Edmodo--created by two school district IT professionals--offers a social network for students, teachers, parents and schools. As well as providing a connecting tool for communication, questions and tracking progress, Edmodo began to offer a marketplace in 2012 as a way to bring more educational content to the educators and students using the platform. The Edmodo Store now boasts over 600 apps spanning a diversity of subject areas.
EdSurge caught up with Nic Borg, co-founder and chief product officer of Edmodo, to hear about what resources Edmodo provides to educators, some of the most popular offerings in the Edmodo Store and surprising ways that teachers have used the platform to address their own particular classroom needs.
EDSURGE: So, how did Edmodo get started?
BORG: Having worked in the IT department at my school from a sophomore in high school through college, I saw first hand the level of commitment and dedication that being an educator requires. The effort, in terms of both time and money, teachers put into their jobs amazed me. It became important to me to find opportunities for teachers to use technology for the purpose of making their lives easier and engaging their students. That, combined with students' use of social media, spawned Edmodo.
What does Edmodo offer educators?
Our goal was to provide teachers, schools and students access to a private platform that enabled collaboration--a platform that would extend beyond the classroom environment and become the day-to-day learning experience. Our functionality has evolved to include an Edmodo Store, housing over 600 educational applications teachers can integrate into their instruction; Edmodo Communities, allowing teachers to connect with peers around the world to share best practices and resources; and our most recent tool, Snapshot, enabling educators to conduct formative assessments aligned to educational standards so they can pulse student proficiency and course correct where necessary.
Who are the users of Edmodo?
Edmodo is used by more than 39 million K-12 teachers, administrators, students and parents around the world, in approximately 190 countries.
How do educators use Edmodo?
In a variety of ways, including connecting with other educators around the world and sharing best practices, using Edmodo as a classroom management tool, and personalizing learning for each student.
What are some surprising uses of Edmodo that you’ve encountered?
Teachers are constantly using Edmodo in creative ways that surprise me. One teacher created a Shared Field Trip group on Edmodo, inviting classrooms in other regions to join and participate remotely in the lessons conducted about the field trip. Or a distance-learning project, where a math class in New York and one in South Africa work together to create exponential models to predict future population growth with the end result being a joint “report for the U.N.”
Walk us through the top 10 offerings in the Edmodo Store for the past few weeks. Why are they valuable for educators?
Here’s what we see, based on a combo of what’s trending in the Edmodo Store and what we see teachers talking about on the Edmodo platform.
1. Blendspace: Using Blendspace,teachers can create and deliver lessons that adapt to students’ needs through easy drag-and-dropping internet resources, built-in assessments and lesson tracking. These lessons can then be shared and updated throughout the school year.
2. Quizlet for Teachers: Teachers rave about this app. It allows students and teachers to create flashcards, games, and quizzes on any subject to help students study in an effective (but fun!) way.
3. Curriculet is another one we hear teachers talking about. In fact, almost every admin and teacher has mentioned this app in our Edmodo Communities. It's a new, engaging way for students to read literature, and for teachers to teach reading concepts and skills.
4. CK-12 Math Practice and CK-12 Science Practice: These apps allow teachers to choose from a comprehensive library of middle and high school math concepts and quickly and easily assign Common Core-aligned math practice to students. Very useful for this school year.
5. Project Based Learning is a publisher community on Edmodo with more than 28,000 followers and over 400+ projects shared in their collection. Teachers are able to sort by subject and grade and implement similar projects in their own classrooms.
6. Zaption is an app that teachers are very enthusiastic about. They are able to add images and content to create a virtual "lesson tour" or interactive quizzes for students.
7. Edmodo Snapshot: Edmodo's new formative assessment tool enables teachers to easily create Common Core standards-aligned quizzes for grades 3-12 Math and ELA. Snapshot provides teachers with real-time feedback on student proficiency so they're able to immediately address any learning gaps and help their students succeed. And, like Edmodo, teachers can use it for free!
8. StoryLines Pages is an Edmodo app allowing each student in the class to create a Page for other students expressing something he or she appreciates about his or her classmate. It's a collaborative classroom activity where students learn the power of support, appreciation and encouragement.
9. Dabble: Found in the Apps Playground group on Edmodo, which is a forum for teachers to try out new apps and provide feedback to the app publishers, this is a fast-paced word game that helps children develop useful skills - including vocabulary, spelling, and quick thinking.
10. Other teachers! Collaboration continues to grow on Edmodo as teachers want to learn from one another and share best practices. The educators using Edmodo have such amazing stories and through the groups and communities they have created and joined, they get to share this work with others and inspire even more innovation in the classroom.