Thursday, January 24, 2013

10 things why I like Edmodo

Screenshot of the homepage
I have been using for about 4 weeks now, and I must say it has been a good experience thus far. Here's my 10 reasons why I like to use it for my lessons:

  1. It is similar to Facebook: The fact that the interface and the way it works is similar to Facebook, perhaps the #1 social media tool used by my students, is already a plus point in itself. Students would have a very short learning curve to work their way around the interfaces and being able to 'recognise' the similarities between Facebook and Edmodo.
  2. No ads: At least not now. The fact that there are no ads help teachers like me to focus more on what is the main intent of using Edmodo, that is for teaching and learning. Having no distractions like advertisements, however appropriate (or worse still, inappropriate ones!) is a godsend, as it just looks a little cleaner to me, for my intended tasks.
  3. Closed system: The fact that you can control the level of privacy of your group/class is another tool that is useful. Whilst this is also possible in tools like Facebook and Google+, I thought the fact that the focus of Edmodo, being a tool more for educators, than the former two, just helps to redefine and make the system more exclusive, and thus enhance the closeness (or openness), of it.
  4. Assignments: The ability for the teacher-user to define the assignments and immediately upload the posts, or having them posted in a delayed manner, is a good tool for me, especially when I can key in all the assignments to my classes at one go, but then stagger their uploads/posts onto the main public board, according to the timings that I dictate
  5. Linkage to G-drive: Having the Library function linked to you selected Gmail account, and consequently, the corresponding Google Drive is a good step, as it helps me to just keep track of the single folder or G-drive account that I would need to monitor, for all my lesson materials, that I would want to upload, or refer to.
  6. Ability to monitor students submissions: One of the shortcomings of using other social media tools, is their inability to monitor closely the submissions by students. Hence the ability of Edmodo to give the teacher an overall view of students' submissions, is indeed useful. More so too if you have more than one class/group to teach.
  7. Ability to differentiate instructions through small-grouping: Being able to form smaller groups within the class is another useful my opinion. Teachers like me can better manage their assignments, and shall there be a need to, use differentiated instructions methods to targeted groups, for a more effective learning environment. 
  8. Polls and Quizes: The use of polls and short quizzes, with time limits, is a good tool for one to use, as it helps to complete Edmodo, as a tool for teaching and learning. As of now, I have not use this tools yet, but I thought having them as part of the suite of tools made available to the teacher-user, is indeed something worth exploring, and using, later on.
  9. Commenting on students' submissions: This must be one of the tool that I have been using the most thus far. Especially when one talks about submissions of digital artefacts that are subjective or aesthetics-based in nature. The ability of the teachers to include personalised comments, and suggestions, is really a wonderful one!
  10. Badges as rewards: I guess students are also motivated by some form of rewards, and having this small, but useful feature, is a step in the right direction, towards affirming students works and/or efforts.
And there you go, the 10 things that I like about, not in any particular order. There are still a few more that I might have missed over here, but it is definitely one tool that educators should try to have a go at, even if its not on a 1-to-1 computing classroom model.

Do give me a tinker if you have ideas, or would like to share with me your thoughts on this.

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