I presented on Edmodo last week at the KTI Summit, but that is not why I am posting this. I worked formally and informally with many people at the summit on how to incorporate Edmodo in their classrooms. We worked in the small group sessions, open labs, and even in the dining hall discussing uses and “how to’s.”
I will be using Edmodo as my main classroom platform this year in school. The main page looks much like a Facebook page, which makes it easy for my students to navigate. The mobile app for iPods looks like a Twitter feed, it is streamlined and easy to use on mobile devices.
The one plus I brought up in my presentation was the ease of setting up an account and classes. In a matter of a couple of minutes, you can create an account and classes. You give your students the class code and they create accounts or log in with existing ones, then they just type in the code and are in your class. Even if you only run one discussion board a year, Edmodo is the tool to use. You do not waste time importing students and setting everything up.
Now, back to what I learned at the Summit. We played with the “public” tab in Edmodo, this allows for any note, file, link, etc. to be pushed out to a public URL, which can then be viewed without logging in to your classroom. This feature gives me another tool with which to keep parents updated on class events. I can push out my class calendar and any file I feel parents need access to, while keeping other information secure from strangers; all with the click of a mouse.
Another idea we came up with was to group students into general classes, then create sub-groups by period and as needed. This allows for discussion and interaction between students in different periods, but also gives the teacher the option to push out information to specific groups without everyone else getting it. This functionality happens by just giving the students your classroom code so they can enroll themselves into your course, then with a couple clicks of your mouse, you can group them as you wish.
I embedded my 30box calendar, that is on the front page of my class wiki, into my Edmodo classrooms, this will allow me to update in 30boxes and show up everywhere I have it embedded. I can also do the same with a Google calendar or any calendar that embeds in a web page.
Edmodo just enabled the use of folders on the site. This new development will allow me to better organize all of my links and files. Instead of having to build a master class for organizing my curriculum, I can just upload everything into folders with detailed names. This will allow me to open and close information to students as needed, without any hassle.
Last, but surely not least, I have communicate on Twitter with one of Edmodo’s co-founders, Jeff O’Hara on numerous occasions. He has always been helpful with advice and quick to respond to any questions I have had. Jeff has also asked for feedback from my students and others to make Edmodo user friendly. This rates high in my opinion and is the main reason I talk up Edmodo as often as I can.
I have used Moodle, BlackBoard, and Web CT, they work great, but for overall ease of use and free cost, Edmodo is the way to expand your classroom beyond the traditional walls and times.