As a result of the push to integrate technology into the classroom, more teachers have started to incorporate social media into the curriculum and use it as a way to communicate with students. The advantages of this is that most students will already have the tools and knowledge to use it, and it is an easy way to share different types of media such as pictures, videos, and documents with text.
However, these social media platforms may not always be the safest ways for students to connect with teachers. This is especially true for middle school students who are dabbing their feet in different social platforms for the first time. One website that uses similar ideas and layout models as popular social media platforms such as twitter and facebook is Edmodo. Edmodo is an educational website where teachers can post class related content, encourage classroom discussion, and connect parents, teachers, families, and classmates in a safe way.
Edmodo can be helpful for the classroom because it encourages community based learning in a safe environment. For instance, if students were reading a book in English together, teachers can set up a platform where students can respond to each other’s writings and have virtual book club conversations where they can share unique ideas and insights with each other. Through the iphone and android app, students can have real time discussions on Edmodo even when they are not in school. Because of all these amazing features from Edmodo, Teachers have been able to their book clubs to the next step by collaborating with classrooms across the country. Lisa Highfill, based in California, and Robert Miller, based in Florida, are working together to create a project based learning assignment around the book “Wonder.” Together, they will encourage students to delve into the purpose behind the book and create a kindness project (Wondering from Coast to Coast: A Real Aloud Project, 2012).
Edmodo also can be used for teachers to differentiate instruction and assessment to students. The ease in which teachers can create small groups on Edmodo makes it possible for teachers to tailor their instruction to a small group of students who need help in a specific area. Students can also fill out information on their profile to show teachers what type of learner they are, what their interests are, and any other information that they would like the teacher to know about them.
Although this may sound similar to how facebook, blogger, and other social media platforms connect young people, Edmodo is structured in a way where teachers can manage student passwords, delete inappropriate posts, or make certain boards read only. Because there is not a feature for students to message each other privately, nothing can be hidden from the teacher. Parents can become involved in Edmodo too through a parent code, and they will be able to see everything that is happening in the classroom. This website is also available in many different languages so parents whose first language is not English will not be excluded from the classroom. Having parent involvement is very important because content and curriculum gets to the child in a stronger manner when parents and teachers work together.
In addition, Edmodo is an easy platform where teachers can learn from each other and further their professional development. The search bar on the top of each page allows users to search about different topics. This feature allows teachers to easily share resources and ideas with other teachers.
The search will not only bring up articles, but also pictures, videos, and links to other websites and resources teachers have found helpful. If there is a specific topic that one is particularly passionate about, they can also choose to follow that topic so they won’t miss any posts about it. Teachers who wish to hear even more ideas can attend Edmodocon, which is a free, live, online global event where teachers discuss how they are using edmodo and other digital tools to differentiate instruction and personalize learning (EdmodoCon, 2017).
Edmodo also supports teachers in creating a more organized classroom. Teachers can show assignments on a calendar so there is no confusion about when something is due, and they can also link assignments and have students turn it in right on edmodo. This will abolish the dispute with a student who claims to have turned in his or her work that a teacher claims to not have received. Assignments that can be completed and submitted online will lighten the amount of paperwork that both students and teachers have to keep track of. Edmodo is also very accessible because it can link right to one’s google drive, so students do not have to worry about converting their documents into a pdf or any other format. Teachers can also give students feedback right away through fun badges that positively reinforce the goals of the assignment.
In the future, through the safe environment that Edmodo provides, teachers and students can build on each other’s ideas to help with how students understand material, and how teachers differentiate instruction. More communication from teachers to families through Edmodo will also mean that guidelines are more clear, there is less confusion, and this will leave more time for students to engage and focus on higher level reasoning through essential questions.
In this video: Students explain how Edmodo helps them succeed in the classroom.
- EdmodoCon 2017. (2017). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from https://www.edmodocon.com/
- Wondering Coast to Coast: A Read Aloud Project. (2012, October 4). Retrieved March 25, 2018, from https://blog.edmodo.com/2012/10/04/wondering-coast-to-coast-a-global-read-aloud-project/
- Set up Your Student Profile. (2017, July 5). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from https://support.edmodo.com/hc/en-us/articles/205023664-Set-up-Your-Student-Profile
Jessica Ma is a student in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. She student teaches 7th grade ELA. Jessica can be reached at .