Edmodo: What students think

Micro-blogging can be an extremely useful tool for both teachers and students to keep in touch with each other regarding academic matters via the instant delivery of short text-messages and more...

I had been looking forward to Edmodo’s arrival since I first found out about it earlier this year, when I was researching for the Languages ICT Outlook. Since its launch earlier this month, happily coinciding with the beginning of term for us, my students and I have been exploring Edmodo as a means of teacher-student communication.

Given that our school does not yet have a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), one of my personal objectives this year is to explore alternative ways in which communication could be improved between students and teachers, as a way to help us bridge the home-school divide.

As I explained in my previous post about Edmodo’s launch, I believe micro-blogging can be an extremely useful tool for both teachers and students to keep in touch with each other regarding academic matters via the instant delivery of short text-messages and more…

What else then? Edmodo has taken the concept of micro-blogging and has adapted it for use in education. Unlike other platforms, Edmodo is built around closed group collaboration, which means only your students can join your groups with a secret code provided by you.

In addition, Edmodo gives you the the ability to set assignments online, as well as events and alerts. Edmodo also allows you to add hypertext links and gives you the ability to attach and send files, so students can forward work to you easily and you can make resources, such as web pages, documents or powerpoint files, available to them.

Edmodo in use – some examples

Click on the individual screenshots to find out how we have been using Edmodo in more detail

As you can see Edmodo has proved quite useful, not only in terms of setting and collecting work, but also in terms of communicating other information, such as queries about the assignments or simply letting the teacher know if you’re unable to attend a lesson.

What students think

So, after three weeks of using Edmodo, I interviewed two classes of 6th Form students (16 to 18 year olds) who have completely and immediately embraced this new form communication between us and now deliver their work via Edmodo almost exclusively.

I asked my students to compare Edmodo to our AsiSeHace Ning social network which we would otherwise use for the purpose of communication. For the students I interviewed, these are Edmodo’s main benefits:

  • Edmodo’s simplicity in terms of interface is what makes it so effective
  • The ability to send homework to the teacher as soon as it’s done and then forget about it
  • Being able to communicate with the teacher if a student is struggling with work or requires further guidance

When asked what features they would like to see in Edmodo, they highlighted the following:

  • Useful links to external resources get lost in the timeline, therefore they suggested the possibility to have a permanent links section for each group on the sidebar
  • Some students expressed an interest in being able to communicate with each other synchronously when they are both on line – instant messaging
  • Other students would like to have the ability to customise their profile or group pages to a greater degree

Click below to hear the interview with my students:

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It is only rarely that my students seem so enthused about a new tool. They have genuinely found Edmodo useful and I look forward to rolling it out to other, younger year groups.

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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://aliceayel.posterous.com/ Alice

    Looks great and exciting to use. Will try to sell it to my HOD! thanks.

  • http://aliceayel.posterous.com/ Alice

    Looks great and exciting to use. Will try to sell it to my HOD! thanks.

  • http://tsearl.edublogs.org/ TonySearl

    I am keen to see how my Year 12 students respond to edmodo when school resumes here in Australia. My privacy concerns re twitter have been answered. I see learning potential in the hand out/in, events and assignment features and as Jeff and Nic say their app is still being developed and I’m sure this means they respond to feedback and suggestions.

  • http://tsearl.edublogs.org/ TonySearl

    I am keen to see how my Year 12 students respond to edmodo when school resumes here in Australia. My privacy concerns re twitter have been answered. I see learning potential in the hand out/in, events and assignment features and as Jeff and Nic say their app is still being developed and I’m sure this means they respond to feedback and suggestions.

  • http://www.technolote.com/ Jess McCulloch

    Hey Jose!

    Thanks for the comment over on my blog that directed me here. This is a great post and I really enjoyed listening to the podcast. I’m trying to get into Edmodo, but it just won’t load here in China so I’ll have to wait until I get back to Australia at the end of next week to really have a play I think! I’ve left a comment reply to your message over at my blog.

    I need to catch up on my Reader and get up to date with more of your posts! :-)

  • http://www.technolote.com Jess McCulloch

    Hey Jose!

    Thanks for the comment over on my blog that directed me here. This is a great post and I really enjoyed listening to the podcast. I’m trying to get into Edmodo, but it just won’t load here in China so I’ll have to wait until I get back to Australia at the end of next week to really have a play I think! I’ve left a comment reply to your message over at my blog.

