Edmodo

Edmodo provides teachers and students a secure place to connect and collaborate, share content and educational applications, and access homework, grades, class discussions and notifications. Our goal is to help educators harness the power of social media to customize the classroom for each and every learner.

Edmodo promotes anytime, anyplace learning. Functionally, it allows teachers to post messages, discuss classroom topics, assign and grade classwork, share content and materials, and network and exchange ideas with their peers – but in reality, it is so much more.

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About Cumberland County Schools and EDMODO:
From http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2012/08/02/1191290?sac=fo.local

Students in Martina Graham’s eighth-grade English class at Anne Chesnutt Middle School recently had a discussion about homelessness without saying a word.

The debate was on Edmodo, a social media network that Cumberland County schools started using in November. The site is similar to Facebook, but teachers can moderate everything that happens, said Kacey Sensenich, instructional technology coordinator for the school system.

“It’s a safe social network for our students,” she said.

At Anne Chesnutt, which is a year-round school, Graham told her students to make five comments expressing their opinions about the homeless. The discussion was projected onto a screen.

“We are not on Facebook, and we are not on Twitter,” she said. “I expect you to use your academic grammar.”

The students have to correct any errors they make, Graham said.

“If you don’t want a lot of work later, you should get it right now,” she said.

The discussion included questions about whether homeless people are lazy and why they don’t get a job. Students talked about whether some homeless people might like the lifestyle while others might not have the skills needed to get a job.

When a student made a comment in all lowercase letters, Graham joined in.

“Capitalization, sir,” she said.

Toward the end of class, Graham told students to make a closing argument. Just before the bell sounded, she told them that if they had not finished, they should complete the work from their home computers.

KiTasjia Wilkerson, a student in Graham’s class, said the discussion was “really neat.”

“You actually get to sit there and see what everybody thinks,” she said. “You can express your opinion without talking.”

Another student, Andrew Heidenreich, said he liked participating in the conversation. He said Edmodo can be helpful to students in other ways.

“When you get home and don’t know what the homework is, you can ask a fellow student,” he said.

Graham said the students had talked about homelessness in previous classes. She said she likes using Edmodo.

“I’m an advocate for using it because it’s helping them to utilize the 21st Century skills they need to be successful,” she said.

Graham said she posts lessons on the network and asks students to take notes. She also posts videos for them to watch.

“It’s very user-friendly,” she said.

Edmodo helps students think and put together ideas, Graham said. The social network has been especially helpful for some students who are usually shy, she said.

The students seem more motivated while using Edmodo, Graham said. The school started using the network at the beginning of last school year before the county adopted it, she said.   “I think it’s just speaking their language,” she said.

Shonette Simmons uses Edmodo while teaching her math class at Anne Chesnutt. When students ask questions on Edmodo, the others can answer, she said.

“They will help each other,” Simmons said. “They get feedback, not only from me, but from their peers as well.”

Simmons uses polls that include questions about whether students understand a topic. She encourages students to be honest when they answer.

Sensenich said schools make sure that students who don’t have Internet access at home have time to use computers at school.

Parents also can be involved with Edmodo, she said. Parents get individual codes that allow them to see the interaction their children have on the network.

“It allows parents to be as involved with the teachers as they want to be,” she said.

School officials considered using other social networks or websites, but they were not as safe as Edmodo, where every post is retrievable, Sensenich said. The network’s research team can tell school officials where information was sent from and who logged in to send it, she said.

Edmodo allows teachers to put students in “read only” mode if they use the network inappropriately, Sensenich said. Students don’t like it.

“They freak out because they’ve lost that communication that they want to be a part of,” she said.

Teachers also use Edmodo to connect with other teachers, Sensenich said. They can join groups of Cumberland County teachers or ones with teachers in their subject area from all over the world.

Sensenich said Edmodo officials have told her that more than 4,000 teachers and more than 25,000 students in the county are registered users.

“It’s been a huge success,” she said. “It’s taken on a life of its own because of our teachers.”