Edmodo, like Engrade, is a free online tool used in schools that allows parents, teachers and students to interact and share information about a particular class. For parents, this is a great way to keep track of your child’s upcoming assignments, class news, and grades. Students love it because all of the information about the class is conveniently located online and can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection. Tools like Edmodo and Engrade are great for teachers as well because they are powerful ways to organize and collaborate with students and their parents.
Here are some of the key features of Edmodo:
- Digital gradebook accessible to parents, teachers and students (parents and students can only view their particular grades)
- View upcoming assignments
- Create online quizzes
- Create polls
- Send personal messages to teacher
- Add RSS feeds to your class page
- Integration with Google Docs
- Upload documents and links for the class to view
- Create badges
- Connect with other teachers
- Text alerts for any updates
As you can see, that’s quite an extensive list. Since both Engrade and Edmodo are free, which one is the better option? We think Engrade!
Edmodo is visually appealing with a Facebook style layout. In terms of appearance, Edmodo scores an A+. Check out the screenshot below of Edmodo’s Facebook style layout.
As you can see, Edmodo shares an uncanny resemblance to Facebook. In fact, we think it tries to too hard to be like Facebook. More on that later.
Setting up a class is a snap. Click on “create new group” on the left hand side of your homepage. You should be prompted with a few simple questions regarding your class.
Fill in the class name, grade, subject area and subject.
After you create your class, you will be given an access code. Students and parents will need this access code to access the class on Edmodo. Now that your class is set up, lets dig into some of the features.
My favorite feature by far on Edmodo is the library file system and the integration with Google Docs. The library section, accessible on the top of your homepage, is a fabulous and visually appealing way to upload documents and links. While Engrade features a filing system, we prefer Edmondo’s due to its aesthetics and ease of use. You can view the library in the screenshot below.
You can view all of the accessible documents for the class here. Edmodo provides an easy and visually appealing way to access these documents.
The ability to integrate Google Docs with your class on Edmodo has to be my favorite feature of either of the two free online tools. Google Docs is an online word processor that allows individuals to share and edit documents all online! Every time a change is made, your Google Docs are automatically updated and synched to the cloud. You can access Google Docs from any web browser presuming you have an internet connection. If you are still unsure of what Google Docs is, you can learn more about it here. To access Google Docs on Edmodo, click on the Library button on the top of your homepage. Afterwards, click on Google Docs on the left side panel.
For Google Docs junkies (there are a lot of you out there) this feature will come in handy. You can view a screenshot of Edmodo’s integration with Google Docs below.
Once a student clicks on a document, they will have the option to download the document or edit it via Google Docs.
Another fabulous feature of Edmodo is the ability to create polls for students and parents. To do this, click “more” on the homepage and select “polls” from the menu. This is a great way to probe students for answers without them having to make their opinion public. For example, a great poll would be, ” Did we go through chapter 7 too fast-should we do a quick review?”. Students love this feature because they can voice their opinion without having to face the peer pressures of the classroom. You can view a poll in action below.
Any polls, notes, or updates will appear on your homepage via the Facebook style layout.
A nifty feature of Edmodo is the ability to create badges. This is an excellent way of rewarding a student for their efforts. To do this, go to your homepage, and click on the ‘create badges for students’ button on the bottom right. Please note, you have to upload your own an image-Edmodo does not come with any preset badges. See how some teachers are using the badges feature below!
A great way to reward students or an unnecessary distraction? You decide!
To stay up with the latest news, you can choose to receive a notification every time an individual makes any changes to the class’s Edmodo page. The best part? You can have any notifications sent to your cell phone via text! How cool is that? To do this, click on ‘account’ on the top right and scroll to ‘settings’ (should be the first option available). Choose ‘text’ under ‘notification type’ on the right.
Although very similar to Edmodo, the features listed above are not included in Engrade. You can read more about Engrade and its features here.
Why we prefer Engrade
Despite all of these really great features, we found Engrade much more intuitive. Engrade may not have all the bells and whistles that Edmodo has, but Engrade is simple and easy to use. After all, isn’t that really the point? We believe parents, teachers and students will spend so much time trying to use these features that using Edmodo will waste more time than saving!
Another feature that we weren’t particularly fond of is the profile section. Users have the ability to create a profile where they share favorite quotes, career goals, and other interesting facts. We want our students to use Edmodo as an education tool, not as a social media site. We don’t want our teachers having to worry about their students posting inappropriate content in their profile.
Engrade and Edmodo are two free online tools that should be used in EVERY school nation-wide. No matter which site you choose, it will change the way students,parents and teachers interact!