I tried a class discussion on Edmodo today using a class set of laptops. I created 4-5 small groups in each American Lit class and posted the same questions to each group. My intention was to start with Edmodo and then move to oral discussion for the last half of class. However, they were so engaged that we just kept going with Edmodo. They did this for a solid 65 minutes!
Though not every group or question had the in-depth exchange of ideas I was hoping for, groups definitely improved over the course of the class period. I asked students to send me feedback via a direct message at the end of the class. 46 out of 51 students preferred the online discussion over a typical seminar discussion because they enjoyed the think time, felt as though they had better focus, and appreciated the chance to participate without having to talk out loud in front of the whole class. People who never talk during class had lengthy, thoughtful, and in-depth comments to share with their classmates. I even had a student who has an out of school suspension, but he was able to log into Edmodo and talk to his classmates in the same way he would have if he had been in the room.
I was excited by how well it worked—both in the level of participation by ALL students and in the quality of their comments. I still value the oral discussion and think students need to learn to be more comfortable with sharing their ideas in that way, but I will definitely do this again.
Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher
Valley High School