02 February 2013

Let's See What Edmodo Can Do...

I can't remember when I first heard about Edmodo, but it seemed to be billed as a school-y Facebook. Because of that, I never gave it much thought. But slowly I've read more about it and I decided to just check it out. First of all, it's not Facebook. It looks a lot like Facebook, or at least an older version of it, but I have high hopes for it beyond that.

Before I move on, I should admit that I just signed up for Edmodo this morning, and I've spent the last few hours playing around with it, perusing the app store, and mock posting. So this list is going to be more theoretical than practical for now.

Why has no one else allowed a grade range?! I love this feature.
Create Groups (Classes)
Choose a name for the class, choose a grade or grade range, and choose a category. Inside the group you can create small groups that I'll use for different periods that have that same class. Edmodo gives you a code to give to your students so they can join the class and see all the posts.

I would probably also add a sample image of a finished assignment.
Flip, Blend, and Sub!
When you post assignments and notes to a group wall, you can embed videos, upload photos, and link to other sites. I like to make little tutorial videos and put them on YouTube because it's such a versatile, high-quality video streaming service. I can then get an embed code to put on the Edmodo post so students can view the video right from Edmodo. Using the HTTPS setting in the embed code should get around any school filter problems.

But there's more to just posting videos and pictures and links with the assignment. You add a due date, which automatically updates your calendar and, I think, the students' as well. You can respond to your own post to add any extra details or answer student questions that have been posted as a response to the assignment.

All this is perfect if you use any flipped or blended model, or if you need to call in a sub. If you're too sick to work but well enough to use the computer at home, you can even help your class from home.

Click "Make Public," check out the Public Page, and there you can even grab an RSS feed.
One more thing about flipping is that if your students don't have their own login for whatever reason, you can actually just use these postings as a public feed. Students can look at whatever posts you make public without having a login. Some teachers might find a use for Edmodo as a feed creator to put on their website.

Unfortunately, I have no submissions to test out the grading feature. But it looks pretty neat so far!
Turn In and Grade
I can't try out the assignment submission on my own, but I'm going to assume students can upload a variety of documents. When you click on your "Turned in" button it takes you to a page full of assignment submissions that you can grade.

One of my biggest problems as a teacher is finding the time to provide feedback on submitted assignments. Any idea I had was just too time-consuming. Using Edmodo might just be the key.

Share Documents
At school we have a network drive that all students can read but not write. I put a lot of templates on here for assignments, or sample pictures. I can put these documents with assignment descriptions, but you can also create folders of documents that specific groups of students have access to. Supposedly it also works with Google Docs, which, once it works as well as Dropbox, could be pretty awesome.

Edmodo has some generic badges. The rest are up to you.
Badges are all the rage these days, for better and worse. The biggest reason I feel like they'll actually work in Edmodo is that they're incorporated to the program. It's not an external thing, or something you have to jimmy-rig into it.

On somewhat of a side-note, the effectiveness of badges depends entirely on how the teacher uses them. Just slapping badges on things won't add any value to class. For me and my blended model, one idea is a completion badge. I don't expect many students to complete every assignment possible in a unit, but a few will be intrepid and skilled enough to go above and beyond. They'll get some sort of mastery badge. But creating and using badges aren't a priority yet.

That's all for now. I'll post again about it once I've learned more. Hopefully this quick mash-up has given you some ideas.

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