1. Home - School Connections.
I love that students are able to access their Edmodo accounts from school and from home. This allows them to prepare for upcoming events, tasks or assignments when working through their homework. It also allows them to communicate with their teacher (directly) or ask questions of their peers (on the public wall) when working through tasks at home.
2. Resources That Can Be Shared.
I share a range of resources with my students on Edmodo. These include websites, embedded YouTube clips, flipped task links (EduCreations, etc), files, documents and images. This is fantastic as it means we are saving paper and I am showing students a solid range of resources without them needing to 'google' something.
In regards to the YouTube clips, the clip itself plays and none of the advertisements or 'recommended videos' come up, as they would on the YouTube website. This makes me feel comfortable that my students are only going to see items which are appropriate to them and not be distracted by other clips.
Having an Edmodo page allows me to give immediate feedback to my students. I do this in a range of ways. For example: replying to their posts asking them to edit certain parts or expand on others. I can even create a video rubric and send them the link so they can listen to my marking orally and make changes. This immediate feedback keeps students remain on task and it is quick and easy for me to do.
I have Edmodo on my three devices (MacBook, iPad and iPhone), so if something is posted to me for editing I am able to do it on the move.
4. Safe - Closed Network.
Edmodo groups can be locked once all students have joined the group. In fact, they are automatically locked after a few weeks. If new students come or you want to add someone to the group, you can simply unlock it, give them the secure code and lock it again.
Another reason it is safe is due to students only being able to communicate with their peers on the page wall. This means that conversations are viewable to all and therefore must be appropriate. If students need to communicate with the teacher, they are able to send a direct message, which is only viewable to those involved.
My Edmodo classes truly are a virtual base camp for my students. At the moment I have one student in Russia, another in Indonesia and one in LA. These three students are still completing all of their learning, but through our virtual classroom. Yes, it means a little more preparation time for me (making flipped tasks and PDFs to place on the wall), but I'm more than happy with this as it means they are not falling behind. It also allows for those peer teaching opportunities that are so valuable.
Here's an example of how great this can be. Students who have been absent have continued to work through their guided reading tasks with their groups. This includes them reading the novel, completing their activity, saving it as PDF and sending it through on Edmodo. They then Skype in during the lesson so that they can be a part of the discussion. It's brilliant!!
6. Positive Enforcement - Privately.
I briefly stated this above, but being able to direct message students means that I can give them feedback privately. This can include feedback about academic results or behaviour.
As educators, we need to keep in mind that not all students enjoy receiving public praise for the work they have done. Having Edmodo offers another option to give them this feedback, but privately.
7. Student Independence.
Students in my class work through many flipped tasks. This means that on the night prior to the activity they watch or complete a task in preparation. When I first began this there were a couple of children who did not watch the task. The next day at school they felt left out as students were walking in the door discussing what they were going to do or how they were going to tackle the task. I haven't had the problem of students not watching the tasks since.
This builds independence in students as they are responsible for doing the work. It's a great skill for them to learn, especially in such a safe environment.
As well as the above, it's important for students to become independent with this as in the years to come they will be on other social media websites (some students already are). Being a part of an Edmodo group teaches students the skills of using social media appropriately. We hear of so many horror stories of what can happen, but Edmodo seems to cut a lot of those issues out.
Having a teacher account on Edmodo allows you to connect with other educators from all over the world. I often send notes to other educators, asking or sharing ideas with them. Through one of these connections I was able to get in touch with a school in the USA who also have a contemporary set up. We often share little snippets of our classrooms with each other.
Edmodo also has EdmodoCon each year. This brings educators from all over the world together for a day of online professional development. Teachers share, inspire and showcase the ways they are using Edmodo and other digital tools in their classrooms. I tuned in for a bit this year and picked up a range of new tools and resources, as well as connecting with many more educators.
