I’ve previously written about the privacy and terms of Edmodo and vlogged about how to use it, now I want to discuss it more in terms of it’s use and value.
While vlogging about how to use Edmodo, many of the functions and features and therefore the uses of it should be quite clear. I think ultimately the message you send to your students when you use this type of media is that the learning journey that you and your class are on together is not bound simply by the school day and the walls of the classroom, but continues outside of those confines. It really promotes the idea of a learning community. I have written about the value of learning communities previously and that strengthening this sense of community is a top priority for myself as a teacher. I have used this video several times and I’ll put it in again to reflect just how much I value the message that John is promoting about the value of learning communities and how these communities can exist online
A teacher could use Edmodo primarily as a place to post information and links and to allow for submission of assignments from students in an effort to go paperless, but I think this is a tremendous waste of resources. The real value resides in promoting Edmodo as a community in which the teacher is just a single voice among many. When students have questions they can post them and as the teacher you can encourage students to answer their peers questions. I would encourage teachers to step back and let the students take control of the community (with prior digital citizenship instruction of course!). It really provides an environment for students to practice being digital citizens in an environment that is semi-private as it is limited to those that the teacher allows into the community.
Another great value that Edmodo provides is that every important message or document or whatever you want to provide to the class remains accessible to everyone in the class for the whole semester, wherever they are. If you find a good video that explains a topic very well, instead of just showing in your classroom it can be posted on Edmodo and anyone can easily find that video throughout the entire term and rewatch it. For students who are absent from school they are able to stay connected and continue to contribute. Even parents can be invited to join, and as I showed in the video, the teacher can restrict their access to view only. This allows parents to be a part of the learning community as well which can bridge the school and home and make a more meaningful learning experience for the child. I think it’s become quite clear the value I place on community when it comes to learning, and so drawing the parents in to this community adds great value as it allows discussions from school to carry home seamlessly as the parents feel that they are apart of that greater discussion.
Great things happen when students take ownership of their learning. Edmodo can be simply a place for the teacher to post reminders and mimic a fairly traditional school setting, albeit online, but it can be so much more! A coach’s job is to make the team better than the sum of its parts, and a teachers job is the same. You cannot have a class be greater than the sum of its parts if they do not work together, if they do not form a community. You can build community in class time, or you can build community in class time and out of class time. Edmodo is a great tool to allow for this to happen. I also love that it is mobile friendly, allowing greater access to all users.
If you are interested in carrying the learning environment of your classroom beyond your walls and the school day calendar, and encouraging your students to work as a community of learners who contributes to each others learning and understanding, and you want to also help your students become excellent digital citizens, check out Edmodo!!
Live long and prosper