Nic Borg: Co-Founder, Edmodo (Part II)
You can check out the first half of this interview with Nic Borg here.
There’s been some talk about the importance of peer-to-peer learning. How does Edmodo handle this activity, and how do you facilitate student learning in a social web environment without losing control of the ship, so to speak — kids talking and chatting with each other, getting distracted?
We’ve really focused on mastering classroom communication, by listening to feedback from our teachers. Students only message the entire group or the teacher directly, which parallels the dynamic of the classroom. We’ve also found that students today are good digital citizens and teachers hold students to the same standards online as they do in person.
Looking outside Edmodo for just a second, I’d like to ask a really open-ended question. What do you think the web is becoming for education?
The web has become the primary learning repository for digital content. As teachers and classrooms continue to be equipped with more and more computing and display devices, digital will overtake paper and whiteboards as the primary learning communication medium.
The web is also becoming the underlying platform for the social interactions around digital content, between teachers, students, parents, etc. From these social interactions, and user engagement, we will know more about how atoms of learning content on the web are related to each other and that result in the best student performance.
And how has the web positively impacted education in the past three years?
The number of new start-ups in this area has exploded over the past few years, and has created a climate ripe for innovation. These tools are rapidly displacing the previous generation of learning management systems, and take advantage of a new wave of gadgets (smart phones, tablets, sms), and the increased fluency in social media of both students and teachers.
Do you agree with “Wired’s” statement that “The Web is Dead?” How does a company like yours react to that kind of message?
The impact of mobile computing devices is in its infancy for the classroom, and will continue to have a profound effect. At this point, mobile apps often provide a better end user experience, than a mobile web app (which runs in the mobile device’s web browser). That’s why we have released an iPhone App, and have an Android App in development.
However, “The Web is Dead,” is misleading in that no matter what device, app or browser is being used to access web resident content, we are all still moving to towards “cloud computing”: where the content lives on the web, and is accessed by clients of all shapes and sizes.
Our goal with Edmodo has always been to allow teachers and students to share as much of the web as possible. We hope that this sentiment continues through the next generation of web apps for education, and that “apps” do not necessarily result in many disparate content libraries, that do not provide uniform delivery mechanisms to the classroom.
(Edmodo is an RL portfolio company and VA/R client)
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