A while ago I posted here ("If a teacher had designed Twitter") about a really slick tool called Edmodo. Essentially, Edmodo is a Twitter-like microblogging platform with grouping, calendaring, and assignment functionality built in. As I wrote back in April,
Edmodo is a piece of cake for anyone who has used Twitter before; better yet, it dispenses with the @, d, and # nomenclature since it was designed to be used on the web and not mobile phones. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not dumping Twitter for Edmodo. Edmodo is certainly purpose-built for educators: as the site advertises, “Edmodo is a private communication platform built for teachers and students.”
That said, the company just released Version 3.0 of the web application last week and added some really significant new features. While a few of the features are UI tweaks (e.g., auto-refreshing status updates and inline editing of posts and replies), others are performance improvements (a new caching architecture makes "Speed when clicking items...super fast"), and others still are more drastic. As the Edmodo blog notes,
[There is a new] Spotlight feature – when someone replies to one of your posts, when you post an assignment or when a student turns in an assignment they get highlighted in the spotlight area. This should be the first thing you check when you login to Edmodo from now on.
In Twitter, it takes a client like TweetDeck to sort out the signal from the noise. Edmodo also now allows teachers to archive conversations indefinitely; these conversations can also show threading in ways that Twitter can't.
I'll be posting a full review when the school year gets up and running and more of my teachers can begin using the tool. However, for anyone who has been giving thought to starting the year with Twitter in their classrooms or needs a supplement to their student information systems or classroom content management systems, look at Edmodo 3.0 first. It's brutally simple, the interface remains clean, and the platform is safe and private.