Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Purpose of Edmodo

Last week I wrote an overview of web tools I am using with students because I wanted to give readers a list of things I'm trying with students using laptop computers on a regular basis in a fourth grade classroom.  The whole process is a learning curve for me as a classroom teacher because I am trying to balance and integrate different parts of curriculum, organize multiple content areas, and adjust to a spectrum of student abilities.  (Prior knowledge, previous experiences, academic ability, and tech skill, to name a few).  But in this post I really want to focus on one tool that is helping mess everything together: Edmodo.

As a teacher, this social learning network is a convenient way for me to share important information, notes, links, and other online media directly with students.  It offers another form of communication from teacher to students but also students to students.  It's a great discussion platform for topics we cover in class; both for ideas we don't get to spend enough time discussing and ones we want to explore more deeply.  Edmodo is set up to allow students a unique way to participate in discussions, one that focuses on their voice and words.  It allows them to read other children's thoughts and enrich their own ideas or understandings about an issue in a way that doesn't always happen in a traditional classroom discussion. 

Another benefit of Edmodo is that it helps children practice grammar (and typing) skills and focus on their audience.  When a child posts on a discussion, they learn quickly that their audience is reading and analyzing their comments without physically looking at them; as opposed to the traditional face-to-face classroom exchanges.  In some cases, students are more receptive to written text than verbal cues because they are focused on words and thought, not face and person.   

For now, I am expecting students to learn how to use Edmodo as a discussion tool for exchanging ideas(with an additional emphasis on typing, writing, and grammar practice). It is also a great platform to teach children how to use web tools, appropriate internet use, and communicate effectively.  As the school year evolves, so will our use of this social learning network.  If you are still wondering about social media in the classroom, read thisChildren are going to learn about social media somewhere, why not in school?