Edmodo: microblogging for the classroom

Microblogging is a very effective way to keep a closed group of people in touch with each other and informed via the instant delivery of short text messages, just like the status update in your facebook account

I have been looking forward to the lauch of Edmodo since I first found out about it earlier this year. Edmodo is now coming to the end of its private beta trials and is giving itself the last final touches before it goes live, ready to be exploited by students, teachers and lecturers.

What is Edmodo?

Edmodo is a microblogging platform, like Twitter, Plurk or Jaiku, that is specifically designed for use in the classroom.

What on Earth is microblogging?

Microblogging is a very effective way to keep a closed group of people in touch with each other and informed via the instant delivery of short text messages, just like the status update in your facebook account.

How can microblogging help me as a teacher/educator?

Microblogging enables teachers and students to share resources, send notices to each other and generally keep in touch regarding school matters. Teachers could use it to set assignments, inform students of their deadlines or of school or college events, among other things. Students could use it to send queries to the teachers or even to send links to their work, if it can be found online, like in a blog or personal web page. The key is that one single message gets delivered to everyone in the group instantly.

As a teacher, say you wanted to bring forward the deadline for a project due to unforeseen circumstances, normally you would print or write a notice and pin it to a notice board or perhaps send an email to every pupil in your class… sometimes you might even have to actually find students and tell them in person.

Microblogging acts as an online notice board. Post your message and everyone in your group gets it. And you could have several groups, one for each of your classes or subjects.

Why Edmodo when there are so many other microblogging platforms?

Edmodo is the first of these platforms to have been designed by people involved in education specifically for use in the classroom by teachers and students. For me the key is safety. Twitter and Plurk, for example, are regularly used by tens of thousands of people, not all of whom might have legitimate intentions and who might attempt to contact or follow other users.

Edmodo, however, is by definition a specialist network of educators and students, so the risks of being contacted by strangers for non academic purposes are greatly reduced, thereby providing a safer environment in which students and teachers or lecturers can safely interact and collaborate.

So, keep an eye out for Edmodo. I, for one, cannot wait to give it a go.

José Picardo

José is Assistant Principal at Surbiton High School and a Fellow of the RSA and Naace. He is interested in improving education and the way technology can be used to enhance and transform teaching and learning. José has been curating Box of Tricks since 2007 and holds a MA in ICT and Education.

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  • http://www.dougbelshaw.com/ Doug Belshaw

    Edmodo does look promising, especially now that Twitter doesn’t offer SMS alerts for tweets in the UK. After I blogged about it I was fortunate to get a sneak peek at it from the inside. It’s a bit frustrating that it’s not ready for this academic year – great potential! :-)

  • http://www.dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

    Edmodo does look promising, especially now that Twitter doesn’t offer SMS alerts for tweets in the UK. After I blogged about it I was fortunate to get a sneak peek at it from the inside. It’s a bit frustrating that it’s not ready for this academic year – great potential! :-)

  • http://lisibo.blogspot.com/2008/06/animation-for-education-goes-ning.html Lisa

    Looks good – can’t wait to have a go!!

    Lisaxx

  • http://lisibo.blogspot.com/2008/06/animation-for-education-goes-ning.html Lisa

    Looks good – can’t wait to have a go!!

    Lisaxx

  • http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/ Nik Peachey

    I’m actually quite a big fan of Plurk and like its ability to embed video or graphic media into the messages. I’m keen to see what Edmodo has to offer besides a similar functionality to Plurk and Twitter.

    Are they actually doing anything additional to protect students that the other platforms don’t do? Just being designed for students / education wouldn’t be enough to put off some potetial abusers of this system and might even attract them.

    I’ve written an article on using Plurk with teaching tips for teachers and students of EFL / ESL at:
    http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2008/07/microblogging-for-efl-with-plurk.html

    Look forward to trying out Edmodo

    best

    Nik

  • http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/ Nik Peachey

    I’m actually quite a big fan of Plurk and like its ability to embed video or graphic media into the messages. I’m keen to see what Edmodo has to offer besides a similar functionality to Plurk and Twitter.

    Are they actually doing anything additional to protect students that the other platforms don’t do? Just being designed for students / education wouldn’t be enough to put off some potetial abusers of this system and might even attract them.

    I’ve written an article on using Plurk with teaching tips for teachers and students of EFL / ESL at:
    http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2008/07/microblogging-for-efl-with-plurk.html

    Look forward to trying out Edmodo

    best

    Nik

  • Guest

    Thank you all for your comments.

    @Nik Yes Nik, I am also waiting to see regarding the Edmodo’s safety. I am hopeful, more than anything, that the safety aspect will be one of Edmodo’s big pluses.

    The advantage that Edmodo has over other mainstream platforms is that it is designed for teachers and students, so our opinion counts. What this means is that the guys at Edmodo are more likely to listen to our concerns and effect any change or improvement that we may suggest to them than say Twitter or Plurk, because we teachers and students are their target audience.

