You may have read one of my previous posts on Edmodo, but now that I have had a chance to actually teach with this web 2.0 tool, I would like to go into more detail on using this to communicate with students. Before I can use this social networking site with my students, they will have to join my group. Teachers should create a group for each class, as it will make grading and managing everything much easier later. Teachers can create a new group by looking on the left hand side of the teacher’s Edmodo home page. When the group is created, give it a unique name and grade level/subject information, and Edmodo will generate a random code to invite your students to join this group.
The most common expression that I have heard from the students once logging into the site is how similar the layout is to their social networking sites like Facebook or Myspace. They compare their Facebook “wall” to their Edmodo home page, which is where all information posted by me and other students’ replies can be found. There are several details about posting information to my students, but right now I am going to focus on posting, viewing and replying to messages.
In the center of the Edmodo page there will be a speech bubble where you can type a message. My message would be something like, “Please start to bring in newspaper for a future project,” directly below this message box is the “Send To” box. Here, I can select an individual student, a specific class or all of my groups at once. This message will then appear on the student’s “wall” and they will have the option to reply to my message and they can also add files or links to share with the rest of the class. Students can also reply to public messages and have threaded discussions within their individual class (for example, my first block students can’t message the fifth block students) but please remember teachers, you must remain diligent as the moderator for inappropriate material on this site.
As the basic “web master” for this pseudo social network, the teacher has the power to edit every posted message. As the teacher, if they hover their mouse over the upper right hand corner of a message, they will have three choices: DELETE, EDIT, or PRINT. Students only have the power to edit their own posts, reply to teacher posts and reply to open messages by their classmates. I have also found great joy in watching my students open up and reply to each other’s posts whereas in class, they are way too quiet and intimidated to say anything.
Underneath posted messages, teachers have the option to REPLY to messages; make private messages PUBLIC to a group; or TAG messages for easy sorting later. As a teacher, I have personally found the “tag” option as a great tool to sort through posted material and assignments through six classes and three different grade levels.
Finally, the students and the teachers have a section in the upper-right hand corner of their screen called the “spotlight.” Students will again see the similarity between this and their notifications sections for other social networking sites. Students will know when assignments are due, someone has replied to their post or when their assignment was graded. For teachers, they will see when new direct posts have been made, students have replied to posts or when an assignment was turned in. But I will cover more on student assignments in Edmodo in the future.