Children really enjoy being members of different groups on Edmodo and here is a list of the groups that I've created so far that children at my school can choose to join:
- Barnaby Bear - children can share photos/diary entries of their adventures with the class soft toy when they take him home.
- Book Reviews - children can write reviews of their favourite books to encourage their friends to read them.
- Doctor Who - fans of the programme can read spoilers about future episodes and discuss older stories.
- E-Safety - children can access some links teaching them how to stay safe online and what to do if the feel worried about something.
- Newsround - children can read about current events through the automatic linking of the BBC's RSS feed into the group.
- Website of the Week - children send me suggestions and I publish an interesting, often 'creative' site on the group each week (useful for sharing new things immediately with the children rather than having to wait to find space in my planning).
Since I like to award a badge to a child when they join a group as an incentive to do so, I like to allow any child the chance to join most of my groups - I normally do this by sending out a message on Edmodo to every class containing both the join code and a link to the group join request page (so they can join it in the way that they find easiest).
Obviously, having children of different ages talking/chatting with each other isn't always ideal (e.g. peer pressure, disrupts the main content/purpose of the group) so it's reassuring to know therefore that Edmodo offers a few settings that group owners can change to make their members contribute effectively:
- messages can be held for moderation before publishing so that they can be checked for suitability first;
- pupils can be set to 'read-only' so that they can only turn in assignments and message to teachers in a particular group - not send messages to the whole group;
- any teachers set to 'co-teacher' status on the members page can edit/delete messages when they feel it is necessary.
Occasionally, there may be times when you might want to restrict access to a group and I've heard some great stories from schools that have tried this:
- a group for the school council;
- a group for children in a particular club/team;
- a group for more confident writers to set them extra writing tasks;
- a group for a a set of children working together on a class project.
Indeed, I've also read some really good success stories from schools who have set up groups to facilitate collaboration between schools - such as digital leaders sharing their ideas for using innovative technology in the classroom.
With the Olympics coming up, I feel that getting children to engage with the competition via Edmodo has huge potential (especially considering that it's during the summer holidays when school is closed) - I've just yet to decide how best to go about setting up/running such a group. Do you have any inspiring ideas?