Edmodo.com: BusyTeacher's Detailed Review

Edmodo.com: BusyTeacher's Detailed Review

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Edmodo.com: BusyTeacher's Detailed Review

Edmodo's slogan is “where learning happens”.

According to the website, “Edmodo helps connect all learners with the people and resources needed to reach their full potential”. The site aims to provide a safe means for teachers and students to interact, engage students and develop excitement in learning, connect to resources, provide an easy way to monitor students’ progress, and provide personal yet useful applications. The site was founded in 2008 by Nic Borg and Jeff O’Hara as a way to try and bridge the gap between the physical school environment and the online world. With more and more areas of life, especially for the younger generations, being conducted in the virtual and online world, it makes sense to try and actively engage students in education via the same means.

Registration is free, and you register, and sign in, from the homepage. On registering, you must enter your name, school, email address and choose a password, before creating your own URL, uploading a photograph and selecting communities that interest you. There is a choice of Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, World Languages, Career and Tech Education, Computer Technology, Health and P.E., Creative Arts, Special Education, Professional Development and College Readiness. News from each community you choose to follow is then relayed to you on your personalised homepage.

You can search for people already registered on Edmodo from your school and connect with them. You can also connect with others, create and join groups and set up an online classroom. When setting up a classroom, you must first choose a name for your classroom, and then set the grade and subject area. You will then receive a unique group code, which you can give to your students in order for them to join the class. Once students have joined you are instructed to lock the code, and ensure it is not public, and then you can share folders, create assignments and discuss matters with your students who are online and a member of the group. You will have options to create notes, alerts, assignments, quizzes and polls. You can set up multiple groups for different classes.

Pros

  1. 1

    The Site is Free to Use

    Although you must register, after you have completed a few basic steps you are ready to go. The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, and you can be set up and ready to connect with your students in a matter of minutes.

  2. 2

    The Site Aims to Bridge the Physical and Virtual World

    Recognising that people are increasingly using online resources in many areas of their lives, Edmodo strives to link these two worlds to create a totally different learning experience. As well as attending traditional lessons in the real world, students can connect with their teachers online to continue their learning and development.

  3. 3

    Using Edmodo Can Save Time in the Classroom

    By setting assignments and posting details in your virtual classroom, you can save actual class time. It is possible to refer students to the Edmodo classroom for homework tasks, for example, and students can submit exercises online, rather than needing to print out documents and hand them in. It can ensure that work does in fact get turned in, and there is no fear of papers being mislaid. You can also keep all submissions together in one handy place, and students can submit work whenever they complete tasks.

  4. 4

    You Can Track and Monitor Students’ Progress Easily

    You and your students can see their progress easily in one place. You are able to award badges to students based on their performance or behaviour, and Edmodo will track the badges as well as score and grade figures.

  5. 5

    Great Suggestions Based on Topics

    From your homepage you will see a tab entitled Discover. Clicking on here will enable you to enter the topic that you are teaching, and suggestions for resources will be given. There is also the option to browse topics. I tried a search using the term “prepositions” and two results were returned. I looked at the first option available and was taken to a page with all different information about prepositions. There was an explanation of what a preposition is, various online exercises, grammar games, and a list of other teachers in the Edmodo community also teaching prepositions. Many suggestions link to a relevant external website. Whilst these are primarily intended to be used in the virtual classroom, there are ideas and exercises that you can take and use in your regular classroom.

  6. 6

    There is the Ability for Students to Indicate Their Reactions to Classroom Content

    Within the Insights section there are easy to understand symbols to visually represent moods and opinions in general and on popular reactions within groups. You can also see whether reactions are trending positively or negatively.

  7. 7

    It Can Encourage Students to Participate More and Gain Confidence

    Using an online discussion forum may encourage those students who are reluctant to speak out in a classroom setting when surrounded by their peers. It can help students to feel comfortable and secure. This can in turn raise achievement levels.

  8. 8

    There is an Informative and Interesting Blog

    Teachers post about a wide range of topics in the blog. This can provide very useful and practical information, raise interesting points, and provide tips and guidance.

  9. 9

    Good Customer Support and Help

    There is a very comprehensive help section, with the facility to search for a particular topic as well as browsing through the different help topics. You can request help through the support community, and looking at the questions asked there seems to be a very fast response rate. There are also three different emails provided as means of contacting the site administrators with regards to the specific areas of institutions, press, and partnerships.

Cons

  1. 1

    Your Students Must be Members

    Although free to use, you must make sure that your students join the website, and connect with your group, for it to be effective. Without your students online, there is no point in using the online classroom. Also, if only part of your class join your online class, you cannot use it as a full way of supplementing your real life activities or giving assignments, as it would mean some students are left behind whilst others gain an unfair advantage over their classmates. In some countries where ESL is taught, many students may not have home internet access or use of a device to connect to the internet. You must therefore think very carefully before trying to use this as a means of teaching.

  2. 2

    It Can be Time Consuming

    As well as preparing for regular lessons, using the online classroom could actually end up taking you more time than your regular teaching. With taking part in online discussions, arranging tasks and exercises, managing scores and quizzes and other online activities, you may find yourself spending a great deal of time on the site doing additional work. Whilst all teachers are motivated, go the extra mile and truly want what is best for their students, it may not be possible, time and energy wise, to run an online classroom as well as your everyday teaching duties.

  3. 3

    Online Tasks are not a Substitute for Real Teacher Time

    In my opinion, there is a danger that teachers could start to rely on online classrooms too much, seeing them as an easy substitute for face-to-face teaching time. I believe that in the ESL field especially, where students are trying to master another language, there is no substitute for actually conversing with others, and hearing others speak, in a real life setting.

  4. 4

    It May be Tricky to Explain to ESL learners How to Use the Site

    Whilst the instructions are very easy to follow for those who understand English well, for a non-native English speaker, as is the case with ESL learners, it may be difficult to explain the concept of the site and how to use the site. They may find it difficult to use, which could lead to them feeling nervous and shy. If assignments, important information, vital class follow ups and similar are posted online only, it could have a really detrimental impact on students who are unable to either use or access the site.

  5. 5

    Technophobes Will Struggle with the Site

    Using the site assumes a certain level of IT proficiency; if either the student or teacher does not have this competence, the site will not work as intended.

I think the idea behind this site is incredible. It brings a new sphere to education and really does try and tap into what students are interested in and things that students will engage with. Whilst I think this may be a fantastic tool for other areas of learning, and in developed nations, I am not convinced that it is the way forward for ESL learners, especially in those lesser developed countries. There are some good ideas on the site, however, that can be taken and used in your every day classroom. I like that membership is free, and that classrooms can be locked to only allow students to take part and see materials. I do not think there are any improvements at all needed to the site, and I think it is a really wonderful way of trying to reach students. My only reservation is how effective, practical, and feasible this would be in practice.

Do you use Edmodo with your students?

Do you find it creates additional work or assists with your everyday teaching? Do students interact more online than they would in the classroom?

This is a guest review by an independent author. This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of BusyTeacher.org as a publication.

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