Edmodo: Communication & Collaboration
February 12, 2014

Edmodo: Communication & Collaboration

Amanda Youngblood | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

Online

Modules Used

  • All

Overall Satisfaction

At Windermere Preparatory School, teachers use Edmodo as a communication tool for classes and advisories. Although it is not a mandatory tool, many teachers have chosen it for its user-friendly interface and its useful collection of tools. At my previous district, Edmodo was more widely used, allowing a simple way for teachers to get their feet wet with online and blended learning, in addition to giving teachers an easy way to communicate with their students. As an early adopter, I trained many of the teachers at my school and in my district, and was honored to present during an online Edmodo-sponsored webcast.
  • Edmodo is a fabulous communication tool. It sends out emails and/or text messages to students (and parents, if they have a connected account) whenever a teacher creates an Alert and when an assignment is due soon. The ability for students to comment and rate (using different icons with “feelings”) allows for additional interaction. Edmodo is smart though, and only allows students to message their teacher or reply using the comments. Direct student messaging is not possible, minimizing the threat of bullying or inappropriate use.
  • For administration and counselors, Edmodo is a great way to get out important information such as scholarship deadlines, school closings, and reminders. Clubs and advisories could also use Edmodo to connect members, as well as to discuss and plan events.
  • The ability to share resources is also helpful, especially for students who may have forgotten a particular paper at home or lost a handout. And now that teachers don’t have to upload each file one-by-one, it’s much more practical.
  • Another favorite ability that Edmodo offers is linked parent accounts. By using a code that is specific to a particular student, parents can make a parent account that is attached to the student’s account. They can see the Planner and check their student’s Progress, but they aren’t able to post, comment, or submit assignments. Also, parents can message teachers but not students, adding an extra level of security to the group.
  • Badges are an innovative (and increasingly popular) method for rewarding or motivating students or for acknowledging achievements. Edmodo has the ability to create and award badges, offering pre-made badges in addition to giving teachers the ability to create their own or use badges shared by other teachers.
  • One of my favorite tools is the Planner. This is where a teacher can literally plan the flow of a unit or activity. Assignments and quizzes auto-populate based on due dates, but additional events can be added. Since students can also see the Planner for their particular group, this is a great tool for keeping students (and parents) up-to-date on what’s happening when.
  • One of the biggest drawbacks to Edmodo is that it’s difficult to find things with the search bar. Often, even if a teacher knows the exact title of a post or attachment, the search will fail to find anything. And since the feed is chronological, something posted at the beginning of the year is completely buried by more recent posts, making it almost impossible for students to go back and reference that information. An improved search tool would help here.
  • Additionally, the apps, which are at interesting idea, aren’t particularly well integrated or explained, leaving many teachers uncertain of their usefulness. This is particularly true of the paid apps.
  • Edmodo is a primarily a communications tool and not a full-fledged LMS, and therefore it doesn’t have many of the sophisticated tools and options that Blackboard, Haiku, or Moodle offer (such as chats, forums, contingent assignments, etc.). Many teachers don’t understand the difference between Edmodo and LMS tools, leaving them frustrated when the service doesn’t allow them to do a particular activity. However, knowing the purpose of Edmodo and choosing the appropriate tool for the teacher’s needs will minimize this issue.
  • Edmodo has increased communication between teachers and students, particularly after school hours.
  • By providing an online file cabinet for handouts, worksheets, notes, presentations, etc. Edmodo has increased the likelihood that students will be able to complete their assignments once they get home without worrying about what they left at school or what the dog ate.
  • For many advisors, Edmodo offers a safe place to have discussions, a place to post resources for students, and a place to remind students about upcoming events.
  • The counselors at my previous school use Edmodo to communicate scholarship deadlines, community service opportunities, and other school-related events.
  • Parents love Edmodo because they can see what their students should be doing (of course, this ability depends on the amount of information a teacher posts and the tools he or she chooses to use).
  • Students seem to like Edmodo because it reminds them of Facebook (and Edmodo is often touted as "Facebook for schools"). Sometimes there is a learning curve for the less obvious tasks (like how to submit an assignment, how to upload their own work to their "Backpack," and how to access the Planner), but most students express an appreciation of and positive view of Edmodo, even requesting it over other LMS tools because it is so simple.
  • Haiku,Moodle,Coursera,Schoology
Edmodo is primarily for communicating and collaborating, and because its purpose is different, it doesn't have many of the options and tools that one expects from a LMS (Learning Management System). While it excels at connecting parents, students, and teachers, as well as allowing simple assignments and quizzes, it doesn't offer the same abilities as a forum or chat, nor does it allow for more power strings (or contingent) assignments.

