For tech task ten we were asked to use and evaluate two educational social networking sites for students and teachers. We decided to compare Schoololgy and Edmodo. I have heard of Edmodo in the past and as far as I know it is a popular site for elementary school teachers and their classrooms. I like the fact that both these sites use Facebook style content but is completely controlled by the teacher. Both the sites have communication tools, discussion boards, assignments, quizzes, and notifications. As we worked through both sites my group members and I took on the roles of the teachers, students and parents to see the difference between these programs.
Edmodo and Schoololgy both have communication tools. There is the ability to communicate with the parents of the children on both sites and I think that this is a great tool because sometimes paper notes do not make their way home. In Edmodo and Schoolology the teacher can send private messages to both the student and the parents but in Edmodo the parent can not contact the teacher. I think this is a big fault in this program. Schoolology takes the win on this one.
The disscussion boards are a great tool for students to learn from each other and that should not be missed. With Edmodo there is a “wall” that everyone can post too. On the other hand, Schoology has the ability to create various discussion boards for different topics and this is a great tool to catagorize the discussions. On schoolology the parents can also view the discussion. Again, in the catagory of discussion, Schoology takes the win.
For assignments and quizzes I believe that both the programs have big problems. Both sites have a calendar of upcoming quizzes and due dates which is helpful but the style of assessment is lacking, and I believe it is taking a step back on how assessment is changing within this education system. Any assessment that could be done on these sites could also be done on paper so I suppose that these programs are saving the trees. The problem with the multiple choice quizzes on these programs are that kids can not show their work. As a future teacher I believe that multiple choice quizzes, especially in my area (math and science) deserve marks for work and the thinking process. The multiple choice test is just incredibly limited. The fill in the blanks and short answer quizzes are marked based on spelling which is not always good because students may have had the right answer but the computer will mark it as wrong and the teacher must go through and fix it. My main problem with these programs is the long answer format. I do not understand why a teacher would use these programs for an essay as the feedback becomes so limited. I believe that students should get good written feedback on their writing or else they can not improve and these programs limit improvement in writing. In the case of assesment, I do not perfer either.
As a parent, Schoolology was much more user friendly. It had one section of all the grades of your student in all the subjects that they are in. The teacher can also add in the grades of the assignments that they do not complete on Schoolology so the mark in the entirety of the class is kept up to date and accurate. We could not find this same function on Edmodo. The parent page for Edmodo was also much tougher to navigate when finding the child’s marks. As a teacher, I loved the grade book on schoology as you can view all of your kids grades in every subject all on the same page. It was essentially an electronic grade book which is helpful for quick reference of the whole class. Again, schoology comes out on top.
Between the ease of use and the features I much prefer the Schoolology program. As a high school teach I would never use these programs as they are too elementary and do not provide what I need as a teacher. I can see how this would be a great tool for young kids in teaching them the importance of group learning, discussion and safe social networking. By introducing a young student to a controlled social network they begin to learn good netiquette which is important in their digital identity. These programs should be used sparingly with other teaching techniques and strategies.