While reading through the Edmodo website, I read about another school from the USA also involved in Challenge Based Learning project that my school is in. It was great to read about their experiences and the successes they have had as part of the CBL trial. As the article discusses the use of Edmodo in a Challenge Based Learning environment, it also made me reflect upon our use of Edmodo, and how we have used this amazing tool in a real and relevant way to complete our challenges. You can read more about their great work here.

For us, trying to get your head around a new framework, as well as training our teachers and getting organized at the commencement of a new school year were big challenges. We needed to get the students collaborating more often than just at school times for this to work. We predicted we would not have time to train up students on how to operate and manage a wiki, CMS or some other network solution. Add to the mix we are trialling the use of iPads for each of our Year 5/6 students involved in the project.

Enter Edmodo..

While I had looked at Edmodo before, having an authentic reason to use it brought me to revisit it. It was no doubt one of the keys to the success of our project.

Our students immediately figured out the intuitive nature of the setup and were straight into it. They have used Edmodo to update progress to teachers and one another, share resources and keep track of their progress. Assignments can be set, polls can be created and it has proven to be an amazing way for staff and students to provide quality feedback for one another. The way our students have respected this ‘professional’ working space has been outstanding - to support one another, ask for help, clarify their tasks, share links, seek teacher help and praise one another on their efforts.

Edmodo has also been a tool for our teachers to use for the assessment of literacy. Students want to write and compose posts to share. They are becoming more detailed with their writing, engaging in discussions, while taking more care with their spelling and punctuation knowing that they have a large and ‘real’ audience. There is nothing more powerful than one student telling another one to take more care with their writing!

Our students have also responded positively to our new award - “Edmodian Of The Week!” This award goes to one student each week for the way in which they have conducted themselves in the group. We want to acknowledge those who are contributing productively, sharing their learning, resources, and supporting others, offering encouragement, and demonstrating leadership.

And with the latest release of the Edmodo app, access is only a touch away on the iPad.

So a big thanks to Edmodo for creating such an amazing tool specifically for schools. We continue to use Edmodo in our new CBL challenges, as well as extend it to organizing new groups for homework, subject areas, etc. We are also trialling a small group of parents online as a way of improving communication throughout this area. Already our small ‘test’ group have ‘figured it out’ without too much of a fuss and seem to be positive about it. The possibilities are endless.

I really look forward to the day when we can upload a picture, document, pdf etc straight from the iPad. This is the only thing we cannot do straight from the device. Yet, I look forward to the future developments of Edmodo, as it sounds as though there are some impressive updates ahead.