In the following text I’ll review an ICT tool I find useful in involving students and motivating their learning processes.
WHAT IT IS
Edmodo (www.edmodo.com) is a California-based e-learning platform providing a free, safe place for teachers and students to connect and collaborate – anytime, anywhere.
On this platform you can:
• Create secure groups that take learning beyond the classroom
• Connect and collaborate with students and fellow teachers
• Foster and continue discussions outside of school hours
• Post and turn in assignments, polls, and more
• Track progress and performance with a built-in gradebook
• Upload and share files, photos, and videos
Edmodo Tutorial in English: Click Here!
HOW I USE IT
The students like Edmodo because it has the look and feel of a social media site, such as Facebook and is user-friendly. It is easily accessible from mobiles, thanks to its Apps for Apple and Android, and integrates with Google. You can link your Google account and share files from your Google Drive directly on this platform. Once you set up your classroom, you can either pose questions to the students or take a poll of popular questions that would stimulate conversation. You can also post a quiz on the site so students can post their answers. I sometimes use the Edmodo quiz builder or poll feature to assess students’ learning during or after a unit.
The way I prefer using it is through sharing controversial material – newspaper articles, videos, photos – and then, after a whole-class introductory discussion, students have to choose which aspects to develop in pairwork. I provide each group with further information about how to carry out their researches. Each pair has to review another pair’s work on the platform before a final whole-class discussion on the multiple viewpoints raised by the initial material. It is refreshing to see boundaries with students dissolve and for everyone to have a voice.
I often tailor my lessons to each specific class depending on the areas of need. Edmodo allows me to have a separate group for each class, so I can make sure that each group of students is getting all of the information they need, even the students who are absent from class. I can also deliver differentiated content through the use of shared folders, and this option is particularly valuable with pupils with Special Educational Needs.
Besides, we communicate in English on the platform and this helps students practise their language skills, as well as spelling and grammar, through conversations. I sometimes use Edmodo Badges to help motivate students to push their learning and increase their practice time on new topics. Badges let students show off their accomplishments. Another interesting feature is the possibility to connect your classrooms with classrooms around the world for international cultural projects, but I haven’t tried it yet. Finally, I have joined an Edmodo Community to connect with other educators around the globe and share resources, exchange ideas or get advice.
As a teaching tool, Edmodo is a key to my classroom. It provides a virtual environment where students can engage in conversations regarding topics that otherwise would not be explored or investigated within the classroom (because we ran out of time). Edmodo can be used as a blog, or as a way for students to hand in assignments. You can keep a portfolio of their digitally dropped files or postings. What takes a while is for you to set up your virtual classroom and then have students be able to sign in and access the resources. I have used Edmodo for over four years and it has been a medium that students like to use over and over again.
I give Edmodo a solid four out of five lion paws.
Text: Enrica Carassai
Photo: Pixabay.com (CC0 Public Domain)