So, I’ve blogged about Edmodo in the past (Early Impressions) and have continued to use it sporadically throughout the year. Today, in advance of a quiz tomorrow, I tossed out the idea of holding a study session in Edmodo this evening. That session just wrapped up a few minutes ago, but I thought I would share a few thoughts on that, and Edmodo in general after using it for half a school year.
- Tonight I had about 12 of my 100 students log in for an hour to discuss blood types before tomorrow’s quiz. Another student logged in an hour early looking for questions, but didn’t participate in the actual session. Not bad for a session that was only announced in class today, for something we’d never done before. The kids that joined us were at many different levels of understanding on the topic for tomorrow’s quiz. Some had it down completely and were helping me check other’s responses, while others needed reassurance on every answer they gave.
- The layout of Edmodo (Twitter-style) made the study session a bit difficult to manage. Lots of kids posting answers and questions at the same time made it hard to follow. This got better when the kids began to answer each others questions. I think those of us who have been on Twitter a while recognize that sometimes it’s a forum that moves a bit faster than one person can follow.
- Document Viewer wasn’t working tonight. Jeff O’Hara, Edmodo’s developer, explained to me that the Document Viewer is being moved to it’s own server as it’s very resource intensive. I was able to work around the issue by creating image files of the question sets we were using for the review and posting those.
- The kids were posting links to more information. Someone was out searching Google during the session and posting links to more information on Blood Types, charts that were helpful for understanding transfusions, and several other interesting links. This is a perfect use of Edmodo as a learning forum. The kids were out on the Internet working as a filter for academic content to help each other out. PERFECT!
- Exciting Development: shortly before the session, I ran across a RT of something @josepicardo sent out about Edmodo Chalk. This is one of the more exciting developments announced by the Edmodo team. Since the Etherpad source code was open-sourced by Google, Edmodo has created a way to incorporate Etherpad’s functionality into Edmodo. As soon as Chalk is out of beta-testing, teachers will be able to create a Chalk, a multi-user, real-time, collaborative document. Each user will have their edits highlighted in a color to identify who made them. There is also a chat feature so that users can chat while working on their document. This is going to be HUGE for me in the future and I’m very excited about the possibility.
Overall, Edmodo is a product that keeps getting better and better. If you’re not on board yet, there is no better time than now to get your feet wet using Edmodo.