Monday, December 12, 2011

15 Things Teachers & Students Can Do With Edmodo

Last week the Wall Street Journal had an article announcing that Edmodo had received a $15 million venture capital investment from the founder of LinkedIn and a former VP of Facebook. That article gave me the idea for this post of fifteen things teachers and students can do with Edmodo.

For those not familiar with Edmodo, in a nutshell it is a microblogging system designed specifically for teachers and students. Using Edmodo teachers can create a microblogging network for their classes. Edmodo allows teachers to create a group specifically for their students and exclude those not invited to the group. Edmodo provides teachers with a place to post assignment reminders, build an event calendar, and post messages to the group. Just as with any good microblogging service users can share links, videos, and images.

Here are fifteen things teachers and students can do with Edmodo.
1. Post assignments for students. Edmodo allows teachers to attach files to assignment announcements. If there is a file your students need in order to complete an assignment, they can access it at the same place they view the announcement. Less clicking is good.

2. Create digital libraries. Students and teachers can create digital libraries for housing their important files. No need to keep track of USB drives because you can access your files from any Internet-connected computer.

3. Post messages on the "wall." This allows students to ask questions of each other and their teacher. Teachers, of course, can post messages for all students to read.

4. Create learning groups. Teachers can create groups of their students according to the courses they teach or create groups of students who are supposed to be working together.

5.  Post polls for students. Use the polls to gather informal feedback on a question like, "do you feel prepared for next week's quiz?"

6. Post a quiz for students to take. You can attach links and files to each question and answer choice. This allows you to post a document and ask students to read and respond to it. Quizzes can be in multiple choice, true/ false, fill in the blank, or short answer form. You can allow students to see their scores immediately or you can disable that option.

7. Connect with other teachers. Join discussion groups to share ideas about lesson plans, teaching strategies, and project development. Discuss tools and content that you use. In some cases you can find webinars like this one from Buck Institute for Education about project based learning.

8. Create a calendar of events and assignments.

9. Access Edmodo through the free Android and iPhone apps.

10. Turn in assignments. Students can upload assignments for their teachers to view and grade. Teachers can annotate the assignments directly in Edmodo.

11. Create parent accounts. Teachers can create parent accounts. Parent accounts allow parents to see their children's assignments and grades. Teachers can also send alerts to parents about school events, missed assignments, and other important messages through Edmodo.

12. Generate printable class rosters. If you're going to have a substitute teacher in your classroom who needs a printed roster, you can print one from your Edmodo account.

13. Embed Wallwisher into your Edmodo wall to host a brainstorming session.

14. Embed videos, images, and audio clips into your wall to spark a class discussion online.

15. Use the Google Chrome extension or browser bookmarklet to quickly add content to your Edmodo library. Anytime you find something on the web, click the Edmodo extension or bookmarklet to save it in your Edmodo library.

Do you use Edmodo? What's your favorite feature?

YouTube for Schools - Now More Schools Can Access YouTube

Yesterday, Google announced the launch of YouTube for Schools. YouTube for Schools is a new network setting that school administrators can enable to grant access only to screened content on YouTube EDU. YouTube for Schools is a setting that must be enabled using your school's Google Account, not your personal Google Account. Learn more about YouTube for Schools in the video below.

Teachers looking for quality YouTube videos to use in their classrooms should check out YouTube Teachers.

Forget Box - Simple Sharing of Large Files

Forget Box is a new service for sharing large files and collections of files with just a click or two. Forget Box is a not a web app, you do have to install the free Forget Box software on your desktop. With Forget Box installed, right-click on the file(s) you want to share, select a contact from your address book, and send off the file. Your recipient will receive an email with a link to download the file(s) you've shared. Forget Box doesn't have any stated file size limitations.

Applications for Education
If you regularly share large files with others, Forget Box could be a good tool to simplify that process. I'm thinking that teachers and students who work with a lot of large multimedia projects could benefit from using Forget Box instead of sharing USB drives or sending large email attachments.

Wordia - Vocabulary Videos and Games

Wordia, a vocabulary resource that I initially reviewed last year, recently underwent a facelift. The new Wordia is much more student-friendly than the previous version of the service. Wordia now features word lists arranged by subject area and the age of students. Wordia now offers games based on the words in the word lists. Students and teachers now have the option to create their own word lists and videos to upload to Wordia. And coming soon, students will be able to track their progress and earn digital reward badges.

The video below offers a good overview of Wordia.

Applications for Education
The visual aspect of Wordia could help students remember the meanings of words on their vocabulary lists. The videos of students and adults explaining what the words mean in context beyond the dictionary definitions could also help students remember and recall the meaning of words.

Get a Paid Android App for Free Everyday

With a price point that is much more manageable than the iPad's and the marketing machine that Amazon is, there is sure to be a lot of teachers and students acquiring Kindle Fire tablets in the next month. If you recently acquired an Android tablet or your students have, check out the Amazon Appstore for Android. Everyday the Amazon Appstore for Android gives away one paid app for free. From what I've seen over the last few weeks, the bulk of the apps they give away are games, but they do sneak in a non-game app occasionally.

You do have to have an Amazon account to get the free apps and the initial set-up with your device has more steps than the standard Android Market. If you can deal with those two inconveniences, a daily visit to the Amazon Appstore for Android could be a good way to score a good app or two for free.

CNN Student News - Syria, Peace, and Drones

It has been a long time since I last mentioned CNN Student News so I think it's time to mention again that it is a great resource for teachers who use current events stories in their classrooms. Each episode is about ten minutes in length (give or take a minute or two depending on the day) and is accompanied by a written transcript and discuss questions to use with your students. Today's episode of CNN Student News, embedded below, contains stories about demonstrations in Syria, the winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, and the US drone lost in Iran last week.