Edmodo: How Social Media is Enhancing the Classroom Experience

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.edmdo.jpg

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.   

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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-math_grade5_problemsolving.png
  3. 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.  
  4. 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.
  5. Teacher Communities. Besides the classroom benefits, Screen-shot-2013-04-11-at-11.14.57-AM.pngteachers 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.”
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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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.

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Other Sources:

  1. http://www.csub.edu/~tfernandez_ulloa/edmodo%20user%20guide.pdf
  2. https://www.edmodo.com/about#values

 

9 comments

  1. This is awesome! My Algebra II class had something similar but it was only an online forum where we could ask questions and my teacher/other students could answer. We also had another website that tracked our grades that both the students and parents had access to. Both of these were extremely helpful but Edmodo seems so much better. I wish I had something like this growing up.

  2. Very interesting post – I grew up using platforms similar to Canvas in high school, but have never heard of an social media platform created solely for educational purposes. I was a little skeptical about the idea of a 24/7 in classroom environment – it seemed unlikely at first that teenagers would be willing to put more time into academics than was absolutely necessary. But the fact that there are 65 million users on Edmodo seems to suggest otherwise. Considering the popularity and appeal of social media to K-12 students, I think Edmodo is a creative way to encourage students to continue discussing and re-visiting the material taught within the classroom. As long as teachers are as committed as the students, the messaging is also a great way for students to receive an immediate response when they are stuck on homework. I am curious to see whether educational social media platforms like Edmodo will become more widely used in the next few years.

  3. I really liked this post! I have never heard of Edmodo before, and honestly I am surprised. Through your explanation it seems as though this is a great platform for students to really learn and be engaged. Throughout middle school, my teachers tried to make everything more digital, but it was not extremely successful. It was good to hear how much you were able to use and benefit from this social media site. I think the fact that a smaller scale social platform was able to help you, that bodes well for larger platforms.

  4. Really nice post. I had never heard of this one before. You had very forward looking teachers in 6th grade!

  5. I really liked this post. I think I had to use this for a class in middle school or high school. I’m not really a big fan of the network “extending their six hour, 5 days a week school day into a 24/7 classroom.” By the time the students get to college, they are expected to be connected 24/7 but do you really want a sixth grader to have to deal with that stress? Plus, teachers also deserve a break – they shouldn’t have to be in teacher mode all the time.

  6. I remember Edmodo in High School and it was a very valuable tool to keep track of everything in one place. I can’t really decide which platform I prefer, Edmodo or Canvas. I wonder if Edmodo is considering making a push into the college market as I see areas where Canvas could make major strides in improvement.

  7. Wow I had never heard of this: we were not that advanced in my high school/middle school classrooms. I am curious about how Edmodo makes its money if it’s free to sign up/etc. Are there ads? Or do you pay for more advanced uses as a school? I like this idea, but I would be nervous about kids misusing it and the teacher not being able to regulate the entire online classroom. There is something to be said for good ol’ classroom interactions (although teachers still are not aware of everything that goes on in traditional classrooms). But I can see the real benefit of Edmodo for large classrooms of 50+ kids.

    1. Hi Lily! Edmodo first tried to earn revenue by creating an app store. This wasn’t that profitable for Edmodo though (they found that only 10% of the teachers actually went to the app store.) They have also tried to earn revenue through a service available to school districts that allows the schools to create a private subdomain. With this software, the school district can sync a student’s information with their Edmodo accounts, and also receive information regarding their students’ usage. They also offer programs for professional development, as well as premium services that provide teachers and schools with increased data analytics/features. In addition, they have recently made numerous international partnerships (half of their revenue has come from this)

  8. Super interesting! The intersection of tech/education is really important, and I don’t think we’ve really gotten it quite right just yet. Edmodo, however, seems to have potential/power — wonder what teachers think about it. I used a related platform, SchoolLoop, when I worked in secondary ed in California, and one of the key issues with it was adoption/utilization, especially with more traditional teaching styles. I think that’s the key — teaching teachers to make the most of the technology and use it to enhance the learning environment, not command/hinder it.

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