Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Group or Small Group? An Edmodo dilemma

For the past two years I have used and I find the platform is more than sufficient to meet my growing online classroom needs. In fact, the company generally manages to create new options faster than I can think of them (though I have a couple I'm still waiting for!)

One of the nice features of Edmodo is the ability to quickly and easily create groups. Each group is given a unique code, and the students (or educators) can only enter the group once they have that code. Every group is distinct from any other group a teacher creates. Many teachers choose to create one group for each class in their rotations. However, some teachers choose to put all of the 'like' classes into one group and from there choose to use the 'small group' feature.

What is a small group?
A small group is a collection of students that are currently enrolled in a group, which the teacher then chooses and adds to a 'small group' of the same full group. Once the small group is created, a teacher can send notes, assignments, etc. just to that small group. Using this technique a teacher can bring all of their 'like' classes into one larger group and then create small groups for when online content needs to be distinct for one class over the other. In my example, I have a small group, Advanced Web Design, that is part of my larger group Web Design Spring 2012. I can then share some things with everyone, and I can choose to limit other items to just the advanced group.

This method has three great advantages

  1. The teacher does not need to create duplicates of notes, quizzes, assignments, etc. All of the work can be created and posted just once to the overall group.
  2. When the teacher does need to target one class or another, she can easily do so right in the flow of everything else. 
  3. This method will significantly increase the interaction between students who are physically kept in different classrooms. They will share ideas, read interesting thoughts, and discover wonderful online resources from students who study the same things, but with whom they would never get to interact otherwise.
Easily choose the subgroup when choosing who to send a new 'Note' or 'Assignment' to

  • You may wish to avoid this method if you heavily rely on the grading within Edmodo as it could add to your work load of needing to separate out the students to move the data out to your gradebook program. Not a deal breaker, just something to consider.
  • Find the Edmodo instructions for how to create Small Groups through this link. The basic steps are to click 'Manage' by group members and then click "+Create Small Group" on the left.

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