    I need to catch up on my Reader and get up to date with more of your posts! :-)

  • http://highschool.stillwater.k12.mn.us/duronioj ProfeJen

    Hola José,

    A little late on the uptake here, but I’m more and more curious about Edmodo. Assuming you’re continuing to use it with your students, is it still a success? I’m afraid of it being just one more site they have to log into everyday. They’re already on Facebook, so that would be an easy choice to be sure they checked in everyday, but I don’t want to cross that line, like I commented about a week ago. Your thoughts?

  • http://highschool.stillwater.k12.mn.us/duronioj ProfeJen

    Hola José,

    A little late on the uptake here, but I’m more and more curious about Edmodo. Assuming you’re continuing to use it with your students, is it still a success? I’m afraid of it being just one more site they have to log into everyday. They’re already on Facebook, so that would be an easy choice to be sure they checked in everyday, but I don’t want to cross that line, like I commented about a week ago. Your thoughts?

  • Guest

    @ProfeJen Thanks for your comment. I must encourage you to try out Edmodo as both I and, most importantly, my students (16-18 year olds) are finding it extremely useful. It is most definitely still a success!

    The first thing my pupils do when they go home is switch the computer on and check their MySpace, Facebook or whatever. I believe adapting the way we approach our relationship with our students so that we are able to tap into the way they operate and organise their lives is essential if we, educators, are to remain relevant in their lives.

    I think you are right being cautious about using Facebook for academic purposes as that might be perceived as an intrusion on your part by your students, as well as a bit creepy.

    That’s why Edmodo presents us with the ideal solution: it’s in a format that they readily recognise and enjoy, it taps into their lifestyle without interfering with their other, more private networks and it is clearly defined for academic use.

    It draws a line, a distinction, between private and academic so that they feel their privacy is not compromised and I feel satisfied I am using a system which will not result in my being exposed to potentially embarrassing pictures or videos ;)

    As regards logging on, Edmodo will send an email (as long as the right settings are activated) to your students whenever you set an assignment or alert and you will also be notified by email when they reply, so they don’t have to remember to log on. Edmodo reminds them.

    Hope that helps. Have a look too at this presentation I gave a couple of weeks ago.

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

    @ProfeJen Thanks for your comment. I must encourage you to try out Edmodo as both I and, most importantly, my students (16-18 year olds) are finding it extremely useful. It is most definitely still a success!

    The first thing my pupils do when they go home is switch the computer on and check their MySpace, Facebook or whatever. I believe adapting the way we approach our relationship with our students so that we are able to tap into the way they operate and organise their lives is essential if we, educators, are to remain relevant in their lives.

    I think you are right being cautious about using Facebook for academic purposes as that might be perceived as an intrusion on your part by your students, as well as a bit creepy.

    That’s why Edmodo presents us with the ideal solution: it’s in a format that they readily recognise and enjoy, it taps into their lifestyle without interfering with their other, more private networks and it is clearly defined for academic use.

    It draws a line, a distinction, between private and academic so that they feel their privacy is not compromised and I feel satisfied I am using a system which will not result in my being exposed to potentially embarrassing pictures or videos ;)

    As regards logging on, Edmodo will send an email (as long as the right settings are activated) to your students whenever you set an assignment or alert and you will also be notified by email when they reply, so they don’t have to remember to log on. Edmodo reminds them.

    Hope that helps. Have a look too at this presentation I gave a couple of weeks ago.

  • http://tsearl.edublogs.org/ Tony Searl

    edmodo is fantastic with my senior students. We have used it for the last 10 weeks or so and now all my seniors are using it its opening up some really collaborative discussion.

    They can ask for help, I can send them links or resources and then we discuss and follow up f2f in class.

    It is not intrusive, kept totally separate from their social sites and is just for educational purposes. If they like it and find it educationally useful, then I like it.

  • http://tsearl.edublogs.org/ Tony Searl

    edmodo is fantastic with my senior students. We have used it for the last 10 weeks or so and now all my seniors are using it its opening up some really collaborative discussion.

    They can ask for help, I can send them links or resources and then we discuss and follow up f2f in class.

    It is not intrusive, kept totally separate from their social sites and is just for educational purposes. If they like it and find it educationally useful, then I like it.

