Introducing 2.0 to Students: Edmodo
Integrating 2.0 tools into the classroom can be daunting for both teachers and students. For teachers, using 2.0 tools in the classroom means loosening the reigns of control and inviting the unexpected into the room. For students, it often means more critical thinking and more responsibility for their own learning. Without a doubt, there will be an adjustment period. It will be very important for you, as a teacher, to stick with it and model appropriate responses, such as “well, that didn’t work out like we thought, but look at what we learned!”
There are tools available that make the transition to a 2.0 classroom easier for you and your students. Although it is the most recent of a long line of personal discoveries, www.edmodo.com should be at the top of any teacher’s 2.0 list. Here’s why:
Edmodo serves as a portal to all other web 2.0 tools. Its interface is very similar to that of Facebook, so your students
will find it intuitive to use. As a teacher, you create different classes and have students register for the class with a unique user code. If your students forget their password, you can reset it. If they forget their username, you can look it up. Edmodo also allows parents to register for a class, so they can see exactly what your students see. But best of all, Edmodo is secure and you can remove people from classes if necessary.
When students and parents register, they can decide whether they receive Edmodo updates through email, text messaging, or only on Edmodo. You can create assignments, alerts, notes, and polls and send them to an entire class, to specific groups you create, or to individual students. Students can turn in assignments right on the page and you can grade them using Edmodo’s interface.
Other reasons to love Edmodo:
- every document you upload and every website link you add is automatically saved to your Edmodo library
- students are only connected to you and other teachers – they cannot “friend” each other
- if students communicate with each other through a group or through the “reply” function, you get to see everything they write
- parents can see their student’s – and only their student’s – grades
- all assignments are automatically uploaded to the calendar
- you can locate other teachers using Edmodo and view their classes if they grant you access
- Edmodo takes feedback from teachers and improves the website regularly
My students love Edmodo. They love having everything in one easy place. They actually look forward to getting texts about what we will do in class that day. When they are absent, they know where to find their work. Many of my students who were unresponsive to bellringers and other traditional methods are now more engaged and actually turning in work. I introduced Edmodo to my geography classes half-way through the semester, and they adapted quite well. Some students still preferred to write their assignments on paper and turn them in that way. Because I can still enter grades for students who haven’t “turned in” an assignment, this has allowed me to differentiate learning. But by far, the best part about Edmodo is that it’s fast and it keeps students accountable. Students no longer have the excuse of not knowing what the assignment was – the classroom is at the tip of their fingers.
HINT: When you create an Edmodo account, create a student and parent account, too. This will let you experiment and see how what you post is relayed to students and parents.