Friday, April 09, 2010

Edmodo and Student Collaboration

Each year, the 7th graders at my school do Travel Fair.  Each group takes on the role of a travel agency and pitch a visit to an assigned country to the Fair's visitors (other students, teachers, and parents).  We take over the entire gym.  It's noisy and colorful and chaotic (280 kids this year), and just completely low-tech. And this year, I'm the coordinator. 

I am slowly attempting to drag Travel Fair into the 21st century.  Last year,  I emphasized online research-- very web 1.0. This year, I tried to focus a bit more on online collaboration.  In the past, Travel Fair groups met at each other's homes.  Now our kids are spread out over a large county, and asking parents to cart them all over the place isn't practical.

I set up an account at Edmodo, a private social networking platform for education.  It's completely private and it's one of the few social networking sites that isn't blocked by our district. Within Edmodo, I set up one "group" for my entire class, another for each period, and finally one for each country group. In Edmodo, my students can share files, links, and comments with one another.

Here's a screenshot from my 3rd period Jamaica group:

The format is very comfortable for Facebook users, they enjoy being able to social network at school, and it really is handy for group collaboration.

Next goal-- using Edmodo for student assignments.

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