Thursday, March 14, 2013

Edmodo 101

Here are my notes from the Edmodo session I attended. There will be incomplete sentences and outline-format ideas here. Enjoy this with taht in mind:

It's like Facebook for schools
It's a "walled garden": a protected, safe social networking environment
Students can't go "out" and make friends. They can't even connect to other classes that I set up, unless I configure it that way.
Teachers see everything, can monitor everything.

No email address necessary (good for younger-than-13-year-olds)
Write their username and password in their agendas/daily planner
Teachers can change their usernames/passwords

Functions:
1. Polls
PollEverywhere.com is a good option - a good way to use cell phones acceptably in school
Edmodo's Poll function might be a great way to to check for understanding, both mid-lesson, or at end of longer lesson/unit

2. Assignments (classwork/homework)
3. Tests & Quizzes
Multiple-choice questions - Students see scores instantly!
Fill-in - students must type in EXACTLY what you typed in
Short answer - teacher must grade
all is paperless, though! :)

4. Student and Teacher Collaboration
Huge potential for this. Hard to fully convey in a verbal conversation.
I think I'm just going to have to jump in to fully understand how this can work, and grasp the full potential of what this tool can do.


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Had a fantastic talk with the folks at the Edmodo booth in the Exhibit hall.
Very encouraged to see how folders can work.
For example, if there is a resource in a group I'm a part of (like Basal Alignment Project) that I want to share, I can share that resource with my teacher colleagues by sharing it with a group that we are all in.
Then, if a teacher wants to use that resource with his/her students, the resource can be shared with a group for just that class or period.

The chat/discussion feature is fantastic. I can choose the settings so that any comment that a student posts has to go through me first. This makes me, the teacher, the filter, so that I can teach my students about online netiquette...what is appropriate and what is not, how to make wise decisions about their online footprint, etc.

With all of these powerful features, I naturally had some anxiety about my class/school/district/etc investing time and energy in understanding and using Edmodo, and then it becoming a fee-based service, since many free online services have gone this way. The rep assured me that they "are free and always will be".

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I will probably update this blog post as I continue to talk more with the folks at their booth, and rub shoulders with other teachers that have used this tool with their students and colleagues.



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