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Good Practice - Case Study
Panshanger Primary School
School No: 540
Use of Edmodo ‘Social Learning Platform’
Edmodo is a free ‘social learning platform’ that works in a similar way to social networking platforms, but with added functionality to support its use in schools, for which it is designed. During the autumn and spring term 2011/2012 Panshanger Primary School trialled the use of Edmodo with a year 6 class to see how online tools of this type could aid class communication and organisation, particularly with home access in mind.
Edmodo is a social learning platform designed to provide a safe and secure online environment for class collaboration, sharing of content, homework tasks and suchlike. A teacher can create a class group with which s/he can, for example:
Specifically for education, Edmodo features a high level of security such as the inability for pupils to directly message one another, private groups which cannot be ‘seen’ from the outside world and teacher management controls over the groups s/he has set up. The service is accessible from any online computer and also has apps for iOS and Android mobile devices.
Beginning the Edmodo trial at Panshanger
Edmodo was trialled in the single Year 6 class at Panshanger. All children had signed permission from their parent/carer to take part in the trial and use Edmodo. This is necessary for children under 13 to use the service. The children were introduced to the functionality of Edmodo before a ‘code of conduct’ was discussed. This covered the main esafety aspects of using this and other online community services. All the children were asked to sign the code of conduct to show they understood the rules. These included:
Once the code of conduct had been discussed with the class, they were provided with a ‘group code’ with which they could sign-up to Edmodo and join the class group. Email addresses are not necessary to sign up, and the children used only their first name and initial as user names.
Once all the children had signed up and joined the class group, the group was ‘locked’ so that no further members could join. This eliminated the risk from a child passing on the group code to a friend or sibling not in the class.
The teacher had created an example quiz for the pupils to try out using Edmodo, as well as an opinion poll. The children all made a wall post and explored the other features of the service.
Use of Edmodo across the trial period
The majority of the children accessed Edmodo from home as well as in activities in class where they were instructed to use the service to pick up assignments etc. There was some parental engagement, which would probably have been greater if linked parental accounts had been set up, which enable the parent to see posts and results/content related to their child, but not those of other children.
Feedback from the children and teacher
The teacher felt that Edmodo was a very easy system to use and had a lot to offer a class/school looking for an online platform, especially as this system is free. It proved to be an effective method for clearly presenting a homework task, distributing and collecting homework and for asking for feedback from children on various topics. The calendar was also found to be a useful and effective way of communicating class related events.
At the beginning of the trial the children were very enthusiastic about Edmodo. Over time many of the children made comments that suggested it was the social aspect of Edmodo they liked most and would have liked greater functionality in this area. They would have preferred a system where they could see who was online, and some said they felt it should have built-in games. This attitude was reflected in the type of posts made, which over time did tend to become more ‘social’ and less related to school matters.
However, at no time could any post be described as inappropriate, and as they were writing and communicating in a positive manner they were allowed the freedom to discuss ‘off topic’ subjects in their own time. Some of the children used Edmodo to communicate with their classmates during school holidays. A few mentioned that they did not want to use an online platform to discuss school work, especially from home, as they had been in school, thinking about school work all day and wanted to ‘forget about it’ once they were at home.
For schools looking for an easy to use and free online service with some of the features of a Learning Platform, Edmodo is a functional option which does not require a great time investment to get started.
It is an effective classroom organisation tool and Home/School communication tool, helping to keep all classroom matters in one place – news, homework, events etc. Like any Learning Platform or suchlike, it’s effectiveness, of couse, is dependent on access to the internet.
By implementing such a service it also provided a good opportunity to discuss esafety and appropriate online behaviour with the pupils.
Full supporting documents for the use of Edmodo can be found in the Help Centre: