In a digital world where we can easily "find an app for that" to help solve many problems, rarely do teachers have a one stop shopping place for all their classroom digital needs. There are many individual tools that can aid a teacher in retrieving student's digital work, polling/quizzing students or assigning work, but each of these tools usually requires a separate account. However, there is one, free, Web 2.0 app that brings everything together that you need for your classroom, including a social learning environment. The app that does all of this is called Edmodo. Here are just a few features that make Edmodo so great for teachers and students:
- A place to assign and turn in work: The teacher can attach any file they may need for an assignment (rubric, worksheet, etc.) and students can upload any file to turn in their work. Links and embed codes can also be used to publish and share work easily.
- A calendar to help students keep up with important dates: Assignment due dates, dates you'll be out, holidays, classroom birthdays or anything you can think of to post. Studentscan also add their own personal notes to dates that only they can see. The notes the students add to the calendar are not published to the class.
- A digital library that will replace a student's flash drive: They can upload files into their "digital backpack" and download them when on any computer. The teacher can add necessary files to their library as well.
- A place to post messages--urgent or not: Only teachers and students can interact with one another, student to student messages are not allowed. This feature is the most powerful and it's what makes Edmodo a "social LEARNING network." This feature looks and works a lot like a "wall" on Facebook.
- A parent connection: every student is assigned a parent code so that parents can connect with the teacher on Edmodo, check grades and see posts to the class by the teacher and their child.
- Groups: Teachers can create groups for classes, parents, study groups or connecting with distant classrooms. This feature keeps students safe and contains content only specific to certain groups. When students sign up for an account they don't need an email address, just the group code to join groups set up by their teachers.
I love Edmodo. Be sure to read more on Richard's blog if you are interested in how best to use Edmodo in your classroom.