Edmodo Early Impressions

On Friday, I had my students sign up for their Edmodo accounts.  The process was pretty seamless apart from the numerous absent students I had on Friday (not Edmodo’s fault :))  I set up 5 groups, one for each of my four classes and one for the entire team.  I posted instructions to my class blog here.  I posted the Group Code for the full team on the board and discussed the sign-up process with my students.  Since I had already set up my students usernames for Edublogs, I gave them those usernames and told them to keep it the same for Edmodo.  They signed up for the full team group and began exploring the interface.

I gave them about 10 minutes to explore. During that time, they had to add themselves to the individual class group and post a note.  Most of the notes were of the “silly” nature with the kids saying “Hi” and “This is cool”.  Several students also began updating their avatars, and a couple even signed up for alerts, assignments, and events to be sent to them via text message.  I showed them how to post a link and how to sort through the posts using the drop down menu for Assignments, Alerts, Files, and Links.

From there, the students had to access the links and view three sites to find some “factual” information.  The sites were some many of you are probably familiar with:

The students were asked to find three facts at each site, then find two other sites with additional information about each topic.  This proved to be a far too ambitious activity for the time we had.  After the signup for Edmodo and a few minutes to explore, the classes only had about 20 minutes to complete the above activity.  I extended the due date to Monday afternoon and we’ll see how many folks finish it over the weekend.

This weekend, a number of students have logged in to explore the site further.  In fact, a number of students had a conversation through the service last night, posting links, documents, and a YouTube video.  I’m a bit torn on how to handle the “social discussion” on Edmodo.  I want this to be a place primarily for academic discussions, but thus far nothing close to inappropriate has been mentioned by any students. I would love to hear if other teachers have had to squash non-academic discussions through Edmodo, or if you’ve just let them happen.

My only complaint thus far actually stemmed from an afterthought.  I quickly posted the Word Doc of the assignment as a file for the students to download and open.  I thought they could respond to the questions and submit the file to me as their assignment.  It turned out, that when they opened the file it was 23 pages long instead of 2, and 22.5 of the pages were blank.  Luckily, doing the assignment this way wasn’t my first thought, and I had already printed copies.

Overall, I’m very impressed with the Edmodo service, and am looking forward to using it further throughout the year. I would love to know if other teachers have suggestions/experiences with handling the non-academic discussions and with actually posting assignments for the students to complete.