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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.