Last year I decided I wanted to start a class blog in order to keep students and parents updated with the daily happenings in my classroom. After spending a few days setting up a blog and organizing my classes I realized I didn’t really have a plan for my blog and it’s purpose. I didn’t know how to get started and wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with it once I got it all set up. I think the idea of having a blog seemed ideal and like something a 21st century teacher should be doing. I had good intentions, but I wasn’t sure how to accomplish what I wanted to. I had also decided to use Edmodo and thought that between using Edmodo and a classroom blog that students would have too many places to check in on. I didn’t know how to manage both Edmodo and the blog so I decided to forgo the blog and focus on using Edmodo (which I LOVE by the way!).
For anyone unfamiliar with Edmodo is its a website/app that looks almost identical to Facebook. You create a homepage for each class and invite students to join you by giving them access to your page through an access code. Once students join your page they can see any status update you make. It creates an ongoing timeline (just like Facebook) of anything you post to that class. You can update statuses that include files, videos, links and photos. You can also set a time and date for a status to appear which is convenient in planning ahed. I like to use it to update daily homework, provide test reminders, attach any handouts from the lessons or update video resources. I have also had students submit assignments using Edmodo as well. Students who are away from school can stay updated with what happened and can even catch up on readings or worksheets by downloading the. Students may post to the timeline as well which allows you or other students to answer or comment on their post. Private messages may be sent from the student to you also. It makes communication super easy and convenient especially if you use the app. Using the app allows you to communicate with students anytime anywhere. It also allows you to update information if you are away from school. After using Edmodo for the last year, I really don’t know what I would do without it and will continue to use it moving forward. Here is a short video showing you Edmodo at a glance.
Having listed all the different ways I have used Edmodo I realize that there are a lot of other ways to use it that I will have to explore soon. I would highly recommend Edmodo to any English teacher as there are a lot of writing applications. I haven’t had much luck finding ways to integrate more math into Edmodo other than uploading videos as additional resources to a lesson. Maybe I could update a different math riddle each day? If you have used Edmodo in your math class I would love to hear from you. I also came across this list of ways to use Edmodo in different classes that might be worth checking out if you teach high school courses.
Now that I’ve talked up Edmodo enough, I need to get back to the purpose of this post. Why blog when I can use Edmodo? Last year I decided to give up the hopes of having a class blog and decided to go solely with Edmodo because it is a quicker way to update information and I really like the ease of communication between students and myself. I understand that if I wanted to provide more detailed information about something that a blog might be a better place to do that. I never really thought more about why I should have a class blog after I started working with Edmodo, but having started a blog for my graduate class I feel like I might be able to make it work in my classroom.
I have spent some time looking at different blogs on this edubloggers list and I have a better idea of the purpose a blog might have in my class. I do like that blogs can be public so they reach out to people beyond your classroom. Edublogs has created a list of ten ways to use your edublog as a teacher that provides some great ideas for using a blog to go beyond creating simple updates about your classroom. I like that students can be involved in the blogging process and can even have blogs of their own.
All that being said, I am still struggling to see the point of using a blog when I can use Edmodo to do the same thing only quicker. Maybe I am wrong and maybe you can help convince me otherwise. Do I stick with Edmodo and continue to forget about the blogging? Do I implement a blog for each of my classes (as a side note I teach high school math and business classes)? What is your experience with a teacher/class blog? How do you use it? I would love to hear from anyone with a blog and would love a link to your blog so I can check it out and see how you use it.