Sunday, November 8, 2009
Edmodo is a private, micro-blogging site developed specifically for teachers and students. This platform is intended to be a safe environment to share notes, assignments, links, events and alerts. At the welcome page, you need to sign up as either a teacher or student. Teachers begin the process by signing up as “teacher” and create a group. A unique code is generated which the teacher distributes to the students. Students must have this unique code in order to sign-up. No email is necessary for students to register. Students are able to customize their pages by adding a photo and setting alerts including mobile phone alerts. Teachers can manage multiple groups (or classes) from their main page and upload assignments that are for one or more groups. Uploading files such as assignment information or class syllabus is easy.
There is support provided by Edmodo staff in the “edmodo” or “support” group, which is automatically added to the teacher’s homepage. In addition, a Wiki site provides documentation and tutorials on a variety of topics. However, the site would benefit from some video tutorials particularly before signing up so the teacher knows more about it and then other videos designed to help teachers and students understand how to use the tool. On the Edmodo blog, it was noted that this tool is best used for middle and high school students although there are teachers using it in the fourth and fifth grade. Recently, Edmodo was mentioned as an important tool in the Horizon Report K-12 Edition (other tools mentioned include Skype and Twitter) and eSchool News identified Edmodo as one of the six technologies that will affect education.
I created a "classroom" with my son to test this out. It is an easy interface to use and I liked being able to embed videos that play directly in Edmodo. I have colleagues who are teachers and have started using this tool with success.
The most important feature of Edmodo is that is provides a safe, collaborate environment for students. One of the concerns in many school districts as they evaluate the use of different new technology tools is the safety factor for their students. It is the school’s responsibility to provide a safe place for all their students, which is why school servers often block YouTube and Facebook. Edmodo is different because it offers the interactive, collaborative platform of Facebook in a private and safe platform.