Personally, this year, I'm using Edmodo for my advisory and my gaming club. It gives me a place to communicate with them, poll them on activity options, discuss things, and alert them to upcoming events. However, for my classes (which are somewhat blended), I currently use Haiku (although in the past I've used Moodle, Schoology, and Coursera) because it offers more options for transmitting information and assessing understanding. I've also found that the structure of a "traditional" LMS is easier for students when they want to go back to information presented in previous projects, units, quarter, and/or semesters.
My renewed use of Edmodo depends on my needs next year. As with all technology, needs change each year, so teachers should reassess the tools they plan on using to make sure they use the one that is most appropriate to meet their needs. If I am still meeting with an advisory and running the gaming club, then I will continue to use Edmodo.
My recommendation would be based strongly on what the teacher is hoping to use Edmodo for. If they want a tool to communicate and collaborate, with some LMS options, then Edmodo is a strong contender. However, if a teacher is looking for an option to run an online course, then he or she will likely be frustrated at the limitations of Edmodo.

Edmodo excels at its purpose, which is to be a place for students and teachers to communicate and collaborate. And, since it’s free, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Support

Support through Edmodo is excellent. The communities are a really great way to get fast help because they are actively monitored, and responses are posted by other community members and the support staff. Users can also email Edmodo with suggestions, and in my experience, an Edmodo support person will respond with additional information or, at the very least, with an acknowledgement of the suggestion.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
No - Edmodo has a great support team. They have support communities for both regular teachers and for each school's admin. When a teacher or admin posts an issue, someone usually responds within an hour or two. Sometimes it takes even less time, since other admins or teachers (depending on the support community being accessed) can also help answer the question.
Yes - As a former school Edmodo admin, I've submitted several issues my teachers ran into. Within an hour or so, I had a response from the support team. If it was a fixable issue, they offered instructions or fixed it on their end. If it was something that wasn't implemented, they offered to add it to their "wish list" or gave me a timeline in which they were planning to introduce a fix or feature.
When I was the school admin, just after Edmodo had upgraded to their new interface, my teachers were having horrible lag issues that often prevented them from uploading documents or even accessing the site. I used the Admin Support Community to post the issues and within minutes, the support team had responded with recommendations (and they also checked things with their servers to see if there was something happening there). Other Admins chimed in with whether they were having an issue, and within a day or two the whole problem was resolved (it involved some tweaks here and there, so it took a bit longer than usual).

Usability

If used for its intended purpose, Edmodo is a great service. It's free, meaning teachers can actually afford it. Plus, it offers a lot of tools that make communicating with students and parents simple and painless, in addition to allowing basic assignments and quizzes. It's totally easy to learn, making it less intimidating to teachers who don't have a lot of time and who may not be completely comfortable with technology.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None
  • Creating assignments and quizzes are really easy, with options like forward dating and self-checked multiple choice questions.
  • The Planner provides a quick and easy way to lay out activities and assignments for the week or the month.
  • Grading assignments is really simple because documents are displayed in a pop-up as opposed to forcing the user to download and open the file.
  • The badges are great! They are easy to use and are a fun way to motivate and reward students.
  • Using the search bar to find a previously posted assignment is horribly frustrating. Many times nothing comes up, even when the exact title or wording is used.
  • Posts get buried quickly making it hard to find information after a few days.
  • Attaching files from the library could be easier. It runs into the same search issues as the main search bar, often finding nothing when a file exists.
Yes - It's pretty good, however, there are some basic functions missing (like access to the planner), so I don't use it too often. When I do access the app, I mostly use it to check messages. Posting assignment and creating quizzes are definitely easier if they are undertaken online rather than through the app.