November 27, 2014

Edmodo Gets an Upgrade

From

 

Edmodo’s new home page

This story was updated to include the new home page image above

Social learning platform Edmodo is debuting some new features, just in time for the start of school. Responding to user feedback, the company has streamlined the ability for teachers to connect and access content and revised some existing tools, including centralizing group functionality.

The new version of Edmodo will roll out to users over the next few weeks, according to a release from the San Mateo, CA-based service, a free and secure social network, which has garnered close to 10 million users since its 2008 launch.

New features include:

  • The ability to connect with other educators who are teaching the same topics.
  • Easier discovery of needed content.
  • Insights, a “Like” button feature that enables teachers to receive immediate student feedback.
  • An activity stream, which allows users to view all activity from students and connections in real time.

Additional enhancements to Groups, Planner and Progress Report:

From the release:

  • Groups: We’ve centralized group functions, putting everything that you need to create and deliver courses in one place. Now you can share folders and manage small groups, all with one click.
  • Planner: Formerly known as the Calendar, the planner allows you to see your schedule in multiple views and create task lists for yourself.
  • Progress Report: Formerly known as the Gradebook, the Progress Report houses the traditional gradebook and also allows you to track student badges.

Edmodo’s popularity has largely been a result of word of mouth, said Edmodo COO Crystal Hutter, at the International Society of Technology in Education conference in San Diego in June. And “librarians were at the heart of the initial adoption phase,” she says.

“We started using Edmodo last year with our third graders,” says Stacy Dillon, a lower school librarian, at LREI (Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School), an independent school in New York City. With the goal of getting them familiar with blogging and social networking, each child received an account and the library got involved as well, she says.

“In the library, students were asked to respond to read alouds, share poetry, and answer some reference questions on their Edmodo page,” says Dillon. “Students were encouraged and required to respond to each other.  We talked about appropriate responses, digital citizenship and ‘text talk’.” This year, they’ll be expanding the use of the platform in the library, she says.

In an SLJ survey conducted this spring, free Web resources were found to be the top technology used by school librarians. Of those resources, Edmodo was among the most frequently cited by survey respondents, following Glogster, Animoto, Prezi, Google docs, and Wordle.

Other library uses of Edmodo? According to SLJ survey respondents: having students post within the closed social network from the point of view of the characters in the novels that they’re reading; blogging with middle school students about their self-selected reading; and connecting with educators and students inside and outside the district and for sharing resources within curricular areas.

Full results of SLJ‘s tech survey will be covered in an upcoming issue.

 

Edmodo library

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Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka (kishizuka@mediasourceinc.com, @kishizuka on Twitter) is Executive Editor of School Library Journal.

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