June 3, 2019
Julia Ullmann

This day and age, we want to inspire our students to speak the target language (TL) both within and outside of the classroom. If they are using it for fun and within their community, they will be able to see a future using it. One way to get your students to use the TL is to connect with them on their own turf: on the internet. There are many apps and websites that you can use, but we will focus mainly on Edmodo©, which has allowed us and other teachers take the language experience beyond the classroom.

Edmodo is an online social network platform that allows for collaborating, sharing ideas and files, and monitoring students’ progress. It can be found at edmodo.com.

Pros:

It is a complete learning system that combines various options, such as creating classes, enrolling students, posting announcements, grading, assigning tasks, monitoring progress, motivating with badges, communicating with peers and students, and sharing files and links. It is such a large network that you can find various groups and tools that can be used. It is very intuitive and has an interface similar to Facebook, making it appealing for students and easy to use for all. Many locations can be accessed in several different ways. Edmodo is free and global, giving teachers and students access to a quality Learning Management System (LMS) without subscription fees. The teacher can monitor the classes with class codes and lock access when all students are enrolled to ensure the safety of students. The teacher can assign homework and quizzes (with time limits) for students to take on Edmodo. The free app is available for mobile devices. You also have the ability to schedule posts and use various sources for messages. If students don’t have Office 365 or the like at home, there are apps within Edmodo for them to be able to submit their work. Finally, there is a free all-day online “EdmodoCon” conference that offers professional development for one day at the beginning of August. If your district permits it, you could earn 11 hours and gain a lot of information on how to use Edmodo effectively in your classroom.

Cons:

It has functions similar to other learning management systems. Many Edmodo apps and materials require payment.

How to use:

  1. First, go to Edmodo. You need to create an account. There are options to select “teacher,” “student,” or “parent” when creating one. After you select a teacher account, you can log in with Clever, ClassLink (single sign-on apps), Office 365, or Google. You can also create a new account with email. Usually, if you are joining as a part of a school district, you will be required to enter a school code (that can be obtained from the media supervisor in your district).
  2. After logging in, you will find the following options at the bar at the top: “Home,” “What’s Due,” “Progress,” “Library,” “Messages,” “Notifications,” “Profile,” and “Invite.” The “Home” button returns you to the main interface. The “Assignments” button will take you to the grade book, where you can review assignments that have been already turned in. They can be sorted by class. After clicking on an individual assignment name, you can see “Review,” “Reviewed,” “Scheduled,” and “All My Classes.” You can also see each individual assignment, assign or correct a grade, or request a resubmission. After opening an individual student’s assignment, you can add comments, attach a file or a link to the comments, and add a file from the library or Google Drive.
  3. The “Progress” icon takes you to “My Student Badges” for each class that you have created. After clicking on a badge, you may award it to a student. After opening each class, you can view the grade book with the summary of assignments that includes a progress indicator of how many students turned them in and another with grades for each student. It will also show percentages for each student. After clicking on a grade, you can edit it or go into “View Work” for a detailed record of the student’s submission. You can also add a grade or export data to an Excel document and add badges to students from the grade book by clicking on “Badges,” next to “Grades.”
  4. The “Library” icon takes you to the cloud storage where teachers and students are able to save files and documents. You can link OneDrive or Google Drive to your Edmodo library and access your documents from there. Resources are organized into folders and can be searched. If you click on “New,” you can create a file (Word document, Excel document, or PowerPoint presentation) in addition to uploading a file or creating a link or quiz. A drop-down menu next to each resource allows you to edit the file, attach a note, or move, copy, or delete the file.
  5. The “Messages” icon allows you to communicate directly with teachers and students. You can send direct messages to contacts or have a group conversation with colleagues or students. When sending a message, you can attach files, links, or pictures.
  6. The “Notifications” icon on top will show a red symbol if there are any new changes, such as new connections, alerts, or turned-in assignments. The “Connect” link will take you to your existing connections, people you might know, and people from your organization. Adding them to your network will allow you to share files and message them.
  7. From “Home,” you can also view the calendar (in the top right corner), called “Edmodo Planner.” It lets you add tasks, assignments, and availability in weekly or monthly views. There is also a shortcut to an apps launcher and spotlight apps. Edmodo offers apps for students and teachers, some of which are free and some of which are paid. They can be searched by the subject area, grade, and language of the app.

Because you can incorporate Microsoft Office, audio files, and quizzes, plus generate an authentic conversation, answering students’ questions about homework, culture, or issues in real time, it is a great way to allow technology to teach the TL. Plus, it is a secure environment for students, and its design is intuitive and easy to use. We highly recommend it!

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