To be honest, I didn’t know which webpage or category to submit this post on – technology seems to fit quite nicely onto any of them on the T&L website. Technology can inspire and motivate, it can enhance personalised learning, aid assessment, etc. I settled on the Communication page because that is a key area where technology can have a truly major impact.
For those of you who have used VLEs in the past, I’d like to introduce you to the merits of Edmodo.com as a Teaching and Learning tool. Yes, it is similar in nature to Moodle (it can store resources, you can set quizzes, etc.). However, Edmodo has a great user interface (it looks like Facebook) that students really seem to like. If they approve of its design and how they interact with a product, the students will be more inclined to use it – “if you build it, they will come…”.
As well as allowing them to communicate with the teacher, Edmodo also allows students to interact with each other. They are able to post public messages and this is a useful tool for group collaboration/evaluation work. Homework can be set in digital format – as a series of different quizzes and allows you to view a single students markbook simply by clicking on their name. Results are stored in their individual progress record and outstanding work can be rewarded with a digital badge (you can even make your own custom ones for your subject). Those students who haven’t “turned in” a quiz or assignment can be viewed on a list. Deadlines can be given and late submissions are also highlighted.
The students can add a photo to their profile – helping you to quickly identify who is who (handy if you have lots of classes). As the teacher, you can post messages, set assignments or just share resources between groups. Perhaps, more importantly, students can ask each other questions or send a message to the teacher (all monitored). Teachers control each class and can re-set passwords and/or delete student accounts when needed. Another interesting feature is that you can connect with other teachers in your academic field – not just within DESC. Edmodo is a global, educational community where you can share ideas, resources and ask opinions. That can be a very valuable resource to tap into. Add to this the growing marketplace of free educational apps that work seamlessly with the software and Edmodo really does present you with a wonderful teaching and learning tool.
Finally, Edmodo offers you and the students greater flexibility when it comes to HOW they can communicate. Edmodo is available online, via your internet browser, and as an app that can be downloaded from the App store (also free of charge). The app is obviously available to both students and teachers – thereby offering a range of device platforms (eg: iPad) upon which it can be viewed. In other words, our DESC digital citizens can access Edmodo (and homework, revision files, teacher messages, etc.) anywhere as long as they have a smart device. It turns teaching and learning into a seamless activity that can take place in school, at home and beyond.