  • http://highschool.stillwater.k12.mn.us/ ProfeJen

    @Tony and José
    Are either of you also using Moodle or another CMS? If not, then it seems that Edmodo would be a perfect place to start. If so, is Edmodo redundant of features already contained in Moodle? Although I’ve been using Moodle in my MA coursework and AP seminars, I am the first and sole guinea pig for Moodle in my school district, having just been granted access on Wednesday. The question I’m trying to answer is whether I should introduce both tools to my classes or go forth on one or the other. Your thoughts on these (and other) questions are much appreciated!

  • http://highschool.stillwater.k12.mn.us ProfeJen

    @Tony and José
    Are either of you also using Moodle or another CMS? If not, then it seems that Edmodo would be a perfect place to start. If so, is Edmodo redundant of features already contained in Moodle? Although I’ve been using Moodle in my MA coursework and AP seminars, I am the first and sole guinea pig for Moodle in my school district, having just been granted access on Wednesday. The question I’m trying to answer is whether I should introduce both tools to my classes or go forth on one or the other. Your thoughts on these (and other) questions are much appreciated!

  • Guest

    @ProfeJen Our school does not yet have a VLE, so my subject blog and Edmodo in combination are proving very useful to me and my students.

    If you have started implementing Moodle I would suggest however to focus on that for the time being and avoid overloading your students with technology, as they (and other teachers) can react adversely and turn their backs on it if they feel overwhelmed by it.

    Perhaps once Moodle is in place you might find Edmodo and sites like it offer you extra functionality.

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

    @ProfeJen Our school does not yet have a VLE, so my subject blog and Edmodo in combination are proving very useful to me and my students.

    If you have started implementing Moodle I would suggest however to focus on that for the time being and avoid overloading your students with technology, as they (and other teachers) can react adversely and turn their backs on it if they feel overwhelmed by it.

    Perhaps once Moodle is in place you might find Edmodo and sites like it offer you extra functionality.

  • http://www.marcywebb.com/ Marcy Webb

    ¡Hola, José!

    I am a Spanish teacher from across the big pond. I happened upon your site while conducting a search for edmodo and foreign languages. I have linked my current blog post to this one, as I want to educate as many MFL teachers as I can re: using microblogging in their curriculum. Again, I am pleased to have connected with you, and I enjoy your site very much.

    Cheers!

    • Guest

      Dear Marcy,

      Many thanks for your comment and for linking to Box of Tricks. I am also very pleased to have found your blog. Do keep us informed about your progress researching microblogging in the curiculum.

      José

  • http://www.marcywebb.com Marcy Webb

    ¡Hola, José!

    I am a Spanish teacher from across the big pond. I happened upon your site while conducting a search for edmodo and foreign languages. I have linked my current blog post to this one, as I want to educate as many MFL teachers as I can re: using microblogging in their curriculum. Again, I am pleased to have connected with you, and I enjoy your site very much.

    Cheers!

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

      Dear Marcy,

      Many thanks for your comment and for linking to Box of Tricks. I am also very pleased to have found your blog. Do keep us informed about your progress researching microblogging in the curiculum.

      José

  • E’W’W

    As a student, edmodo is the worst thing ever.

    It’s like a cheap 1960 rip of facebook and twitter combined.

    Not suggested for others.

    • Guest

      Everyone is, of course entitled to their opinion, even if it is not justified or reasoned.

      All I can say is that your opinion is not shared by many educators and students alike and that, perhaps, you have not been using Edmodo as it is meant to be used. It is certainly not meant to be used like Facebook or even Twitter for that matter, as it operates in closed groups.

      These are my students talking about how they found Edmodo useful:

      http://www.boxoftricks.net/?p=1285

      Anyway, I remember back in the 60′s when Facebook and Twitter were first launched… ;-)

      • E’W’W

        I did justify my reason for our dislike. Yes, a large group of the student body who use Edmodo currently have voiced their opinions on their thoughts on Edmodo.

        Also, I meant that Edmodo would be like what Facebook or Twitter would have been in the 60′s if they were made then.

        A great lack of features, and often yet some students can’t even access it at home due to them not having the compatible browser.

        • Guest

          I am sorry, but you did not justify anything in your first comment. You simply commented on the fact that it looked like a throw back to the 60s.

          In your second comment, however, you do point out to the fact that Edmodo doesn’t support IE6, which I understand, and refer to a perceived great lack of features. Perhaps you could elaborate a little on that. Now that would be useful.

          I would also like to be pointed towards this large group of the student body and their opinions. Any links?

