Monday, February 15, 2010

Social Networking in School - Not an Oxymoron

Can you imagine being on Facebook at school?  Impossible you say?  Not with Edmodo, a free, private social platform for teachers and students to share ideas, files, events and assignments. This Web 2.0 tool was created by Jeff O’Hara, who recently participated in a Classroom 2.0 Ning webinar explaining how to use it successfully with your students.  I have used it with my students and have had fabulous results!

Once the class got past the “adding a picture to my profile” phase, we discussed the Great Depression and how it affected Americans.  The comments from my Special Education students were far more comprehensive than any other assignment we have completed.  I think the students feel more comfortable using the social networking platform than pencil and paper. The students’ comments are viewed by their classmates, and therefore there is more accountability with their peers than when the teacher is the only person viewing their assignments.  Also, some students who are uncomfortable responding in class are more comfortable responding in this format. The students were so motivated to participate that some even went to the public library to check their accounts since they do not have Internet at home! I also noticed that the students’ level of participation increased significantly when using Edmodo, and they ask at the beginning of class, “Are we using Edmodo today?”

Since Edmodo is private, it is a safe alternative to traditional social networks to use in the classroom. Teachers and students can send notes, links, files, alerts, assignments, and events to each other. No email is required and it can be private or public, depending on the teacher preference. It is so easy to use.  Teachers sign up for accounts, and then create groups. Each group has a unique code which the teacher givers to the students. Then the students can sign up and join the class group. I was very surprised at how intuitive it is to use with my students.  There is also a mobile web version, which allows teachers and students to use Edmodo on their mobile device.  There is even an Edmodo wiki with screenshots and directions for using Edmodo.

Edmodo is becoming very popular, and it has been reviewed on:

Edmodo continues to include more features.  During the webinar on Feb. 13, 2010, Jeff O’Hara talked about the Beta version of “Chalk”, which will be an added feature, which will allow students to collaborate on the same document in a way that is similar to Etherpad or Google docs.  The lesson possibilities for Edmodo are endless.  If you have not checked out Edmodo yet, you need to because your students will be so excited to use it you will have to beg them to stop working at the end of class!


  1. Sherry,
    This sounds great. I totally would love to try this with my students. The overall idea sounds like a great idea. If only this site was around when social-networking sites, like facebook, first started. This would have allowed students to see the sites in both lights, instead of just thinking of all the 'cool' things you can do like changing your profile picture.
    I am really excited to try this with my students. We have so many students who need that place to comment and feel open to. There are those students who dominate conversation and discussion that many students assume they won't need to talk or comment.
    I'll be sure to try it out with my next group of kids. Thanks for finding it!

  2. Cool. I have thought about starting a private ning for my class for this kind of thing. I would allow students from past years to continue to participate and add their perspective to discussions. Actually I commented on this on your first post. But this might be even better since you don't need an email.

    Could you set up just one group so students from previous years can contribute? Can you ban members who need to be banned for inappropriate use? Have you added an administrator to the group so it isn't some private thing with you and your students?

    Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to look into this.

  3. I think this is great way to show the positive side of social networking. So many parents and teachers think nothing but evil can be associated with social networking when, in reality, there are a great many useful things that can come out of it. I think I recall that Edmodo has an option to preview the postings prior to posting so inappropriate comments can be dealt with. I see this as a great educational tool to get students "talking" in greater detail much more than they might in a regular classroom.

  4. What a great site! This may be just the thing to use with my students now that they have become more comfortable with each other and with their instruments. An interesting aspect for the band students is that they come from four different schools and many times do not have the opportunity to collaborate together as they are not physically together during the day. By using a safe site as this that does not require an email would be one possibility to combat this location issue. Thanks for the info.

  5. Ha, I just wrote about Edmoto as well. I was happy that it does not need an e-mail address to participate (which is what I blogged about).

    It was on abc news:

  6. I tried to get my school to let me access Edmodo and they will not. They shun any sites that even suggest social networking or games. Think I will send links to all of our class blogs to the "Super" to see if we can lighten up a bit. As we have learned in other classes, I really believe it is the fear of the unknown that prevents administrators and even parents from allowing kids to access these sites. Good much of what they are exposed to on TV or surfing the net at home is so bad and I think parents tend to look the other way if it keeps kids entertained and out of their hair. What really frustrates me the most is the fact that our district talks the technology talk, but doesn't walk the walk! Sometimes I wonder how I will ever get to use all the great stuff we are learning in the TIE program! Any suggests gang?