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Facebook for School?

Posted on Sep 18, 2012

Facebook absolutely baffles me. Just the other day, I was sitting around thinking about what we did in our passing time before we had apps and Facebook to waste the minutes on (some real heavy nostalgia, right?). It’s totally addictive, to the point that I deactivate my account each time finals week rolls around. Today, after reading the article, Edmodo Evolves Closer to In-School Social Network, I’m thinking about how productive it can be.

Mimicking Facebook, Edmodo is basically a social network for education that, “provides teachers and students a secure place to connect and collaborate, share content and educational applications, and access homework, grades, class discussions, and notifications.”

According to a Statista survey, Facebook users spend about 6.5 hours a month on the site (I think that number is a bit light). Either way, it makes sense to design an educational platform in this way, everyone knows what it is and almost everyone uses it. Even my sixty-three year old father has some idea what it is, though he doesn’t use it and, at times, calls it SpaceBook.

Students can pop on their Edmodo account after school and post questions about homework to the newsfeed they call the “activity stream.” They can turn in assignments directly to the teacher and teachers can grade and send it back to them right away. With notifications, teachers have another way to remind students of what assignments they have due. There’s even an application for mobile phones.

For teachers, Edmodo is a service they can use to make the classroom a more collaborative environment. They can take a “Classroom Pulse,” which tells the teacher the overall class reactions to a lesson or topic while students can tell the teacher if a lesson was unclear or if they enjoyed the way it was delivered. Just like sharing a link on Facebook or posting to someone’s wall, teachers can share lesson plans, ideas, and connect with other schools and teachers using the program – which reached 10 million users just a few days ago. They provide this great graphic detailing what’s been achieved so far.

I really like the concept behind Edmodo. It’s a great tool to add to a school’s utility belt, it’s fun, accessible, and free; any school can use it, anywhere. Despite its extreme availability, there remains the ever-present problem of some students not having access to a personal computer and some schools unable to find funding to supply them with one. As computers are becoming more and more essential to our daily lives, I trust that we will find more ways to make them available to everyone – that’s simply supply and demand, so keep on demanding.

Kyle Vineyard is a senior majoring in English at the University of Kansas. He has a passion for the written word and a soft spot for rural America.

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