    I know for a fact that with Edmodo you can attach any file from your computer and it also allows the posting of videos (via embedding code).

    By the way, as far as I can see, Edmodo is now live.

  • http://www.boxoftricks.net José Picardo

    Thank you all for your comments.

    @Nik Yes Nik, I am also waiting to see regarding the Edmodo’s safety. I am hopeful, more than anything, that the safety aspect will be one of Edmodo’s big pluses.

    The advantage that Edmodo has over other mainstream platforms is that it is designed for teachers and students, so our opinion counts. What this means is that the guys at Edmodo are more likely to listen to our concerns and effect any change or improvement that we may suggest to them than say Twitter or Plurk, because we teachers and students are their target audience.

    I know for a fact that with Edmodo you can attach any file from your computer and it also allows the posting of videos (via embedding code).

    By the way, as far as I can see, Edmodo is now live.

  • http://explorations.bloxi.jp/ Carla Arena

    I signed up in Edmodo this morning, and it seems a neat place for a group of classmates to meet. Though I love serendipity and I learn from people I’ve never met before, I understand that safety is always a big concern, even more so here in the US. It’s very user-friendly and your class just need the code of the group you create to join the group. Lots of possibilities as you’ve so well described, José.

  • http://explorations.bloxi.jp Carla Arena

    I signed up in Edmodo this morning, and it seems a neat place for a group of classmates to meet. Though I love serendipity and I learn from people I’ve never met before, I understand that safety is always a big concern, even more so here in the US. It’s very user-friendly and your class just need the code of the group you create to join the group. Lots of possibilities as you’ve so well described, José.

  • http://www.edmodo.com/ Nic Borg

    Thanks for the great post, José, and to everyone who has checked out Edmodo. What separates Edmodo from Twitter and Plurk is that it is built more around private group collaboration, instead of building larger networks. However, we do provide some public features, for example: the creator of a group can mark posts made to that group as public, which adds them to the group’s public page and rss feed. That way parents or the world can follow a moderated version of a group’s activity.

    As José pointed out in his comment, we (Jeff O’hara and myself) started edmodo for the education 2.0 community and therefore are eager for your guidance and feedback.

  • http://www.edmodo.com Nic Borg

    Thanks for the great post, José, and to everyone who has checked out Edmodo. What separates Edmodo from Twitter and Plurk is that it is built more around private group collaboration, instead of building larger networks. However, we do provide some public features, for example: the creator of a group can mark posts made to that group as public, which adds them to the group’s public page and rss feed. That way parents or the world can follow a moderated version of a group’s activity.

    As José pointed out in his comment, we (Jeff O’hara and myself) started edmodo for the education 2.0 community and therefore are eager for your guidance and feedback.

  • http://www.pass-ed.com/blogger.html Andrew Pass

    I’m going to see if anybody has written about this on http://www.classroom20.com.

  • http://www.pass-ed.com/blogger.html Andrew Pass

    I’m going to see if anybody has written about this on http://www.classroom20.com.

  • Kath Holton

    Hello, I have started using edmodo with my 4 GCSE classes after listening to your show-and-tell at the IOW conference. Really pleased so far with positive reactions from pupils and them being enabled to send me homework they have “forgotten”. I was wondering about the Locker facility – can I keep material in it from posts which I want to delete from the system? how do you use it??
    Thanks! Kath

  • http://kholton52@yahoo.co.uk Kath Holton

    Hello, I have started using edmodo with my 4 GCSE classes after listening to your show-and-tell at the IOW conference. Really pleased so far with positive reactions from pupils and them being enabled to send me homework they have “forgotten”. I was wondering about the Locker facility – can I keep material in it from posts which I want to delete from the system? how do you use it??
    Thanks! Kath

  • Guest

    Hello Kath, thank you for your comment. I am very pleased you are trying out Edmodo after listening to me at the isle of Wight, particularly given that microblogging is such a difficult concept to explain!

    As regards the locker facility, I have to be honest and say I seldom use it. I know though that if you save a post to the locker and then delete the original post from the main time line, that will also delete it from the locker. So you can’t use it that way.

    The locker is useful however if there is an important post you want to refer back to quickly, because if you have saved it in the locker, then it saves you trawling the time line looking for it.

    Hope that helps.

    José

  • http://www.boxoftricks.net José Picardo

    Hello Kath, thank you for your comment. I am very pleased you are trying out Edmodo after listening to me at the isle of Wight, particularly given that microblogging is such a difficult concept to explain!

    As regards the locker facility, I have to be honest and say I seldom use it. I know though that if you save a post to the locker and then delete the original post from the main time line, that will also delete it from the locker. So you can’t use it that way.

    The locker is useful however if there is an important post you want to refer back to quickly, because if you have saved it in the locker, then it saves you trawling the time line looking for it.

    Hope that helps.

    José

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