If a teacher had designed Twitter

It would have looked like Edmodo. I just discovered Edmodo yesterday, somewhat ironically via Twitter.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

It would have looked like Edmodo. I just discovered Edmodo yesterday, somewhat ironically via Twitter. Like Twitter, it's a microblogging site, but it builds in significant additional functionality to support classroom interactions. Note to any student information systems vendors looking to build social media functionality into your products (and I know you're out there): Look at Edmodo.

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."

The interface includes, most importantly, a group function. When you create an account, you designate yourself as a teacher or student. Teachers can create groups that students join when they create their accounts (students can join multiple groups and teachers can create and/or join multiple groups); when a group is created, the site generates a group code that must be entered to join. Then, messages, files, links, and assignments can be sent to whole groups.

Yes, you heard me, you can send out assignments. It gets better, though. The assignments can have due dates and file attachments; similarly, students can either complete the assignment by replying or can upload a file. Teachers can provide immediate feedback and scoring.

Edmodo also has built-in calendaring showing assignments that the teacher creates and students can view all of their graded assignments. While the grading feature adds one more layer or work for teachers since Edmodo doesn't currently interact with any SIS or online gradebooks, the feedback mechanism and incredible ease of use makes receiving assignments electronically and sending students a quick grade and comment very quick.

Edmodo, by its very nature, does a great job of isolating classroom activity from the rest of the world's noise. We can do that with hash tags in Twitter, but Edmodo is relatively private, quiet, and includes enough additional features to make me recommend it over Twitter in the classroom any day. This is why Twitter has so piqued my interest since I started using it: where can microblogging technologies take us in education? For starters, they can take us to Edmodo.

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