Sixth grade, the year I finally changed school campuses, received my first locker and was finally given independence to walk in the hallway by myself. A year of many firsts, that included signing up for my first social networking website on the very first day of class.
Contrary to what you may have guessed, my first social networking account wasn’t on Facebook. My first account was actually made on the website Edmodo, which was a requirement in my sixth grade Spanish class.
Edmodo is an online networking website made specifically to encourage post-class conversation between students and their teachers. Through this simple network, my spanish teacher extended my typical school day by providing a platform that facilitated learning outside of our classroom. This homework structure can almost be compared to that of Professor Kane’s, as typical assignments included engaging in my class’s social network by reading and replying to my peers’ work.
A Little Background on Edmodo.
Edmodo was created in 2008 with the intention of connecting teachers with their students, inside and outside of school. By creating a social network appropriate for the classroom, Edmodo was one of the first learning platforms to connect social networking and education. With a specific focus on grades K-12, Edmodo appeals to Generation Z students’ increased reliance on technology, and changing learning style. Since its founding, Edmodo has grown to have over 65 millions users, in over 370,000 schools across the globe. Part of this growth can be contributed to the fact that signing up for Edmodo has always been completely free.
How does it work?
By simply signing up, teachers are given the opportunity to create a group code for their individual or numerous classes. Once they create a classroom code, their students are able to sign up to one or all of their classes on Edmodo, extending their six hour, 5 days a week school day into a 24/7 classroom.
Once online, the digital classrooms are fairly similar to a Facebook account. Students get to customize their profile by uploading a user picture, receive notifications about their own activity, as well as stay up to date with all of their classmates by simply scrolling through their personalized newsfeed.
What’s the point?
While one of the major purposes of Edmodo is to encourage students to continue learning after they leave the classroom, Edmodo also provides services to teachers that allow them to maximize their impact. Teachers can post videos and alerts, create interactive polls and assignments, and even make online quizzes for their students to take at their own time. See below for a breakdown of some of Edmodo’s best features:
- Interactive Polling. Teachers can create interactive polls in order to understand the breakdown of classroom opinion, or even gain an understanding of how well students understand a lesson given in class. It also gives the quieter students a way to be more involved in classroom discussions.
- Feeds. Edmodo gives teachers the ability to subscribe their classes to educational news websites, allowing relevant articles to be posted to his or her classroom’s newsfeed. This gives students continued access to current events, as well as to interesting and relatable material besides any readings that have already been given in class.
- Edmodo Spotlight. This is an online forum where teachers and publishers can create and share lessons with each other. Teachers can search for a specific topic in Spotlight and specify the country, grade, subject and language that they want the material to be for. Some of the lesson plans are free, while some of them you have to purchase.
- Replies and Posts. Students can write posts to publish to their class group, making whatever they choose to write about visible to all of their classmates. In exchange, classmates can simply “like” the post, or write feedback in the comments.
- Teacher Communities. Besides the classroom benefits, teachers can also utilize Edmodo to expand their professional network across the United States. Teachers are able to update their profile with information about themselves, including schools they have worked for and subjects they teach– connecting them with other teachers through online forums called “communities.”
- Online Gradebook. Edmodo makes it easy for teachers to monitor their students’ progress with the online gradebook feature. What makes this feature different from a typical gradebook is that it’s always available for the parents, and student to reference and stay up to date on his or her grades. Parents can make their own Edmodo account to have continued access to their child’s information. Not only does this eliminate any surprises, but it also maintains a strong relationship between the student, teacher, and parents.
- Direct Messaging With Students. Direct messaging gives students an opportunity to connect with their teacher in an environment outside this classroom. This has become exceedingly useful for students who may be too shy to express any concerns that they have about the class.
- Edmodo Badges. Teachers can provide affirmations to students and encourage good behavior by creating or using already-made badges on Edmodo. These can be compared to stickers that you may have gotten once for positive contributions in class, perfect attendance or even asking a good question. Students can collect these badges on their profile, encouraging them to continue their good behavior by having it publicized for their peers to see.
Edmodo is a great way for adolescents to begin their digital footprints in social networking. It encourages students to share their thoughts online, while still monitoring the content that they post through active teacher and parent censorship. Edmodo may not be the coolest Social Network, but it definitely is a great starting point to the many Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts that students may have in their future.
While Edmodo is not something that I use today, I definitely credit the app and website for exposing me to the world of social media. Throughout my middle and high school years I was given many assignments on Edmodo, and believe that these assignments helped me grow my online networking and communication skills. While the extent of my homework on Edmodo is not comparable to the assignments given in this class, both are similar in that they have challenged me, and required me to maintain an active presence online.