Harnessing the Power of Edmodo, a Learning Management System

Edmodo can be a valuable learn tool especially in a one-to-one classroom using student iPads or laptops.

This year we have started to formally use a learning management system (LMS) like Edmodo in my school, The Frisch School. Our English and History teachers have been the first to adapt their curriculum to this powerful LMS. They report that Edmodo streamlines classroom workflow, support scooperative and project based learning, and enhances learning with interactive real-time assessments.

Edmodo as an Organizational Tool

One English teacher at my school, Mrs. Meryl Feldblum, has found Edmodo to be invaluable as an organizational tool both for her and her students. She recently wrote to me, " Edmodo is a great organizational tool. I post all of my assignments and handouts on Edmodo. My students always have these items at their fingertips. In addition, I have all of my students hand in their work via Edmodo. As an English teacher I assign a lot of papers. Using Edmodo as a “collection tool” means I do not have to carry papers with me, and it means that the e-papers are organized by assignment and class. I can glance at the class list, see who handed an assignment in, who did not, and whether or not they handed the assignment in on time.” Note that Edmodo can easily be synced with our a school Google Drive which makes sharing assignments using Edmodo even more powerful.

Similarly, a history teacher has used Edmodo to deliver all classroom handouts to her 9th grade students who all have iPads as a part of our one-to-one iPad program. She finds that students feel very comfortable working with these digital documents which they can then turn back to her also using Edmodo. This is especially valuable during activities where using pen and paper is not an easy option. For example, when giving out trigger questions for students to focus on while watching a video clip, in the past students could not easily follow these questions in the darkened classroom while the movie was playing. Now they can all watch the video and focus on their questions on illuminated iPad screens.

Supporting Cooperative and Project Based Learning

Mrs. Feldblum continues, "Edmodo is also a great way to share information. For some assignments, I have the students hand in their work to me, and no one else can see it. Other assignments I have the students post to the Edmodo wall, allowing the entire class to see their work. For instance, my Juniors are working on an intensive writing unit. I first posted a number of articles and essays to Edmodo. The students read the articles and we then discussed what techniques made a strong introductory paragraph. The students broke up into groups. They researched, based on their interests, articles and essays that also utilized these techniques. The students then posted the examples they found to the Edmodo wall. The class then had a large bank of examples to refer to for the next step: writing their own introductory paragraphs.” Another history teacher has utilized Edmodo in similar ways to support jigsaw activities where each group researches different part of a greater topic based on sources on their Edmodo timeline and then shares with the class.

Another American history teacher is currently in the midst of a very ambitious project with all 3 of her 10th grade history classes using Edmodo. She is having the students decide the 5th and 6th presidents to put on Mount Rushmore. To facilitate research and sharing both within one class and between classes, this teacher created one Edmodo group for all 3 of her classes. She posted the assignment together with 10 supporting documents and links in this class. She then created smaller groups for each president that students are researching. Only students researching a specific president are in a small group. For example, there can be 8 students in her three classes in the Ronald Reagan group or the John F. Kennedy group etc. Students are required throughout their research to post links, files, and ideas about their president in this smaller Edmodo group. This encourages sharing and collaboration between students in different classes who are all on the same online space. This is very similar to how we have used the Frisch wiki in the past although Edmodo is more use friendly as a learning management system than the wiki since it has a timeline view and the abilities to comment and/or rate anything posted. It is almost like Facebook, only an academic version, which supports submitting assignments as well as sharing files and links. As I am writing this post, I am getting literally dozens of updates from students working on Betty’s history project over the weekend as they share information about their various presidents. Its really very cool!

Enhancing learning with real-time interactive assessments

This is perhaps the highest order use for Edmodo as it cannot be easily done on any other integrated platform so we are just beginning to utilize this. For example, a 9th grade English teacher has used Edmodo for interactive polling while learning Oedipus Rex. She asked students to respond to the following poll question "What sin, if any, is Oedipus guilty of? After responding to the poll question, students are also able to reply with a comment to make an online discussion board about why they chose the answer they chose. This tool is much better than similar polling using Google Forms or Poll Everywhere for example since each student is only allowed to vote once while their answers still remain anonymous.

Edmodo also has a very powerful quiz creator which lets you create quizzes in various formats including multiple choice, matching, fill in the blank, true or false, and short answer. Edmodo lets you randomize quiz questions, show students answers after they have finished (if you prefer, otherwise you don’t have to), and send grades back to the students. You can even attached links or videos to the entire quiz or to each question. I have used this to great effect in my Navi class. I have posted Flipped Classroom videos that I created using Explain Everything a wonderful iPad app that I LOVE. Students then watch the video and submit the quiz all on Edmodo. You can even set a time limit for how long students have to take the quiz.

One note that I learned the HARD way. The Edmodo quizzing tool ONLY works on the web app. It does not work on the iPad or iPhone apps. So if you assign a quiz make sure to remind students to access it by logging into Edmodo.com, either on their laptop or a mobile device like their iPad.

Want to get started with Edmodo? Here is a link to handy guide created by a school district: Edmodo Teacher Guide.

Many features that I have described above concerning Edmodo are also true for many other Learning Management Systems. While there are other features that a different LMS might offer that Edmodo does not. So for those of you who use another LMS like Schoology or Haiku Learning, please share your favorite features in the comments to this posting.