          • E’W’W

            My first justification was that it looked like a poor version of FB.

            Also, these opinions were expressed by in-class discussions, not everything is done online nowadays lol.

            • Guest

              This is getting a little tiresome. Besides saying that you don’t like the way Edmodo looks, which is a perfectly good opinion, it seems you have nothing else to add to this discussion.
              You have still not mentioned which features you would like to see after you great lack of features comment. May I suggest you really don’t know what you are talking about and are simply basing your opinion on looks.
              BTW you may find it interesting to know that Edmodo looked like Facebook before Facebook itself did!

            • E’W’W

              Okay then I will list some features I do believe they should include:
              - Personal profiles (moodle has that)
              - Chat
              - A more smooth UI
              - Ability to send direct messages to other students instead of just broadcasting to every person

              And looks do matter when I use something. It affects the ability to read and perceive things. For example, a box around the avatar with different colors is hard to differentiate between the groups, as well as when there are replies below each “update”, it gets messy, really quickly, with plain text and no formatting.

  • E’W’W

    As a student, edmodo is the worst thing ever.

    It’s like a cheap 1960 rip of facebook and twitter combined.

    Not suggested for others.

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

      Everyone is, of course entitled to their opinion, even if it is not justified or reasoned.

      All I can say is that your opinion is not shared by many educators and students alike and that, perhaps, you have not been using Edmodo as it is meant to be used. It is certainly not meant to be used like Facebook or even Twitter for that matter, as it operates in closed groups.

      These are my students talking about how they found Edmodo useful:

      http://www.boxoftricks.net/?p=1285

      Anyway, I remember back in the 60′s when Facebook and Twitter were first launched… ;-)

      • E’W’W

        I did justify my reason for our dislike. Yes, a large group of the student body who use Edmodo currently have voiced their opinions on their thoughts on Edmodo.

        Also, I meant that Edmodo would be like what Facebook or Twitter would have been in the 60′s if they were made then.

        A great lack of features, and often yet some students can’t even access it at home due to them not having the compatible browser.

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

          I am sorry, but you did not justify anything in your first comment. You simply commented on the fact that it looked like a throw back to the 60s.

          In your second comment, however, you do point out to the fact that Edmodo doesn’t support IE6, which I understand, and refer to a perceived great lack of features. Perhaps you could elaborate a little on that. Now that would be useful.

          I would also like to be pointed towards this large group of the student body and their opinions. Any links?

          • E’W’W

            My first justification was that it looked like a poor version of FB.

            Also, these opinions were expressed by in-class discussions, not everything is done online nowadays lol.

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

              This is getting a little tiresome. Besides saying that you don’t like the way Edmodo looks, which is a perfectly good opinion, it seems you have nothing else to add to this discussion.
              You have still not mentioned which features you would like to see after you great lack of features comment. May I suggest you really don’t know what you are talking about and are simply basing your opinion on looks.
              BTW you may find it interesting to know that Edmodo looked like Facebook before Facebook itself did!

            • E’W’W

              Okay then I will list some features I do believe they should include:
              - Personal profiles (moodle has that)
              - Chat
              - A more smooth UI
              - Ability to send direct messages to other students instead of just broadcasting to every person

              And looks do matter when I use something. It affects the ability to read and perceive things. For example, a box around the avatar with different colors is hard to differentiate between the groups, as well as when there are replies below each “update”, it gets messy, really quickly, with plain text and no formatting.

  • kris

    I think the comparison with facebook doesn’t reflect what edmodo is. It is not an open networking site. It has a lot of promise for allowing students to develop their own dialogues based on what they are learning. Material can be embedded, assignments submitted, and discussion sustained.

    Are compatible browsers that hard to come by?

    • E’W’W

      Okay this makes some more sense than declaring my opinion “unjustified”.

      I understand it is not a social networking site, but it just seems that it is “trying” to be while being educational. Some part of that scheme just triggers a feeling that is inherent in some (I won’t say many because I don’t have a link) students that leaves a dislike towards it.

      It’s like the classic example of “educational videos”, where students do not pay as much attention to it or dislikes it because it is “educational”. This is an “educational semi-social networking site” and some can feel that.

  • kris

    I think the comparison with facebook doesn’t reflect what edmodo is. It is not an open networking site. It has a lot of promise for allowing students to develop their own dialogues based on what they are learning. Material can be embedded, assignments submitted, and discussion sustained.

