Edmodo: An Educational Network Emphasizing Connection and Collaboration

By IGI Global on Feb 24, 2012
Students and educators: Have you ever dutifully logged into your course management system like Blackboard or Moodle and ended up getting distracted by your favorite social network, such as Facebook? It's okay to admit it if the answer is yes – your secret is safe with us! Maybe the solution to your distraction is a new virtual learning environment with a more appealing interface and additional social interaction? Edmodo might be just what you need!

Edmodo is a virtual learning environment (VLE), created about three years ago, that emphasizes connection and collaboration through a user interface that closely resembles Facebook. Edmodo combines the ease of sharing and commenting found in a social network with the secure, closed environment of a VLE. This allows students to engage in a discussion initiated by a teacher or to provide assistance and answers to each other.

Edmodo also allows teachers to connect with other teachers, both in their own district and in other areas. Cloud-based storage allows teachers to store, manage, and access documents, assignments, quizzes, calendars, and gradebooks from any location, and smartphone apps and a mobile site allow both students and teachers to access anything on Edmodo from almost anywhere.

School districts can enhance their VLE experience with Edmodo by registering for a unique subdomain, allowing the whole district to engage students and parents with teachers and administrators. Administrators can use their unique subdomain to monitor Edmodo usage and activity across the whole district.

Teachers at Freedom Area High School, located in Freedom, Pennsylvania, USA, have recently begun experimenting with Edmodo, according to a recent article in their school paper. Although they have been Moodle users in the past, many teachers have found Edmodo to be easier to use due to its familiar-feeling interface. One teacher, Mrs. Russell, commented on her experience with the site so far, saying, "I use [Edmodo] to post discussion questions and assignments that can be downloaded, and I plan to use it for peer-editing. […] I think that students have responded well to it; it's friendlier than Moodle was."

The current trial phase has turned up some problems, including texting-like or inappropriate language, and students have been reminded that despite its Facebook-like qualities, Edmodo is for educational purposes only. Students' reactions have been mixed. Some have found Edmodo to be convenient, while others would prefer to simply use e-mail.

When implementing a new VLE or any other new educational technology, many factors have to be considered. Ease of use, student experience, teacher experience, parent interaction, security, and many more factors must be examined to ensure that the technology will be beneficial, and then a plan for implementation needs to be drawn up in order to employ the technology effectively without unnecessarily disrupting current procedures. IGI Global offers a variety of publications covering Virtual Learning Environments and Technologies in K-12 Education in order to help educators and administrators effectively fit new technology into their classrooms. Visit IGI Global's Web site today to begin learning how to effectively utilize new technologies!

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