Edmodo is a free, web-based software program that teachers can access and use with their students. All you (and they) need is an email address (or Google account) and a password. Very much like Google Classroom, Edmodo allows teachers to communicate with students – and with other teachers – through posts, by attaching documents or files, by creating assignment folders, polls, etc.
I have been using Edmodo for several years now and I truly believe that it has made me a more productive teacher. Prior to discovering Edmodo, I used to have students email me all of their assignments (as attachments) to my teacher email account. I was bogged down with so many emails each day, with every single email having an assignment attached to it.
I had to download each assignment and save it to a folder before I could read it. I was so grateful when my colleague and current classmate, Ashley, let me know about Edmodo. She told me that it would make assignment collection so much easier, and she was right! With just a few clicks, I can upload an assignment for my students to read at home or in class. They can complete the work and submit it to the appropriate folder. I can set a “due date” and either accept or deny submissions that come in past this due date. I can view my students’ work “on screen”, provide feedback on their work and give them a final grade. If corrections or revisions are needed, students can even resubmit work for re-grading.
Another nice feature of Edmodo is that I can have the app on my phone, as can my students. This enables me to check things while I am away from my computer, should I so desire! I can set Edmodo to notify me of any activity, such as a student submitting assignment, or I can turn that feature off (yes, please). Unfortunately, I am not able to open and mark student assignments on the app – perhaps that’s just MY phone! (I checked with an Apple-loving colleague, and she was also unable to open students’ assignments on her phone.) Students can likely see their scores on their app, but you can’t enter grades. Here’s the view from my app:
(See! I told you all in my first blog that I teach the boring, old basics of Word, Excel, etc. … here’s proof.)
Other Features of Edmodo
Although I love Edmodo and use it regularly in both technology classes and other subject areas, there are many features of Edmodo that I have not ever used. For the purpose of this blog (and to help me achieve my PD goal for this year – incorporating more technology into my classroom), I’ve done some investigating into these uncharted territories.
Apparently, if your division uses Gradebook for assessment tracking, you can set Edmodo to automatically add assignments and students’ grades to the program. This would be VERY convenient! Unfortunately (?), we don’t use Gradebook, so I wasn’t able to check out that option.
This is a tab that I honestly didn’t even notice on Edmodo until today. I did some quick research and discovered that you can create TESTS using this software. You can set the test to be T/F, multiple choice, short answer, fill in the blank, or matching. Edmodo will GRADE your students’ tests, but they have to type EXACTLY what you put in as the answer. I’m not sure if it’s case-sensitive, but the answers would have to be spelled correctly :0 !
Here’s a screen shot of one that I’ve started to create:
I would not likely invest the time in creating something like this unless I planned to use it over and over again, with different classes of the same subject or in different semesters. It was easy, but time consuming. (Perhaps the time saved not having to mark these tests – and the novelty for the students in taking these tests – would justify investing a few hours in creating a variety of quizzes.)
Polls are quick and easy ways for teachers to check on their students’ understanding. Basically, the teacher inputs a question and offers a number of possible answers. The question could even be based on an embedded picture or video. The students log into their Edmodo account and respond to the question, selecting the answer that they feel is correct. The teacher cannot see what individual student responses are, but they can gage the class’s overall understanding.
Here’s a short video to demonstrate how a teacher might use a poll as a formative assessment tool. (Skip to 10:25)
Not totally unlike Facebook or Twitter, you can read posts from teachers from all around the world. If you want, you can filter the posts that you see, either by only following specific areas of interest. Here’s a screen snapshot of the list that was “recommended” for me … but there are many, many other areas of interest, including cooking, reading, EAL, etc.
Although the “Posts” area is the first thing you see when you log into Edmodo, I had really never read anything that anyone wrote on there. It’s usually questions or suggestions about specific lessons – it would take too much time to sort through! For the first time, however, I decided to try posting a question to the “Posts” area. I had the opportunity to “tag” my question (which happened to be about the best free software for screen casting) to reach teachers who might best have an answer for me. I received a reply within 5 minutes! Amazing.
I will definitely have to take time to read more of the posts and to add my own questions, when they arise.
If you would like more information on Edmodo, you can sign up for an account and click “Support” near the bottom of the left-hand margin. I found the FAQ section to be particularly helpful.
I hope that you find Edmodo to be a helpful tool for your teaching needs!
P.S. Not only did I receive one quick reply to my “screen cast” question … I received SEVERAL. I also received a personal “Connection Request” from one Mr. Robert Tiffey of Rockville, MD, USA. Next blog question… Is EdModo the new “POF”? J