    Are compatible browsers that hard to come by?

    • E’W’W

      Okay this makes some more sense than declaring my opinion “unjustified”.

      I understand it is not a social networking site, but it just seems that it is “trying” to be while being educational. Some part of that scheme just triggers a feeling that is inherent in some (I won’t say many because I don’t have a link) students that leaves a dislike towards it.

      It’s like the classic example of “educational videos”, where students do not pay as much attention to it or dislikes it because it is “educational”. This is an “educational semi-social networking site” and some can feel that.

  • http://kevinmclaughlin.wordpress.com/ Kevin Mc Laughlin

    @E’W’W
    I’m wondering why you detest Edmodo so much? Apart from merely tainting it with conjecture you haven’t actually listed any reason why it causes you to voice your opinion here.
    If your express wish is to highlight your objections of Edmodo, wouldn’t it be more beneficial if you demonstrated this within the forum pages of Edmodo itself?

    Perhaps then, you might receive the answer you are looking for.

    • E’W’W

      I don’t think I am “tainting” it with “a conclusion from insufficient evidence”.

      I could not find a forum page on Edmodo itself, and if you can so direct me to a link, I will.

      In fact, when I tried to get some kind of response, and my comment on a blog post was slightly slighted, they blocked me from posting again. Perhaps my first comment here was the result of their block, but I do believe they are trying not to have any kind of comment criticizing their service.

  • http://kevinmclaughlin.wordpress.com Kevin Mc Laughlin

    @E’W’W
    I’m wondering why you detest Edmodo so much? Apart from merely tainting it with conjecture you haven’t actually listed any reason why it causes you to voice your opinion here.
    If your express wish is to highlight your objections of Edmodo, wouldn’t it be more beneficial if you demonstrated this within the forum pages of Edmodo itself?

    Perhaps then, you might receive the answer you are looking for.

    • E’W’W

      I don’t think I am “tainting” it with “a conclusion from insufficient evidence”.

      I could not find a forum page on Edmodo itself, and if you can so direct me to a link, I will.

      In fact, when I tried to get some kind of response, and my comment on a blog post was slightly slighted, they blocked me from posting again. Perhaps my first comment here was the result of their block, but I do believe they are trying not to have any kind of comment criticizing their service.

  • Guest

    Dear E’W’W

    Thank you so much for clarifying your position. I wish you’d done that right from the start!

    My students have also pointed out that they would like a profile page and that they would like to chat and communicate among themselves. However, I am concerned the latter would turn Edmoso into Facebook, thus limiting its usefulness as far as I’m concerned.

    I have found Edmodo to be very responsive to constructive criticism, perhaps that is something you could work on! ;-)

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

    Dear E’W’W

    Thank you so much for clarifying your position. I wish you’d done that right from the start!

    My students have also pointed out that they would like a profile page and that they would like to chat and communicate among themselves. However, I am concerned the latter would turn Edmoso into Facebook, thus limiting its usefulness as far as I’m concerned.

    I have found Edmodo to be very responsive to constructive criticism, perhaps that is something you could work on! ;-)

  • http://www.kingsschoolely.co.uk/ Nigel

    I must just say that my pupils really enjoy using Edmodo. They do not want it to be another FaceBook. They want the two to be separate. I monitor it so that it is used purely for educational purposes. I can set lesson plans, review students’ files, answer their questions, etc. I was even able to do this from my BlackBerry whilst travelling to London on a school trip (not reviewing files, of course). It has been a real boon to our ICT experience in this school and I am hoping that more teachers wil take it on board. I am sure there are things that can be improved, but what a magnificent start!

  • http://www.kingsschoolely.co.uk Nigel

    I must just say that my pupils really enjoy using Edmodo. They do not want it to be another FaceBook. They want the two to be separate. I monitor it so that it is used purely for educational purposes. I can set lesson plans, review students’ files, answer their questions, etc. I was even able to do this from my BlackBerry whilst travelling to London on a school trip (not reviewing files, of course). It has been a real boon to our ICT experience in this school and I am hoping that more teachers wil take it on board. I am sure there are things that can be improved, but what a magnificent start!

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  • Patricia

    I’ve been using Edmodo for the last 8 months and have nothing to complain about. I haven’t specifically asked my students what they think about it, though. I’ll do it right away. I’ll come back later to share their opinions. Thanks for sharing your students’.

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