Social Learning in the Classroom Michelle CowellMy paper was about using the social learning network tool Edmodo as the classroom rather than just in the classroom. The paper gives some background on Edmodo and discusses the layout and how it func=ons and then moves on to how I used to create my classroom environment.
F or ch ool SEdmodo is a social learning network – it was created by educators for educators -‐-‐ no adap9ng of social or business sites for educa9on use. You can operate in a secure and private environment or you can make it public. Edmodo is o=en referred to as a social network or microblogging site. But the kids called it Facebook for school.
Where did I come from?Edmodo was created in 2008 by Nic Borg and Jeﬀ O’Hara, both from districts outside of Chicago. According to the website, they are the fastest growing social network in the world. Of course these numbers sound good un=l you realize that for every 1 person who joins at least 25 other people join because they were told too. But this does say something for how quickly it is catching on in educa=on.
Edmodo is designed just like Facebook, same layout, same color scheme, everything. Groups on leR – messages in the middle – spotlight (what’s new) and sugges=ons on right – on right there are also choices for speciﬁc types of messages to view separate from the others.
You can post general notes to one or all of your groups. I The Notes haven’t found the limit on the length of these yet like I have on Facebook. Edmodo allows for direct messaging between teacher and student. These are private messages that can’t be seen by others. And there is no private messaging between students.
You can post general notes to one or all of your groups. I haven’t found the limit on the length of these yet like I have on Facebook. Edmodo allows for direct messaging between teacher andstudent. These are private messages that can’t be seen by others. And there is no private messaging between students.
Teachers have been using Edmodo for things from basic assignment turn-‐in, secure blogging, and microblogging, to conduc9ng en9re classes there like I have. I conducted my Media Literacy class through Edmodo. I had an experimental class with daily access to computers. And wanted to try something diﬀerent while also reinforcing my daily use of the computers.
I chose Edomodo because of the low learning curve, for myself and the students. Since it looks just like Facebook almost everyone is already familiar with the format. Like Facebook, there isn’t a lot of freedom to personalize your page, keeping the focus on the learning.
6th Period Log-in wqt26u wqt26 uI did have to show the students how to turn in assignments and show them how I wanted the site to be organized when it came to their pos=ngs. This wasn’t so much training them on the tool as it was training them to use the tool in this seZng. This was not only our way to communicate as a class but it was my way to stay organized.
The ﬁrst =me the students sign up for Edmodo they are asked for the group code. This is a code speciﬁc to the group or class set up by the teacher. The students enter the code, their name and if they want, their email. The email isn’t required but students can enter it and have Edmodo send them alerts when new items are entered on the page.
Teacher ControlledARer students set up their account, they are automa=cally directed to the page the matches their code. And only that code. Students can’t set up an account without a code and they can’t set up their own areas in the site. Everything is set up by the teacher.
Edmodo was my primary communica9on with the students in and out of the classroom. I’m not in the building when they have free 9me so they needed an alternate method to reach me. Next trimester I’m going to set it up so that it will send me texts when students post an alert and I’ll have them post alerts when they need assistance, then I can help them immediately (before 10 pm).
I would post our plan for the day and any resources we would be using during the lessons, videos, Powerpoints, images, etc. The students would have access to all of the informa=on if they were gone or wanted to go back and improve their understanding. When I was gone I could s=ll post the lessons for class from wherever I was. This made the subs job much easier. What are we doing today?
Students would take their notes in the reply box under that days post. This would allow the students access to everyone’s notes. I wanted public notes because diﬀerent people key in on diﬀerent things. The other beneﬁt of this is that it allowed the special educa=on students placed in my room an added advantage. They may not be able to take notes like the other students but they now had access to notes like the other students.
Some9mes students would want to con9nue discussions even though it was 9me for us to move on. In order to keep us on a schedule, students would be able to con9nue their discussions on Edmodo while we moved ahead with other informa9on. If they missed informa9on because of this, they could go back and check others notes. Hey! What about…?
I also set up small groups inside of my classes. These groups were designed for students to collaborate with others in a smaller seZng to explore speciﬁc topics, kind of like an Intro to Blogging. These smaller groups allowed students to focus on the informa=on to be shared instead focusing on how it would be shared.
I also had the students complete assignments designed for the format. One of these assignments had students working in pairs to ﬁnd literary terms to study. The students had to ﬁnd the terms and deﬁni=ons and share their lists on Edmodo. We chose the most common terms and the students were then given 5 terms to ﬁnd video examples of and share with the class.
Maybe we shouldn’t …Whenever you use a new tool in the classroom, people want to know what the drawbacks are. ORen people will focus so much on the possible drawbacks that they won’t try something new. To be honest, there were a couple of drawbacks. One day the site was down for maintenance. Another day our internet was down.
But really the one thing I would like to see changed is that under a student’s proﬁle you can see all of their posts, but you can’t see their replies to other posts. I would like to be able to see both without having to shiR back through the posts and looking at all of the replies.
My students were very excited about the class. Not only was using the computers every day a novel concept for them but they really liked the Facebook feel of the class, and they were very happy to be going paperless. An advantage I hadn’t even thought of. At one point, I did give the students the choice of going back to old school. They don’t want to go back to old school. The students are done with old school and we need to be too.