Last year I tried using Facebook as a platform for me to share valuable articles I read online with my students. It didn’t quite work with everyone as not many students joined the FB group (which I geekily named ‘GP Treasure Trove’) and there were way too many distractions on Facebook, such that the articles were merely one update amongst the many other more fascinating updates that others had posted. Of course, there were some who read stuff on it and even printed out all articles I posted and binded them!
Having heard that another department is also using Edmodo, I decided to ride on the Edmodo wave and have now set up a group for all my students to join. I’ve only just started this for a week, but I can see some potential for it.
What I like about it:
Clutter-free interface. It is clearly a platform where students log into to learn, without the distractions of many other things happening on Facebook.
It maintains the personal/professional divide quite well. Of course, you can also do that with restricted profile in FB and set up a separate account for students (though I do find that to be quite tedious).
And, the best feature thus far, is that it allows me to form a library of all the links I’ve posted and to categorise them into folders. It’s a bit like social bookmarking, but within a more confined community. This feature alone puts it a notch above Facebook and sharing articles via email.
There’s an Edmodo iPhone/Android application, so students can simply check it and read while on the bus or in between lessons.
In general though, I’m still rather underwhelmed by it as it doesn’t really seem to provide much platform for the generation of discussion and to promote critical thinking. To be fair, these aren’t really my goals right now in using Edmodo, as my main aim is to have a platform to share articles with students. I do believe that there’s much potential which I haven’t fully tapped into. I shall experiment more with it this term and see how it can be fully exploited as a content repository for my students.