Students and teachers in Falcon School District 49 are connecting in new ways by using a classroom-specific social network.

Edmodo allows me as a teacher to get instant feedback, allowing me to know right away where my students are at, and where the faults are in the class,” said John Sabell, fifth grade teacher at Stetson Elementary School.

The social media tool, launched in 2008, provides teachers and students with a secure place to connect, collaborate, share and learn. Edmodo has nearly 10 million users today, and recently received a 2012-2013 eSchool News Readers’ Choice Award.

“Fifty percent of the assignments I give out are on Edmodo for use with our iPad program,” said Sabell.

Security measures are in place for teachers and parents. After parents create an account, group codes are required for access into the school’s Edmodo community. Teachers are the only ones who can accept a student or parent into their group.

Edmodo’s website features a blog providing parents and teachers explanations about its services and options.

“I use Edmodo with our sixth grade book club,” said Nate Hill, social studies teacher at Skyview Middle School. “Edmodo allows students that have sports afterschool to participate in book discussions, even though they cannot attend our weekly meetings.

“Edmodo opens the door for students that can’t sit in a traditional afterschool club meeting,” Hill said.

Amanda Archuletta, third grade teacher at Odyssey Elementary School, has her students use Edmodo for classroom communications, polls and quizzes, as well as afterschool interactions.

“I like being able to connect with the students in a different way,” said Archuletta. “I can get insight into their day and what they are interested in and it is helping me build stronger relationships with my kiddos.”

Elaine Schoen, dean of students at Vista Ridge High School and former English teacher, has used Edmodo for three years.

“Before moving into an administrative role in Vista Ridge, and when I worked for another district, I had all of my classes using Edmodo,” said Schoen. “It is very effective for students because it mimics the social media they use every day.”

The digital platform reinforces the 21st century skills educators are now embedding in curriculum to prepare students to succeed in an ever-changing global workforce.

“Students have the ability to connect with a teacher at all times, not just during school hours, and they can connect with fellow students and talk if they are struggling with an assignment.

“It is an amazing tool to use,” Schoen said.

Tags: Classrooms, Instructional, Media, Social, Students, Tech, Technologies, Technology, eLearning

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