Edmodo is a free web tool praised by numerous educators. It is also available as a mobile application. It basically consists of a class’s social network that the teacher, the students, and even the parents can access to with their own code, but no one else. Safety is indeed one of the distinctive aspects of this tool: it is password protected and one needs the class’s code to join the group. It makes it a better alternative to wider social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, where students may be exposed to classroom-innapropriate content (+). So Edmodo is definitely more centred on the classroom, and the content that students and teachers upload is secured and only accessible to the desired people. Also, the fact that the parents can see what goes on allows more control as well as awareness of what their child is up to at school. Speaking of control, as opposed to Facebook, students cannot send private messages to each other, stressed Mister Miller, which prevents from unnecessary conflicts to occur. All in all, Edmodo is probably the most polyvalent and classroom-appropriate tool that I have studied so far.
Now, let us see what it has to offer.
As suggested in this article, Edmodo is best used as a “community building platform” where students and teachers can interact with each other and share learning resources. Therefore, anyone may post, comment, upload, or reply at any time in order to stay connected. Similarly, Edmodo has a calendar that the teacher may organise so that the students and their parents keep track of what is coming up (exams, due dates, presentations, holidays, etc.) Students may also add their personal notes to the calendar that are not visible to the rest of the class (+). Furthermore, unlike good ol’ paper syllabuses, one can update it as the year advances. Another very practical aspect of Edmodo is the digital library. The latter is a virtual backpack in which students may upload documents, resources and assignments and therefore access anytime-anywhere. The teacher has a digital library too. When writing a post, one can pick something from her or his library and share it to all! On the whole, these features really contribute to giving a sense of responsibilities to students. Once they understand how the system works, they do not have to depend on anyone to show them what exams to prepare or what projects to work on after each class, because all the information and resources they need are located in one place.
Although Edmodo is already very polyvalent on its own, it still allows the incorporation of many other web applications (+). For instance, Google Drive is directly accessible from Edmodo, which allows access to even more material that one prefers keeping on Google Drive. Teachers may also give assignements to students via Edmodo. When it is completed, students can submit it have it annotated online. Quizzes may also be created from A to Z (+). Possible types of questions include multiple choice, true or false, fill in the blank or short answer. Even a time limit can be set! The teacher can see who turned in the test as it is completed, grade it, and at last have an overview of group or individual results. Again, the teacher does not have to rely on an external tool to grade his students’ work, but can preview it and correct it directly on Edmodo. The newest cool aspect of Edmodo is the ability to create polls (+). Quick, anonymous surveys are often very useful to either have an idea of the class’s opinion or initiate easy and fun interrogations on certain notions. And this is something that the students can do to, for their own knowledge or, why not, as a weekly assignement. It is a simple feature that may change a student’s perception of the class, as it allows him to contribute to the evolution of the class, and have his voice heard. Shyer students especially could surprise more than one.
I think that the biggest advantage of Edmodo is that it centralises everything that a class needs. It is perfectly suitable for any kind of educational purpose, and offers infinite possibilities for teaching, learning, evaluating, understanding, analysing, creating, etc. It keeps the student (and the teacher too!) aware of what goes on in the course, and what is to come. Edmodo may also create a more communal dynamic in class as everyone is connected online and contributes to one another’s learning experience. All in all, a very positive addition to any classroom!