In the upstart social learning space, there is one name that is more well-known than many of the long-established players: Edmodo.
This platform has seen rapid growth and viral sharing amongst educators in a way that still warrants comparison by other startups. In their own words, Edmodo was, “founded in Chicago, Illinois, when two school district employees set out to bridge the gap between how students live their lives and how they learn in school.”
Today, Edmodo is based in San Mateo, California. Thanks to the guidance and support of their users from the beginning, many considered Edmodo the most preferred K-12 social learning network in the world, dedicated to connecting all learners with the people and resources they need to reach their full potential. Edmodo has seen a meteoric rise in the first few years of the 21st century, but will it be able to build on its successes?
Here’s why I think the future of Edmodo is bright:
Learning Tool. Edmodo stands out for its creativity and emphasis on social learning. Learning should not be done in isolation nor in silo and Edmodo leverages real-time communication and collaboration to give students the support they need to master difficult concepts, complete assignments from their teachers, and more. Students have a ‘one-stop shop’ for their learning needs, making for happier, more productive learners, maximizing efficiency and thus, time spent actually learning.
Relationships. The true power of an educator is not how well they deliver a lesson or how much technology they use or even how much they know about their content area. Great educators know how to contextualize to make meaning for their learners. They connect with students and deliver exactly what they need, when they need it. They build relationships and provide feedback.
In this regard, then, Edmodo really shines. Edmodo puts all of these opportunities at educators’ (and parents’!) fingertips. Through a social learning platform, Edmodo is able to give students the supports they need (not just as learners, but as developing children) to fully realize their potential. Educators can connect with students via Edmodo and leverage the social nature of the platform to act as an advisory or homeroom, help with scheduling and overall guidance for decision-making, and provide relevant information to colleges or other services. And because parents have a place, too, there is the opportunity close the conversation gap between home and school.
Content. Educators are inherently creative. They’re also great at sharing their learning. Edmodo provides a platform for teachers and other content creators to share their best work. First-year teachers and seasoned veterans alike can use the open and tagged libraries to find just what they’re looking for and then easily organize their courses with everything just a click away.
Assessment. Lest you think Edmodo is just a digital watercooler, be sure to check out the ways the services leverage assessment tools to provide options for educators looking to give or receive feedback related to their students’ learning. Additionally, the platform has integrated quiz and test builders as well as a database of performance tasks and rubrics (including Common Core alignment). See? Data can be this easy to come by.
Gradebook. Edmodo has an integrated gradebook, allowing students, educators, and parents to stay on the same page when it comes to student progress. To be sure, however, a gradebook is not just a static repository to collect your scores of assignments gone-by. With Edmodo, the gradebook is dynamic and changes as the student’s’ performance does. It not only utilizes multiple sources of formative assessment, it provides real-time achievement analytics and data visualization to help everyone really grasp how students are performing.
Profile & Portfolio. Far too many tools in EdTech seem to focused on only the school year at hand. Edmodo, from the very beginning, wanted the service to be timely and relevant to the student from year-to-year. As such, they have made sure that the service provides a digital portfolio of student work, no matter if they’re in one class or ten, one semester or all of high school. This kind of comprehensive learner profile will become increasingly important as we begin thinking about education not just in terms of what students know, but also what they can do.
Personalization. There is nothing quite so personal as learning. It is unique to each individual. Edmodo’s flexibility and adaptability give students and educators alike the ability to quickly pivot based on the individual needs of a learner. Moving forward, we will see the answer to, “What if a student could have a digital playlist of recommended learning experiences based on their learner profile?”
Learning Management Tools. Edmodo (quite famously) has positioned itself as something other than a Learning Management System (LMS). In her 2013 open letter to superintendents, CEO Crystal Hutter notes that even referring to their service as an LMS goes against their core values.
That being said, they are giving many school districts pause, and an opportunity to ask, “What do we want from our LMS? What should we want?” It may not be a learning management system in the traditional sense, but with its emphasis on badging/micro-credentialing, dynamic grouping, assignment management, and a data-visualization-driven gradebook, maybe it’s time we all reframed our understanding of what learning management should be.
Edmodo is quietly, consistently positioning itself not just as the glue to hold your technology-enhanced learning initiatives together, but the rocket fuel that it will need to redefine what learning looks like now and in the future. Conferences like the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) are using Edmodo to connect conference presenters with their participants. School counselors are using Edmodo to connect with students and provide timely information and services. Teachers and trainers are using Edmodo within their professional learning communities in addition to their classrooms. Principals are using Edmodo to create a shared workspace for their campuses. Central offices are using it to keep all their employees connected and productive. Edmodo is what school productivity should be. It’s what learning should look like.
This blog is part of the Learning Platforms Series brought to you by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more, stay tuned in for the final published project, Getting Smart on Next-Gen Learning Platforms and check out additional posts in the series:
- Beyond the LMS: What Next-Gen Learning Platforms Should Do
- Impact at Scale: The Learning Platform Series
- Beyond the LMS: What Next-Gen Learning Platforms Should Do
- Smart List: 20 Learning Platforms
- Gooru Powers Personalized Learning With Open Content