Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Have You Tried Edmodo?

I recently had the opportunity to attend a workshop on Edmodo.  Whenever I heard about teachers talking about creating a class page with their students, Edmodo always came up.  And I'm interested in using technology more with my students;  I already had a classroom blog which I talked about in this post.  I just didn't know how Edmodo was different.

The instructors likened Edmodo to Facebook.  While I wouldn't "sell" it to parents in that way, the kids did see the connection right away and were excited about all the features:

  1. Kids can personalize their account complete with avatar, learning style, career goal, and inspirational quote (they can even search by famous person within the system).
  2. Kids can reply to posts.
  3. Kids can write their own posts for others to reply to.
  4. Kids can upload photos, links, and documents.
  5. Teachers can post all of the above as well as polls and quizzes (very similar to using Google forms, but integrated onto Edmodo itself).
  6. Teachers can enter dates and assignments into an integrated calendar.
  7. There's an app for that (Apple and Android).
However, Edmodo is designed for children and therefore has safeguards against predators as well as cyber bullying. 

First, when you sign up for Edmodo as a teacher, you are given a "classroom code."  You will give that code to your students when you sign them up, and no one else can see the page unless they register with that code.  It's not the same as a password, in that the children will sign in with a username and password each time they log in, but the code is only used by them once when the register.  Once your whole class registers, you can "lock" the group.  If you get a new student later in the year you can reset the code to register that student (students who registered already don't need to re-register with the new code).  So the bottom line is, no one is getting on now or later without your help.

Second, unlike Facebook and other social media sites, there is no private messaging between students.  Anything a child writes will be seen by you and every other child in the class, and it will be logged under their real first name.  If a child was going to say something inappropriate, it would be as if they stood up in the middle of class to say it; it's all out in the open.  You even have the option (in case you do have a "bold" class this year) to "moderate" comments.  That is, you can set their posts to stay hidden from the other kids until you approve each one.   

Edmodo does not require an Email to sign up (unlike most websites that you create accounts for).  The only tricky thing about signup is that children need to tick a box that says their parent has read and agreed to the terms of use.  Out of respect to this rule, I sent home a permission slip that granted the children permission to tick the box in class during my introductory lesson.  [Update] A reader requested a copy of this permission slip.  I've added it to my TPT store for free for a limited time, so if you're interested, grab it now!
I've used Edmodo for 2 weeks now, and honestly I am not sure I love it more than the classroom blog.  Watch for a future post on the pros and cons list for Edmodo versus Weebly.  So if you're interested in Edmodo, I feel it IS worth trying, but you might find a different platform suits your needs better. 

P.S.  If you want more teaching tips, follow me here:
Amber Thomas's Classroom Favorites on TPT

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...