23 February 2013

Go Mobile: Edmodo

Edmodo is a tool I use with my learners, as discussed in my blog about COMMUNICATION. None of my learners had used it before, and neither had I, although my PBLU course is run through it so I know what it is like to be a learner; I know it from the 'other side'.

Immediately upon signing up, my learners became highly active and were engaging with each other during and outside class times. It is a great way to communicate immediately with a group, it allows all members the opportunity to respond to each others' questions; it allows them to be able to help each other even if I have not had a chance to respond. Without it, the amount of emails flying back and forth would have become impractical for most learners who were not yet used to being online for educational purposes.

Using the 'small groups' setting, I also set up team groups within the main group, so learners within teams could send each other messages too. Edmodo allows us to add important information and reminders, as well as links to assignments, videos or documents; create polls about teachable moments or questions raised in class needing answers from all team members, plus keep track of progress and award badges for good effort, collaboration, sharing etc. All in all, it became a great collaborative communication tool; the learners love to use it and it is certainly one I will keep in my toolkit for future projects because it allowed us to lay the foundations for a successful learning network ,where learners could rely on each other - an essential component for the success of the communication and therefore the project.

What is also great about Edmodo, is that is has an app. This means that learners have the opportunity to be switched on all the time; they are able to engage wherever they are, they are able to respond and post pictures wherever they are taking learning beyond the classroom - flattening walls. It means I can also be connected to them all the time and get notifications as soon as learners post; I can also grade and comment and respond on my morning commute - a prefect way to make sure my time is productive.

I have found that Edmodo is a great way to keep on top of email traffic and is both a synchronous and asynchronous tool that allows us to keep email in-boxes manageable. It is easy, it is free and it means teachers can be part of it, as well as parents. Once we go global, it could potentially mean that there is someone there 24 hours a day to offer support and guidance when needed.

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