Emerging technologies are more prevalent in the classroom setting today, technologies such as Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Edmodo, and wikis. These are all tools that will increase teacher-to-student interaction and parental communication. This paper provides an in-depth description of an emerging technology called Edmodo. Edmodo is an effective, secure way to enhance the classroom setting, so that students can connect their outside world to that of the classroom. This tool can be used amongst most grade levels. Once teachers overcome initial resistance that accompanies learning any new tool, they will find many ways to maximize instructional time.
WHAT IS EDMODO?
Edmodo is a safe social online network for teachers and students, operable for an online and face-to-face class. In 2008, founders Borg and O’Hara realized a need to evolve the school environment to emulate the real world social networking entities. Both worked to create a tool to shrink the gap between how students interact in the real world and how students interact in the classroom. A 21st century education requires students to interact as digital natives prepared to communicate in a social world that largely takes place electronically. This social networking platform provides a secure place for teachers and students to connect, collaborate, and share content and educational applications. Additionally, Edmodo enables parents and students to have access to homework, grades, class discussions, and notifications.
The goal of this online tool is to assist teachers in connecting the power of social media to provide individualized learning experiences for each student. Many teachers struggle with differentiated instruction, especially with the growing, diverse needs of the student population in the United States. Meyer and Rhoades (2006) cite the projections of Petus and Allain (2006) that by 2020, minorities will comprise about half of the children in the nation's public schools. This fact presents diversity issues that teachers must begin to tackle through a variety of strategies and resources. Edmodo offers a user-friendly interface in which teachers are able to consolidate the preparation, planning, and implementation of individualized instruction.
Edmodo is a safer alternative to Facebook in which the classroom teacher manages the interactions, updates, chats, and threads. Social Networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook are age restricted, limiting the use of school-aged students. Edmodo enables students to have access to social networking in safe and secure manner, while allowing instruction for appropriate use of a social networking site. Teachers are able to develop and assess student profiles and contributions as a means for recording qualitative and quantitative data on student achievement. This data enables teachers to utilize data to drive instruction, creating a learning environment with increased individualized instructional time.
A major aspect of educating students in the 21st century includes a global connection. According to Edmodo website, there are more than 7,400,000 teachers and students connected worldwide through Edmodo. The use of this online tool enables schools to remain a viable entity in this age of social networking. Creating learning environment in which students are able to draw parallels between their choice of social online networking and the school choice of social online networking boosts the connection between students and their learning environment. Time Techland labels Edmodo as one of the best social networks for kids under the age of 13 (McClelland, 2012).
In the Classroom
In the writers’ institutions, the technology teacher and classroom teachers are beginning to incorporate Edmodo into the daily instruction. Students have created individual profile pages and are able to explore the various features of the network. The findings from use include increased student engagement that increases student achievement. Ways that this tool is used range from classroom management to empowering students with a voice who may otherwise not participate in class discussions. Students are offered a user-friendly alternative that is aligned with the technology goals of the institution Edmodo is a viable option to begin to break down resistance barriers to emerging technologies.
Specifically in a technology education middle school class, Edmodo is used to encourage a continuum of ongoing learning both in and out of the classroom; the always accessible nature of the service makes assessments after class and technology education a reality that exceeds 60 minutes once a week. Students participate in online discussions, complete online polls and quizzes, and access and submit all assignments digitally as the classroom moves towards a paperless model. Students are also encouraged to communicate directly with the instructor using Edmodo, but are not able to communicate directly with each other. Parents have been invited to the service and many have joined, following along with the class and able to monitor their child’s grades and work submissions. Additionally, students are provided extensive training on appropriate use of a social networking site. This training involves the signing of an Edmodo Code of Conduct, review of acceptable use guidelines, and a student guide for student reference.
Within another classroom setting, Edmodo was used to conduct a poll of the faculty. The poll was designed to get a response from the faculty about how they would be most interested in using Edmodo. The teachers felt that completing the actual poll was simple and not time consuming. However, what most of the faculty did not realize was that the school system had already established generic usernames and passwords for each faculty member. Therefore, all they had to do was use the generic login, and then create their own password or keep the generic, which also made them more open to the idea of using the software. Edmodo was also used to monitor student behavior with the Edmodo app, called Classdojo. Classdojo allowed the teacher to project student behavior points on the whiteboard in real time. Students saw immediately if they received a positive or negative point for their behavior. At the end of the class, a report was generated displaying the class behavior for the day and behavior reports were either emailed to the parents or printed out and sent home with the students. Parents really like the ability to receive daily communication about their child’s behavior at the middle school level. Parents can also communicate daily about their child’s academic progress through the notes function of Edmodo; however this function was not utilized to the extent of Classdojo.Finally, after reviewing the use of Edmodo, the writers are impressed with the many facets of this instructional tool. Working with Edmodo has sparked an interest in investigating more emerging technologies that will enhance classroom instruction.
McClelland, J. (2012). The best social networks for kids under 13. Time Techland Retrieved from http://techland.time.com/2012/05/24/the-best-social-networks-for-kids-under- 13/
Meyer, C. F., & Rhoades, E. K. (2006). Multiculturalism: Beyond food, festival, folklore, and fashion. Kappa Delta Pi Record. 42(2), 82-88. Retrieved from http://proquest.umi.com.ezproxylocal.library.nova.edu/pqdweb?did=955429561&sid=3&Fmt=4&clientId=17038&RQT=309&VName=PQD