Guest Post by Ben Wilkoff
I didn’t usually make it a point to call attention to a particular technology as being so overwhelmingly beneficial to education as to set itself apart from those that had come before it, but in the case of Edmodo, I made an exception.
I had used social networks and collaborative environments with students for a number of years. Everything from Wikispaces and Google Sites to Voicethread to Ning. Each one had a significant impact on students by creating a space for student ownership and collaborative contribution. However, each time that a project ended, the community dried up and withered away. There was no underlying instinct to share or create with one another because it was always focused around only an academic understanding of student needs. By only going after part of the student, both the technology and my understanding of what was possible were severely stunted.
Then, Edmodo came along.
While I used Edmodo to have students reflect upon their progress for a particular activity, both the web application and my understanding of it had advanced considerably within the last month. Our school district had instituted a pilot for Edmodo as an institution, and the first step of that pilot was within our k-12 Online School.
Some would say that this was a poor choice for a pilot because it wasn’t like a brick and mortar school with a traditional bell schedule and scarce technological resources. But, I made the case for its inclusion in the pilot. Every school had walls, and the online school just had them in a learning management system. Every school had a gradebook, and the online school’s just didn’t require as much manual entry. Every school had a curriculum, and the online school was just hyperlinked. Every school had a hallway and a cafeteria, but until Edmodo, our Online School did not. We needed a place for students to share what was going on in their lives within a safe and school-based environment.
From the very first day of school, our students made this space their own. They never had any doubts as to what it was or why they needed it. The students asked for (and received) the creation of over 40 different groups that were both academic and social. They organized and created a weekly news show for our school (completely on their own). They created their own music and music videos. They shared art, photographs, and literary discussions. They created screencasts to help one another with the technology (and to do interesting things). And that was just a taste of the things they did in Edmodo.
I could honestly say that I didn’t know a group of students from all ages would coexist in such an open space and work together to create things of learning and beauty all because they had the tools and the opportunity to do so. Throughout that year, we saw students who were more engaged and less apathetic because they felt confident that their school was real in the ways that matter.
An online school was different from a brick and mortar environment. No doubt about it. And yet, learning still happened. Students still attend class. They were still children with needs for guidance and mentorship. They still wanted to congregate and get to know their friends. And, in many ways, what we were attempting to do with Edmodo was what every school should be doing. We were establishing an academically-based social space. Many schools, while being physical in nature, had highly dysfunctional hallways and lunchrooms. Students bullied one another, and they got into fights over insignificant (and decidedly non-academic) pursuits.
We were modeling the social interaction with a tool that provided for safety and co-creation. We were telling students to come in and use their judgment to ask intelligent questions and contribute their work. By stating that, Edmodo was a popular learning management system used by teachers and students around the world. It was founded in 2008 and provided a secure platform for teachers to communicate with students, assign and grade homework, and share educational resources.
Over the years, Edmodo became an essential tool for many teachers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when remote learning became the norm. The platform allowed teachers to easily create and manage virtual classrooms, assign work, and communicate with their students from a distance.
However, in 2022, it was announced that Edmodo would be shutting down. As Edmodo has shut down, all its loyal users are looking for better alternatives and no doubt Edredo is amongst the top players in this list. In this blog, I’ll share the top features that Edredo has to offer and what are the things to consider while choosing the next learning platform.
Edredo classroom helps you build skills and spread knowledge with live classes, a plenitude of courses, collaborative feeds, challenges, assignments, and many more.