What is this, an advertising blog? Sorry for the blatant ed- promotions tonight, just all kinds of great stuff to see and share! I was able to wrangle an opportunity to view edmodo (alpha) tonight (due to my wonderful disposition, I’m sure……..or Jeff O’Hara got annoyed that I was so blatantly promoting @edublogs, teehee – you can follow @edmodo, too) and was pretty impressed with how professional the site is and the basic premise. I’m not going to tout this as the next-greatest thing, because that’s honestly up to users. Things become hits because they work, simple as that. As no one is actually using edmodo yet, it’s difficult to predict the popularity/adoption. Personally, I can’t wait to try this out and see how others are using it, I’m always up for new things I won’t be able to use it in the classroom right now due to my insane schedule and position in the district, but if I had a full-time teaching position with full-time students, I’d be chomping at the bit to figure out how best to take advantage of it. That’s the key: teachers need to get in, play around, and figure out how it works with their classroom structure, technology access, and curriculum.
Wait, I didn’t actually tell you what Edmodo is! Well, it’s been spun as “Twitter in the Classroom” on Tech Crunch but it’s just so much more than that (and attaching Twitter to it may be a downside for some who don’t embrace the wonderful world of tweets). I think to label it a microblogging tool is a little simplistic and really diminishes the potential educational uses. From exploring, I’d say it’s a combination of pownce, facebook, moodle and some other things I probably don’t even know about. Some may cringe that I compare it to moodle, but I’m currently deep into moodle right now and the blocks are somewhat similar, as is the concept of posting assignments. The messaging seems rather like pownce to me, much more so than Twitter. The design is a little Facebook-ish at first glance.
The screencast teaser (PLEASE go check it out, I had issues embedding it here) gives a taste of what it looks like and highlights some of the features.
Still confused? Sign up for the beta and for now, see what others are saying:
Edmodo About Page says “Edmodo is a brand new company creating free online tools for the education community. The first tool we are building is a communications tool for Schools, Teachers, Students, and parents for use in the classroom.”
Who is edmodo? (edmodo About page)
“Currently edmodo is owned, operated, & funded by Jeff O’Hara & Nic Borg. Jeff is a network administrator/webmaster for Community Unit School District 200 in Wheaton, Illinois. He also blogs at http://blog.zemote.com. Nic is the webmaster/web developer for Kaneland Community Unit School District 302 in Maple Park, Illinois.”
Matt Long on Classroom 2.0 says (also see this discussion for Jeff O’Hara’s replies):
“So Jeff was nice enough to let me demo the tool this afternoon for about 20 minutes. Cool stuff. Here is a brief writeup.
W/ Edmondo you can create groups (classes). Each one is color coded which is nice and pleasant to view. Once these are created you send out an email to your student that tells them to either add their current account as a student in the “course” or create an account and then add themselves.
As an instructor or student you see the courses you have setup on Edmodo. You can add a note file,link,assignment or alert. The assignments and alerts are date sensitive and pop up as they get closer. As you add one of the above then decide what course you want that info to flow into. As a user you can view all courses at once or view one at time. You can also reply to any information added. You also have a “Locker” for saving interesting posts. You can tag the posts and search using the tags.
Besides classes you can create groups. Jeff, can you explain this area more? Not sure about this part of the tool.
So, if you use Twitter it would be like having a separate area to Tweet friends,family or co-workers. You would then have the ability to join Tweet Groups of common interest.
Cool stuff. Looking to use this to support incoming freshman now instead of Twitter if launch is successful. The cool thing is the startup for a tool like this ( and Twitter ) is a couple of minutes. I figured out how to use it in 3-4 minutes.
It would be nice to be able to customize the color scheme. Of course, I’m looking at this from a branding perspective of a university. I don’t think that’s possible.
I would also like the PM other users. I did not see this feature.
Lastly, the navigation on the left could be a bit more obvious. I see Classes, Activities and Groups but those headings don’t really stand out to me. Overall, the tool worked well. I was pleased.”
“Built on PHP and MySQL Edmodo enables users to create groups and share files, links, embedded videos and images along with alerts, assignments and events. Alerts enable user to set quick notices over email and eventually SMS text message.”
And how about this, The National School Board Association is talking about it as well! Their post summarizes Edmodo like this:
“BoardBuzz sees in Edmodo what could be a new trend. As a recent commenter predicted, more and more K-12 infrastructure and classroom management tools will look to web-based solutions. BoardBuzz hasn’t seen Edmodo in action, but we think it might be another great addition to the education community’s library of Web 2.0 tools.”
I asked Jeff a few questions (via Twitter dm) and here are his responses/explanations:
“parents feature will not be implemented in the first release, still working out those details……after a teacher signs up, and creates her classes, a signup code will be generated…..the teacher would then give the signup code to the student to create a login, the student would then automatically be assigned to that class…..during the signup process for the student we will ask the user if they have an edmodo account already, if so, their account would then be associated with a new class……a student will not be required to have an e-mail address, but can provide one if they want to”
Jeff credits his wife for thinking of the no-email requirement! Did you catch that? NO STUDENT EMAIL ADDRESS REQUIRED!!! That’s what has been the sticking point for so many educators on so many of these tools. Thank you edmodo for thinking of this – it is HUGE.
Yet again, here’s the screencast teaser , check it out, sign up for the beta, and take a chance on something new. The world of education is certainly big enough and innovative enough to see if edmodo is the tool we’ve all been waiting for……….and please, we truly don’t need another discussion right now (or at least right here) about educators blindly embracing technology, it’s been said elsewhere. New things come around for a reason, it’s up to the community to decide what works.