Have You Checked Edmodo Today?
How New Wesites are Helping SHS
Teachers and Students Succeed In and Out
of the Classroom

Jan. 15, 2013

    Since the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, Seaford High School teachers have been incorporating the use of assignment posting websites, such as schoolnotes.com and Edmodo, in increasing numbers, perhaps in an attempt to keep up with their technology-savvy students. With a free account, teachers can make their own page on either website, post homework assignments and supplemental readings, suggest videos that correspond to what was taught in class, and invite students to be notified when the page is updated.
    The premise of these websites is simple: to give teachers the ability to inform students of assignments and important materials anywhere that the students have internet access. The website schoolnotes.com states that the site was established in 1996 by the company Education World as a “place where teachers could gather and share ideas.” In 2006, the component was added that allowed teachers to create their own page and post their own assignments directly.
    Edmodo, a more recent “classroom enhancing” website was created in 2008. The sites co-founders, Nic Borg and Jeff O’Hara, “recognized the need to evolve the school environment to reflect the increasingly connected world.” The more Facebook-esque layout makes the site look familiar to many and a variety of features are offered to both students and teachers in order to encourage all parties to be active on the site. Edmodo gives both students and teachers the opportunity to post on the classes main “thread” once students create their own account and enter a code generated for each specific class. From there, teachers can post almost anything from discussions to suggested readings and even YouTube videos, with the goal of expanding on each lesson taught in class. There is also a wide variety of apps that can be added to a teacher’s page. Edmodo boasts that these apps can “personalize learning for every student,” though some do cost money for the teacher to purchase for their classes. At the time this article was written, 29,196,573 teachers and students were “connected” by Edmodo which shows the breadth that this website has already achieved in the six years since it was launched.
    What does the use of these sites mean for students at Seaford High School? Students can no longer simply say “I forgot there was homework.” With a few clicks any student or parent can easily log in and see what assignments a teacher has recently posted. With text and email alerts also linked to these pages, it is virtually impossible to “forget” if there was homework in the first place.
    Mrs. Karp, a Seaford High School social studies teacher, frequently uses Edmodo to update her classes about upcoming assignments and to post videos for her students to watch with the goal to reinforce topics from class. In an interview, Mrs. Karp said she first learned about Edmodo at a conference last fall where the presenter was using the site to its fullest capabilities. Mrs. Karp cited the many advantages of using these types of websites, including using less paper, more efficient means of communicating with students and parents simultaneously and the ability to easily catch up students who were absent from class. When asked about how students in her classes are responding, Mrs. Karp said that in general, they like it, however, she is surprised “that more students are not checking and availing themselves to the new technology.” Mrs. Karp mentioned that in previous districts she has worked in, sites like Edmodo were more a part of the school’s culture. When asked about how important she thinks Edmodo is moving forward, Mrs. Karp said, “It can revolutionize everything and solve so many problems.”
    Students have similar responses to these sites. Traci Nickdow, a senior at Seaford High School, says that several of her teachers use either Edmodo or SchoolNotes to keep their classes informed. When asked how often she checks these sites during a typical week, she responded, “I get notifications sent to my phone and I log on after I get a notification. If I haven’t gotten a notification in a while I’ll usually check once or twice a week.” When asked if she thinks that these sites have benefitted her, Traci responded, “Yes, one of my teachers has used the site to post review sheets and practice tests which are really helpful.”
    In coming years it is likely that the popularity of these sites and similar sites will only increase as the benefits of using them are noticed, both in and out of the classroom. With schools spending more and more money to keep updated with the latest technology, it only makes sense that teachers will follow suit and begin to host their own webpages for assignments and additional help for their students. This movement shows the increasing importance of technology and social media in all aspects of life, including education.

Mrs. Karp updating her Edmodo page.
>photo by: Danny Ryan

Sample teacher Edmodo page.

Sample teacher SchoolNotes page.