Please note, I have not taken any offense to any of comments raised about Edmodo. Nor am I a devote Edmodo worshipper! I just felt the need to explain and clarify…in context.
Sometimes you have to work within the system in order to change it and even then there are no guarantees!
I agree there are limitations to working with Edmodo, especially when viewed with the ideal NGL len, hence, as I am sure you can appreciate, it is not the only tool that I use with my students. I agree, it is much like a Learning Management System (LMS) as David suggests, and I agree it has its problems, as indicated by Mari, but nevertheless I have still found it to be a usefully tool in developing a learning community within my class, especially given their young age (10-13), and all be it a first step. Granted, I also give you, much of that learning is still task-based but I, like many teachers, am unfortunately not always afforded the luxury of teaching the content I would like, in the way that I would like and using the medium[s] I would like. In fact, in order to even use Edmodo, I had to provide just cause as to why I should be permitted to use it with my student four years ago and even then the permission I received was on a ‘trial’ basis because it set me apart as being different from my peers.
Four years later, other teachers started to come on board seeing the potential benefits and a small learning community of our own developed accordingly, and that community quickly started to become one more focused on practice. It was also great to see people starting to explore and share within the professional groups in Edmodo as well…NGL small steps!
Just before taking leave, I was informed that I was no longer able to use Edmodo as it did not meet with the Technology Committee’s vision for the school. I was unaware we even had a Technology Committee and certainly wasn’t privy to the vision! Instead, we have now been instructed to use an Learning Management System (LMS) which, interestingly, does not provide the same flexibility to work and/or interact with my students at a class or an individual level. Decision made – no consultation, no choice!
I don’t think this kind of situation is an isolated one, hence the reason for sharing it here. And I do not share it either, to paint the school in a bad light. I have dedicated most of my career to working there and think highly of its vision for the future. Decisions though are made in schools by well-intentioned people who genuinely believe they are making the right decisions for the right reasons, based on the information they have available. What I hope this example highlights is the need to increase ‘the information they have available’. Hence my current thinking toward my Design-Based Research plan for the second half of this semester.
Sometimes you just have to do the best with what you have; continue to ask the important questions; fight the good fight and to try to bring about change, working from the bottom up! Or as David puts in – the inside-out!