Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Edmodo: A Year On

At the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year, my colleague and I decided to sign up for Edmodo and make it a central part of our program.  In fact, we got our students registered to the website on the very first day of school.  We were so impressed with Edmodo that we wrote a blog post about it, where we introduced our audience to some of the brilliant features available on the website and how it truly engaged our students at the time.  

The purpose of this post, however, is to share with you some of the lessons we learned now that we have been working with Edmodo for a full academic year.


Our previous blog post about Edmodo was written in the middle of the academic year last year at a time when our students were truly engaged and enthusiastic about the website.  Our students were literally contacting us and their peers every evening after school.  They were sharing pictures and interesting links that they had found on the web. We simply couldn’t believe that our students were using their newly-learned English skills outside of the classroom. 

Here is an example of a student asking for a vocabulary assignment after school.

This level of engagement, sadly to say, did not last throughout the rest of the year.  We came to realize that there were, in fact, several highs and lows during the year.  From about October to the end of December, we achieved unbelievable success.  Then, however, came the final weeks of the semester and the two-week holiday following that.  Quite understandably, being 14 and 15 year olds, our students wanted absolutely nothing to do with school for those few weeks.  They became bored and only thought about their upcoming holidays, during which they had completely forgotten about school.  Once the second semester started in February, it took nearly another few weeks to get them engaged with Edmodo, let alone with school.  There were many days during this period when he had the chance of snow and school possibly being closed. 

The snowy weather affected student engagement.

It is sometimes difficult to believe, but this had a major impact on our teaching for several weeks.  As much as we tried, we could not get most of them engaged again.  In the end, I suppose our constant complaining about their overall lack of effort got them back on the saddle in March, and we went through another two months of great success where we made some massive achievements, which are highlighted upon in the attached video below.  As per usual, there was another steep drop in engagement in the final few weeks of school, which we are all familiar with as educators.


The following video gives a brief two-minute introduction to Edmodo itself.  Then, it explains our strategies and rules for improving student engagement with the website.


In addition to the information learned about the levels of engagement, we also discovered that, while Edmodo is a brilliant educational website, it doesn’t guarantee you success simple because you got your class registered.  It takes dedication from the teachers to keep posting information about homework, projects and other assignments on a daily basis, not to mention constant reminders to students to check the website.  I have heard of stories from other teachers who had initial success from using Edmodo, but then lost total engagement from students because they themselves did not keep updating their class page.  Dedication to post information during as well as after school, even via the mobile app, is paramount to finding success with Edmodo.      


Rule #1 - An English-Only Platform

Finally, another vital strategy for achieving success is to set up some basic rules for your students as soon as you get to sign up to Edmodo.  The first, and most important, rule for students is that Edmodo must be an English-only platform.  They are free to ask us and their peers anything related to school, even other subject besides English, as long as it is in English.  If this rule is broken, the student is warned and their comments are immediately deleted from the page. 
Students writing and responding on Edmodo only in English.

Some teachers may assume that students may not respect the English-only paradigm on your Edmodo class page.  We also had reservations about it at the beginning of the year.  We had expected our students to use L1 from time to time, especially when communicating with their classmates.  We were blown away, however, when not only did they use L1, but that they were only responding to each other in English!  This is unheard of in the realm of ELT.  One incident truly stands out for us during the course of our first year using Edmodo as our home page.  One student had forgotten what the Math homework was one evening.  He came onto our class page, even though Math was not connected to us at all, and asked his classmates about the homework in English.  Then, the others responded to him in English!  It is such a minute example, but we could not believe it!  The fact that they were responding to each other in English about a non-English lesson was truly unbelievable for us.  At this point in the year, we had already experienced what benefits Edmodo brought to our lessons, but this was an unexpected bonus!

Rule #2 - Give Responsibility to Students to Check it Daily

On top of the English-only rule, it is also extremely important that you tell your students that they must check Edmodo every day.  It is indeed difficult to get any student to check a website, other than Facebook and Twitter, every day, but you have to stick with this rule. 

Our students using Edmodo in the classroom.
One strategy that we use to do this is to tell our students that from time to time there will be some important information about class that they can only get on Edmodo.  This could be information, for example, about an upcoming pop quiz the following day.  If the students fail to check Edmodo after school, they won’t know about the pop quiz, and thus not do very well on it.  They will moan and complain that it isn’t fair, but all you have to do is remind them that it is one of the rules that were established at the beginning of the year.  It is guaranteed that they will check Edmodo from that day forward.


  • It is vital that you set up your Edmodo class page on the first day of school.
  • Teachers must consistently update the class page to keep students interested and to show them that it is indeed a major component of the course.
  • Set up some basic rules before registering students.  Two of the rules should be keeping an English-only platform and making students responsible for checking the website daily.
  • Even if you put in a maximum effort on your Edmodo page, you should expect students to have ups and down in their engagement, but don't give up.

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