17 October 2009

Adventures in Edmodo

A little over a week ago I got my geography classes on Edmodo. I've had an account for some time, but haven't used it. I'm not really sure why that is, but I finally reached a point where I needed a back-channel in class and an EASY way for my freshmen to communicate with each other about their work. I also needed a tool that students can use from school if necessary.

Once again I have learned that the old saying "you know what they say about assuming things...it makes an a** out of you and me" is true. Therefore, in order to avoid my mistakes, I offer these suggestions to you.

  1. Do not assume that your students are tech-savvy enough to sign up on their own. Some kids had a bear of a time because they didn't understand the purpose of the invite code nor did they understand the naming convention I set up for our classes. Explain those fully.
  2. Explain avatars ahead of time. I showed students my picture and showed them the avatars available on Edmodo (including one I had selected for my sample student), but they are still posting photos of athletes, actresses and logos for products they enjoy. Not good.
  3. Explain, with examples, professional workspace versus place to hang out with friends. I explained it, but had no examples. We've had on-the-spot discussions about the usefulness in moving learning forward of discussing favorite foods or the best basketball player. We've also had on-the-spot discussions about using words to be supportive rather than to demean.
While these are significant issues, they are not stopping students from using Edmodo as a space to enhance their learning. That, however, is for another time.