9. Edmodo Communities.
This is one of my top reasons for loving Edmodo. The communities that you can join as an educator are fantastic. They work as an open discussion forum where teachers can share resources, ask / answer questions and learn from colleagues. There are so many you can follow. At the moment I am really enjoying the discussions within the 'Digital Citizenship' page and the 'Professional Development' page. I like hearing about where people are on their journeys (especially with tech) and offering advice.
10. Parent Access.
When a child joins Edmodo they are given a parent code. This can be found on the bottom left hand side of the student page. The parent then needs to go to www.edmodo.com and click on the 'I'm a Parent' tab. This allows them to see what their child sees, as well as the grade book (I'll tell you about this soon).
11. Calendar / Planner.
I have to admit that I do not use the planner to its full capability. I only use it to set due dates. This way students have an online resource to turn to when scaffolding their schoolwork. However, several students use this as their diary. They include both in-school and out of school commitments so that they can see upcoming events and whether or not they will have time to work on tasks during evenings. This is also great for their independence and is another step towards maturing into a high school student.
Edmodo apps are another great way to engage students in the class materials, in a fun and educational way. They are very easy to install and open in the Edmodo window. This means that students do not need to navigate between webpages to find what they are looking for.
There are a range of free and paid apps available. All of these are available in the Edmodo Apps store.
13. Alerts / Reminders For Students.
You know how the end of the school day is often a rush and sometimes you forget to pass on a reminder to your students? Well, Edmodo allows you to send an alert to the students. This comes up in bold writing and they also get a notification about it.
I even use it as a reminder tool, 'Don't forget to bring your goggles for tomorrow's swimming lesson!' Alerts can be a maximum of 140 characters, so they are short and to the point.
14. Online Polls and Quizzes.
Edmodo allows you to set polls for students. I really like this tool and often use it to start a new topic or get some feedback on a new resource. The results are displayed on the Edmodo wall as people post them, without any names being mentioned.
The quizzes are another great tool and I like to use them as an Exit Pass before recess, lunch or the end of the day. The teacher simply creates a quiz using multiple choice, true / false, short answer, fill the blank and / or matching questions.
Similar to the quizzes above, assignments can also be posted to students. In this you can give them an outline of what needs to be completed, attach resources / rubrics and set a due date. When completed, students can submit online.
16. Small Groups Within Groups.
I think it is fantastic that I can create small groups within each of my groups. This allow me to scaffold tasks, modify or extend tasks and personalise learning for students. It's also great for group tasks. For example, my guided reading groups have a small group where they can have online discussions each week. This allows them to ask questions of each other when they are reading their novel at home. Some groups even post questions they would like to discuss when they next meet.
17. Student or Read-Only Options.
When I tell other educators about how often I use Edmodo, one of the first questions they ask me is, "how do you control what students put online?" When I first set up Edmodo with my students we had a discussion about digital citizenship and how Edmodo was to be used as an educational tool. They were informed that if they used it incorrectly they would be given a warning. If this continued they would be blocked from posting for a period of time.
The admin / teacher of each group is able to edit members. This means that you can them set as a student, which means they can post of the wall, or you can set them to a read-only option. This means they are still able to see what is posted on the wall but unable to comment. You can easily change between the two.
Any quizzes or assignments set for students can be marked on Edmodo and their marks put into a personal grade book. Students get an instant message informing them of their mark as well as any comments. Parents also have access to the grade books when they log on with their parent code.
19. Connections Between Students From Other Schools - OnlinePals.
After making connections with a few teachers in Western Australia, we decided to create a group where all three classes could communicate during a Mathematics task. It was a great way for students to meet others their age in a safe online environment. It was also a brilliant activity as there were three teachers (tech savvy) sharing resources.
20. 21st Century Education.
In today's day and age we are encouraging the idea of 21st century learning. Edmodo is a safe environment where both students and teachers can learn. There is so much information available on how to use it, so I think it is a great place for educators to start.
So there you have it, my Top 20 Reasons for loving Edmodo. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or need assistance setting your own page up. I'm more than happy to help.