Edmodo: A free, secure social networking site for schools

Edmodo is the largest and fastest growing social learning platform.  Edmodo makes it easy for teachers to share with each other and to make/manage assignments for groups of students–it’s like facebook for schools, but safe and secure.  Edmodo was incubated by Learn Capital.  It was featured in eSchoolNews today.  Here’s the full story in case you don’t have a subscription.

Social learning network allows for communication and collaboration without compromising safety

By Jenna Zwang, Assistant Editor

Teachers seeking online communication and collaboration opportunities with students and other educators have another free resource at their disposal: Edmodo, an education-based social networking site.
The social learning network for teachers, students, schools, and districts offers free classroom communication for teachers, students, and administrators on a secure social network. Professional development for teachers is another component.
Teachers and students can post classroom materials, share links and videos, and access homework, grades, and school notices within Edmodo, which stores and shares all forms of digital content—including blogs, links, pictures, video, documents, and presentations.
Edmodo recently released new enhancements to its gradebook feature in response to teacher feedback.
“I think the real power of Edmodo is it’s completely based on teacher demand, and the way the service has evolved has been based on teachers requesting new features,” said Betsy Whalen, vice president of social media and marketing for Edmodo.
The social learning network is accessible online or using any mobile device, including Android devices and iPhones, and has special institutional features for schools and districts that can be accessed free of charge by administrators.
Whalen said a new library feature, which lets educators share content, was created after Edmodo users said they needed a way to exchange information.
“The idea behind Edmodo is to provide a platform for teachers to be able to communicate with students, post messages, share content with each other, and post and grade assignments—but do it in a safe environment where we aren’t requiring any private information from students,” said Whalen.
More districts are using Edmodo as a platform for teacher professional development, because of its “ability to share content globally,” Whalen said.
Co-founders Nic Borg and Jeff O’Hara, former technology directors based in Chicago, consistently received requests to shut down social networking sites from schools around their district.
“Teachers were then coming to them, saying they were frustrated with constantly being told they had to block social networking sites, because the teachers recognized there was a real need for social networking tools in the classroom,” said Whalen. EdModo grew from those requests.
With social networking playing an integral role in today’s society, Edmodo has discovered a way to safely integrate it into the education sphere.
Students do not need to provide eMail addresses to sign up. Teachers give students access codes, and students can either put their first and last names into the system or go by student identification numbers instead.
Once using Edmodo, teachers can communicate with students individually or with the entire class. However, while students can communicate with teachers or the entire class, they cannot talk directly with each other.
“We cut out any issue with inappropriate chatter between students individually, and that provides an extra level of security,” Whalen said.
Using Edmodo’s gradebook feature, teachers can post and grade assignments. Students can only view their own grades. Edmodo also hosts a library where educators can post digital content. The library can be shared with any teacher on the Edmodo network, but students can only share content with those in their classroom.
Edmodo launched two years ago, but it has seen its enrollment numbers jump significantly this year.
“The momentum we’re seeing has been incredible. We now have at least one Edmodo user in every country in the world,” said Whalen. The site reportedly hit 500,000 users in September and saw its 1 millionth user register in early December.
“Edmodo has really grown completely based on word-of-mouth from teachers,” Whalen said. “More and more, we are seeing school districts and a lot of states coming and expressing interest and finding a resource that can be globally rolled out for all of their teachers.”
More on Edmodo on edReformer:

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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