Thursday, December 5, 2013

Edmodo is not Facebook!

I have been thinking a lot lately about Edmodo and how it can be used in education. Edmodo has commonly been thought of as Facebook for education. But to me Edmodo is not Facebook! It's a learning platform that happens to look like a social platform. It has so much potential in the classroom! I hope that more teachers at my school will begin to use it in a variety of ways with their students.

The 5th grade classes have been working on opinion pieces (W.5.1). I have decided to write my own opinion piece to explain why Edmodo is not Facebook. 5th graders, leave feedback below if I've not written my essay correctly!

Edmodo is not Facebook!

Edmodo is a social learning platform for schools. It allows teachers and students to connect and collaborate on learning. CCSD has been recognized as one of the stand out districts in the nation for the number of teachers and students who are connecting, sharing resources, and learning. Although Edmodo's look and feel is similar to Facebook, in my opinion there is much more to it. I believe that Edmodo is more than just a communication tool.

Edmodo provides a way for students to improve their writing skills. Two of the writing standards in the CCSS are W.x.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach and W.x.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others. These standards can be met by using Edmodo. Students can post a writing sample as simple as a sentence or as long as an essay. Other students can then post comments to ask questions, clarify meaning, and offer suggestions for improvement. Even second graders are supposed to "use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers." What better way to do this than by using a safe environment like Edmodo? It is so flexible it can be used in a variety of subjects and grade levels and is widely used in schools throughout the country.

Since Edmodo can be used so easily, many teachers in middle and high school use it for their whole class. They can post quizzes, polls, assignments, and even keep a grade book on it. Teachers in any subject can use it to extend learning. Students in the upper elementary grades need to be exposed to Edmodo so that when they enter middle school they are already familiar with it, regardless of the classes in which they enroll. They will be able to use it to collaborate with other students and to complete work assigned by their teachers. If they don't learn how to use it in elementary school, it will be one more thing they have to learn before they can get to the actual classwork. Teachers love to use Edmodo not just for the ease of use and flexibility, but also because they can control who has access to their content.

Edmodo is the perfect social learning platform for schools because it's a safe environment. When using Facebook you have to be careful of your settings so that everything you post cannot be read by just anyone. Posts that students publish on Edmodo can only be read by other members of their class. Not even other members of the school can read them. Strangers or other individuals outside of the class cannot communicate with the students directly or indirectly. Teachers also have the option of moderating posts. This makes is safe for students. They don't have to worry about strangers reading their posts or interacting with them. Parents can also have Edmodo accounts that let them view direct posts from their kids.

Edmodo is not Facebook because there is so much more that it can do. It is a way for students to collaborate with each other, to prepare students for work in middle school, and is a safe way for students to communicate with each other.

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