My Digital Humanities-loving husband has bombarded me with enough forwards about creative social media use in the classroom that I’ve realized I have to start reading and wake up to it all. Students are social media savvy at least, and social media addicted at worst. For better or for worse, it’s one of the primary ways that they they connect to their world. Why wouldn’t I want to incorporate that mode of communication into my classroom?
I entertained the possibility of using Twitter in the Comp classroom but decided against it because I’m a Twitter newbie. I toyed with incorporating blogging into my class but decided against that because the thought of reading and commenting on 50 + blogs seemed incredibly overwhelming.
When I first got jazzed about using social media in my classroom, I wanted to figure out a way to use Facebook. It seems to me that Facebook provides an interface that most students are comfortable with. It’s certainly an interface that I like, especially for sharing and discussing links to articles, videos and other things. Comfort, ease, familiarity: these things might make participation stronger, both on the student end and, to be honest, on mine.
But I don’t need or want the conflation of the personal and the professional that Facebook use in the classroom would invite. I’m also afraid of FERPA issues–putting too much of my students’ learning out in public, even if I try to make settings private.
Potential solution? Using EdModo, the Facebook for educators.
Here’s a brief overview of EdModo from wheretheclassroomends:
A great free app to use with your students. They also have an iPhone app and iPad app. It looks so similar to Facebook in terms of its layout and feature. Intuitive and easy to use with great features. You can create discussion threads on everything from images, to PDFs, to topics of your own choosing. Great demo video on their home page.
- Online discussions
- Students posting writing (thesis statements, examples, etc) to receive feedback
- Creating an online community for interaction amongst students
- Distributing information and content to students
- Student’s posts becoming artifacts for a digital writing portfolio
I hate how online grading through Blackboard often means that I need to grade either unformatted text or downloaded Word docs.
I love how on EdModo I can have students upload assignments, whereupon I can comment on them by annotating right there! without downloading anything. I also like that I can attach any additional overview comments, links or files to my annotated copy. I like how students have the option of printing off a pdf with my feedback, which will be easier for the student and the Writing Center tutor to read than my handwriting. I just like it all.
So I don’t know how the EdModo experiment will go, but I am excited for it. Certainly more excited than I’ve ever been for Blackboard…