It's Elementary!

by Jamie Forrest

A discussion of the results of my survey October 26, 2010

Filed under: eci831 — Jamie @ 6:52 pm

Last week I posted a survey asking people for feedback on the tools I could use to set up my final project.  The following in a discussion of the tools suggested:

A forum for hosting book reviews:

1) Shelfari

I actually have used Shelfari before.  It was actually tools like Shelfari and Goodreads that got me thinking about ways for students to share what they are reading and to share book reactions.  However, both these platforms require participants to be 13 years old (which cuts out most of our students) and require participants to have email addresses (which my board does not have for our students.)  Aside from those two very important points, neither of these platforms support audio or video uploads, which is one of the most important aspects of what I am looking for.

2) Ning

Ning was suggested on the basis of it being “closed.”  First of all, Ning is a pay site.  I do not want to commit any kind of funds to this project because I want this to be a long-term project.  I would like this project to be sustainable even if there is staff and admin turn-over.  I have never used Ning, and honestly cannot comment properly on whether or not this would be a good forum for my ideas.  From what I could see (without actually signing up for a site), students would need email addresses to sign in as members.  This creates a problem for our school.  It does support video (although no mention of audio was made on the information pages).  However, it offers a live chat option which I do not want to have available.  So, because of cost and added feature, I would say that Ning is out too.

3) Grou.ps

I actually know nothing of groups.  I tried to ask for some feedback on Twitter about how people used it and didn’t get much back.  I did some Google searches and couldn’t come up with much.  What little I understand is that it is similar to Ning, but free, to a certain extent.  Again, I am not certain, but I think that people need email addresses to be able to become members of a group.

4) Edmodo

I had never heard of Edmodo.  First, I watched the video provided on the Edmodo homepage. It sounds like it might have potential.  Then I read this blog post, about an elementary school using Edmodo as a forum for Literature circles.  This got me even more excited.  I started looking at the guide provided on their website (that you can access without actually signing up for an account, which I really appreciate!)  I came across this in the guide about student sign-up:


Notice that students DO NOT need email addresses to sign up, only to teacher created code!  That is good to know!  I was thinking that I could create groups based on reading levels or interest levels that students could post to…  Later in the guide, I noticed this:


That is exactly what I wanted.  I want students to be able to submit things to me, and for me to approve the posts to a “public” page that other students can see.  I am really excited to explore this forum…  I kept reading and there is also the option of “co-teaching” a group which means that if teachers in my school would like to have their students do a book reaction as part of a classroom assignment, they could correct, edit, and publish without having to come through me.  This is definitely a tool that I want to play around with!

5) Blog (wordpress or kidblog)

Blogs were suggested by several people.  This would allow me to control what gets posted, what doesn’t as a moderator.  I could organize the posts with the use of tags.  In Kidblogs, the students would not need an email address to post but I’m pretty sure that in wordpress, you need an account based on email to contribute.  In Kidblogs, the students cannot add tags to their posts, so the posts cannot be organized in any particular way…  Each of these options poses its own challenges for what I want to do.

What do you think?  I really want to investigate Edmodo further.  Did I post false information or do you know more about these tools?  Please share your knowledge!  Thanks.

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8 Responses to “A discussion of the results of my survey”

  1. mscoxenglish Says:

    I use both Edmodo and Kidblog with my high school students – ages 11 – 14. Both are easy to use.

    Kidblog is ideal for peer reviewing and for giving others in the class access to their pees’ work…

    Edmodo is great if you want to keep a record of pupils’ grades. I like the ability to channel rss feeds into Edmodo – to give pps selected reading material on a regular basis,

  2. Kay Biz Says:

    At my school we have just recently been using edmodo. My 8th grade teachers love it and have created many different classes within the grade level. We have also used kidblog and wordpress. We have also just started exploring with twiducate….more of a microblog within a classroom setting and no emails needed. But doesn’t have the option of posting or sending assignments to teacher. Good luck! All of these tools are great! Moodle is an option too. But money and emails are needed. How wonderful that you are willing to integrate something to enhance your class.

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alec Couros, Jamie F. Jamie F said: A new #eci831 blog post –> A discussion of the results of my survey: http://t.co/ZTerY8G Your feedback is welcome! #edchat #elemchat [...]

  4. Rod Murray Says:

    I have used Kidblog with my Grade 6 students with good success. Not having the tag function is workable, and students use the tool as a way to think in writing about our Science classes and to discuss ideas beyond the lesson. They want to post lots of Youtube videos, but need guidance about what’s appropriate.
    I used Edmodo for a Master’s course I took last spring. I had to integrate the tool into a unit. I chose the Grade 6 Science I am now teaching, and will try this live in the next month. I had to write a Blog about it for the course, which may be of interest: http://therodcast.wikispaces.com/My+Discovery+Education+Wilkes+U+Blog
    The point is, the tools are what we make of them. Often we need more than one tool for each things we’re doing. Right now, my classes are using Google Docs, Kidblog and ClassMarker. Often a tool can be easily adapted to another purpose.

  5. patriciacone Says:

    One of my former colleagues, Eldon Germann, has made a lot of use of Edmodo: eldon.germann@lskysd.ca He tweets too!

  6. Sarah Shep Says:

    I had a wonderful experience with Edmodo during my internship. I presented it as an online option to the students, but soon even the students who had asked for paper assignments were going online to see what the other students were talking about. The conversations, humor, and interactions I had with my students through Edmodo was amazing. Even on a snow day – students were asking me for help and advice through the Edmodo class page when they were stuck at home!

  7. Lisa M Lane Says:

    I tried grou.ps when Ning went premium, as did many of my colleagues. As of this week, they’re angry because grou.ps just went premium too. It seemed relatively easy to use, and they tried to help with my Ning transfer, though it never fully worked. The big problem with these free services, in my view, is the ads.

    Sorry I don’t know more about Edmodo. It didn’t seem to have enough features for me to use it.

  8. Shawna Stangel Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    Thanks for sharing your information regarding Edmodo. This is a tool that I will definitely be checking out. As I work with teachers throughout my school division, it is important to keep in mind the privacy issue of our students regarding e-mail accounts. I like that fact that Edmodo is not asking for this and yet as a professional it seems as though you can still have access to posting information in a public forum when the time is right. I appreciate the info and will look into this further. I will be looking forward to your final project if this is the tool you choose to look into further.


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