIRECTLY into your chosen group. It’s so easy to do that even I worked it out in two minutes. I set up an RSS from the Board of Studies site to my Davidson DER group so the teachers at my school get the latest news from the BOS without any effort from me required.

5. Public pages: You can now select for certain posts/assignments/links/polls to be set as ‘public’. This is great because it allows your students to share their work/ideas with the ‘real world’ – especially their parents but the edmodo group as a whole maintains its ‘private’ status. Public pages are great to showcase student work and acts an incentive for students to put in their personal best with all tasks. See an example public page here.

So that’s my little edmodo evangelising. It really is great and my school has adopted it fully. My principal mentioned edmodo at assembly last week – allowing me to confidently proclaim on twitter that at Davo “we now have ‘momentum’ “. Blended learning is taking over my school slowly but surely – thanks edmodo!

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14 thoughts on “Edmodo keeps getting better!

  1. Thank you for this — I may link it to my page for the upcoming New Jersey Education Association’s convention. I’m the Essex County Teacher of the Year and my presentation is going to be demonstrations of edmodo and how it has transformed my classroom. I have turned the West Orange High School faculty onto this tool and its use is spreading like wildfire. I’m sure after my presentations in High Tech Hall at the NJEA Convention there will be even more converts. I see incredible possibilities for the new SUBJECT groups — incredible collaboration possibilities with teachers all over the world!

    I’d like to add a few of my favorite aspects of edmodo:
    1. INCREDIBLE SUPPORT — I have hardly ever had to wait more than an hour to get a response to an online question shot into cyberspace from the edmodo technicians and support staff.

    2. Ease of use! My district was using Sharepoint Shareportal — what a trial. You never knew where you were — somewhere deep in the bowels of the hierarchy. Edmodo is so easy to use — and when you are confused there are excellent YouTube videos to help you through the basics.

    3. Ease of embedding video

    4. The POLLING SYSTEM! Excellent! And this has become a new important tool for my formative assessments because while I don’t know which student has voted which way — it promotes the most candid and illuminating discussions. I’ve been using the results from the polls to generate post-poll discussion… assessment of genuine understanding… I’m looking forward to greater exploration of this tool.

    5. And FAVORITE: My students are collaborating in ways I would not have dreamed possible. I can combine subgroups of students who literally don’t even know one another (I teach in a large high school) and they are collaborating online, using GOOGLEDOCS to co-create Powerpoints, post them on edmodo. There is INDIVIDUAL and COLLECTIVE output that is a teacher’s dream come true. I’m a convert!

    • Thanks SO much for your post!!

      I love hearing from other people who have stumbled across edmodo and just gone ‘oh my god’ – lol, it has so many cool features, I’m so pleased that you shared your favs with me!

      How crazy easy is the poll feature? My school is transformed thanks to edmodo!

      Keep in touch :0)

  2. Hi Bianca, I’m very interested by your evangelising of Edmodo. Our HS uses Moodle, and a techno-geek like myself finds it tedious to use, have you used moodle? If so, how does it compare to Edmodo?

  3. I am an evangelist – so keep that in mind when you read my reply, lol!

    I went to the four day moodle training course. I got my school to pay $1000 to have moodle server hosted by an external agency. I even had a dear PLN friend create a moodle for my school.

    But after the four days of listening to ‘how’ (and boy were there a lot!) and hours ‘playing’ (it wasn’t fun, so I don’t think it should be called playing – not for me – I was annoyed) with my moodle to try to get it looking like the ones I had been shown as exemplar models, I just gave up.

    My problem 9I was told by my moodle trainer) was that I had already dabbled in edmodo – it was going to be hard to change my practice. And it was! Edmodo does EVERYTHING for me I want in a virtual classroom (OK, except grade my kids essays – lol) … I gues I tell people that edmodo isn’t coursewear. It’s not static, like moodle. You don’t build it – it builds itself. It can get messy – it is dynamic. But so is learning. So is my classroom. I like it. I try to organise myself with the folders, but find I’m too busy to do it properly – just like my classroom. You can create a ‘group’ as a course if you want, but you can’t ‘force’ kids to follow a path – that’s what moodle is for. I don’t operate that way in my physical classroom, so I don’t want to operate that way in my virtual one. The cool thing about edmodo is that it works with moodle if you need it to – links embed simply so kids can jump between both.

    basically, teachers are busy – they want soemthing that doesn’t take four days of training to use, that kids like using and that enhances their teaching practice and student learning. Edmodo does all of that.

    The kids LOVE edmodo!

  4. Thanks for your reply, Bianca. At our HS we’ve used Moodle to run an online viewing task for year 9 where students viewed a current affairs story and answered the moodle quiz i created, so it’s good for that. Does Edmodo do quizzes? I know it does assignments (which will save me a lot of work on my OneNote notebook – downloading, checking, drag&dropping into the notebook for safe keeping) and I guess if it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of Moodle (which is, as you succinctly put it, ‘static’) then i can leverage what is good from both. 🙂

    On another topic, have you had students blog using BlogED? I’ve started with a year 7 class and they love reading & commenting on each other’s work, but i haven’t been able to get to create a separate blog for each so they have “ownership”. Does Edmodo provide this sort of thing?

  5. Before jumping into this nice ( FREE) software I thought I’d try to determine the source. From the site: “Edmodo was created by two school district web professionals …a privately held company based in Mountain View, California.” Why not give some names? It looks a lot like Facebook…just would love to know if anyone else has this question.

  6. Hi Bianca,
    I’m a 3rd Bach of Ed. student trying to get an assignment done by the end of the week. The course is an ICT & pedagogy one and I’m trying to integrate appropriate ICTs into a science unit. Knowing nothing about Edmodo except what I’ve read on their homepage and your blog here, could you tell me please, would it be an appropriate forum for collaborative groups to record observations etc. in the style of a science journal? There would be 6 groups working and wanting to keep separate journals, but the whole class should be able to view all journals.
    Not sure how often you are looking at this, but if you should see this in the next few days I would love to hear from you regarding this.
    Many thanks, Jennifer

    • Hi Jennifer,
      You can do that task using edmodo, certainly. Create a group for each team on edmodo where they add content, then allow other students to join group as ‘read-only’ so they can’t comment or add stuff.
      Otherwise, have you thought of getting each team to create a weebly or blog as final journal and just use edmodo as collaborative space?
      Good luck!

      • Thanks so much for your speedy reply, Bianca. I like the idea of the blog or Weebly as a final journal – and I am much more familiar with both of those options. The collaborative space provided by Edmodo is attractive to me – I’ll have to look into it more when I have a bit more time. Thanks again, Jennifer

  7. Pingback: Mrs V Learns » What is Edmodo?

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  9. Great information on edmodo. I would like to know if edmodo allows to post discussions only, or present the whole lesson including practice and quizzes? I can’t wait to hear from you. I want to use it.

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