Imagine a college instructor treading the hallway, carrying in her arm, aside from the books and envelope, a rolled white cartolina or a folded manila paper scribbled with her lessons. As soon as she enters the classroom, she immediately posts her stuff while wiping her sweat with her handkerchief in between posting the manila paper. As the scotch tape creates a squeaky noise, the students, on the other hand, watch their teacher grapple with the burden of keeping the manila paper in place, by adhesion, to the blackboard. I am talking about a 2013 classroom situation, where every teacher (college teacher at that) is expected to somehow employ “modern” means of delivering her lessons in a convenient and relevant manner. And, believe it or not, some teachers stick to the old school strategy of using cartolinas or manila papers as visual aids.
In the advent of new media, education has extended its range beyond the walls of the classroom. Of course, technologies like multimedia projectors and computers can be a big help in teaching, but lack of equipment such as these, pose a problem especially when teachers have to share limited units of multimedia projectors (three for every twenty faculty members). In this case, they have to rely on one important visual aid: the body. Aside from visual aids, what irks other teachers is the pile of papers to check, whether assignments or essays, and most of the time, it becomes a burden especially when they have to finish checking everything just before the deadline of grade encoding arrives. And yes, I am talking about my own experience as an educator. And lately, I have found solution to this problem, and somehow, my burden of spending money on photocopying handouts or checking papers or even connecting with my students has finally been eased up. The solution? Edmodo.
You read it right. Edmodo is just like Facebook. Only that it is intended for academic purpose. Thus, it is a social learning platform for teachers, students, and parents. It is a venue where teachers and students can connect easily with one another and so provides opportunity to share learning in an easier and convenient way. Edmodo can be incorporated into classrooms through a variety of applications including Reading, Assignments, and Paper-studying. Current uses include posting assignments, creating polls for student responses, embedding video clips, create learning groups, post a quiz for students to take, and create a calendar of events and assignments. Students can also turn in assignments or upload assignments for their teachers to view and grade. Teachers can annotate the assignments directly in Edmodo to provide instant feedback (www.wikipedia.com).
I was introduced to Edmodo last year when my co-teacher recommended me to try it. And as far as I know, only the two of us are using it in the University. Although I only required using this e-learning platform to my students taking the major subject (there were three of them) last semester; now, I’ve been going full blast in requiring my students to sign up. It only took a little prodding to let them create their accounts. After all, as I always tell them, “You belong to the W-T-F Generation. Wikipedia-Twitter-Facebook Generation, that is. As students begin to explore Edmodo by submitting their assignments, they also begin to experience a real time and personal connection with the teacher and they can follow their progress in terms of their scores minutes after they have turned in their assignment. On my part, I find it also convenient to monitor my students activity and at the same time accommodate their concerns regarding the lessons and assignments. Handouts can easily be accessed thus sparing the students and the teacher to spend a lot of money to photocopy.
As a social media platform, Edmodo also provides a safe venue of learning. Teachers or and students may be too concerned about security and privacy, but Edmodo is a closed and private community, and students can only access Edmodo through a teacher’s account and the class code given directly by the teacher. This code can also be given to parents, who can have a bird’s eye view of the instructional activities occurring within Edmodo. The eyes of the teacher, parents, and students are on the discussion postings, and any improper comments can be deleted by the teacher or addressed by the group (http://elizabethdobler.weebly.com/uploads/8/2/3/5/8235454/readingtoday294_edmodo_2.pdf).
Modern times demand modern means. For a teacher not to be left behind by the fast-changing technology, manila papers and pieces of chalk become a trend as passé as bellybutton jeans. Students get amazed with tools that are not only convenient but current, too. Edmodo is more than just a social e-learning platform. It flattens the classroom and connects not just the teacher and the students into learning within the classroom, but it also reaches across the globe. I must say, Edmodo is highly recommended. And yes, teachers must love technology.