Teacher talk: Social networking for K-12 students
I've recently been introduced to Edmodo, a social networking site for K-12 students and teachers that's similar to Facebook or Twitter. It's amazing how this resource can enhance the learning process. While students think they're just playing around on a social media site, they can actually keep up-to-date with their classes and communicate with classmates and instructors.
So, what's in it for students?
Students have now become equipped with a tool that is relevant to their life. They can log on to the site and view the teacher's calendar of assignments and submit their work directly online. Classmates also have the ability to communicate with each other and continue classroom discussions. Additionally, Edmodo has an appealing look and offers a mobile app that can be downloaded onto students' phones, allowing them to stay connected to their classrooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week (if they wish!). It also means that students no longer need to struggle through homework questions, as they have the capability to ask their teacher or peers online. Sometimes they can receive answers in a matter of seconds. And from a teacher's perspective, it's advantageous because students no longer have the excuse of not knowing when upcoming assignments are due.
That said, Edmodo allows teachers to stay connected to their students without needing to pass out their personal phone numbers. It offers a service similar to a free classroom website, but has many other tools available. Teachers can upload assignments to their calendar and also add links to websites that they'd like their students to view without having to use class time. Additionally, teachers can post polls that check for student understanding and gauge progress on ongoing assignments and projects.
My personal experience with Edmodo
I recently completed courses that required the use of Edmodo. The instructor would post reading assignments, quizzes, links to videos, and discussion questions on a weekly basis. I had the ability to stay connected to the class without having to shuffle around an overwhelming number of papers. I didn't even have to keep a list of classmate phone numbers as I could log on and send classmates messages instantly.
My eighth-grade son was also introduced to Edmodo this past school year. He aptly described it as: "It's Facebook for kids, but with rules." He and his peers understand that the site is for educational purposes and that consequences do exist for not adhering to the rules set forth by the team of teachers at his school. I'm excited to begin my journey using Edmodo with my students this upcoming school year. I'm positive that it will enrich my students' educational experience and introduce them to another 21st-century learning practice.
About the Author:
Christi Wilson is a credentialed teacher of highly-gifted students in Northern Nevada. She has 11 years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in education leadership, and has even taught K-12 education online. A mother of three busy boys, she knows how important it is to keep students engaged in the classroom and interested in a lifetime of learning.