As I sit in the lab, watching my students engaging in a discussion on Edmodo, I’m struck by how quickly one site has become the hub around which my classes spin (see my previous post about how Edmodo has changed my classroom). I’m constantly thinking of new ways to make old assignments more vibrant, social, and collaborative. Edmodo is great, but it could be better. Here are a few modifications that would take Edmodo to the next level:
Gradebook - Here’s a great example of the balance of simplicity. The Edmodo gradebook doesn’t try to do too much – no weighting or custom scales – but it’s almost too simple to be really useful, so here’s what I’d like to see:
- Student IDs – The gradebook has an export feature, but my desktop gradebook uses the student ID as an import key, so export/import doesn’t work for me (and most others, I imagine).
- Custom rubrics – I use a 4 point rubric for writing assignments, so it would be nice if my students just saw MS (Meets Standard) instead of a score.
- Maybe the best solution would be to leave the built-in gradebook as-is, but allow users to replace it with a full featured gradebook. Integration with other services is something Edmodo does really well, so why not save yourself the hassle and outsource your gradebook (might I suggest LearnBoost).
Calendar - It’s a nice idea, and I love that it automatically adds my assignments, but here’s what I need to really make it useful:
- Make it public – My school has a web page where all teachers keep a calendar of their assignment due dates, so it would be great if I could embed a public version of my Edmodo calendar right there, at least as a start.
- Enable CalDAV – Even better, just let me synch the Edmodo calendar with my other calendars! I’ve got calendars in Zimbra, Google, iCal and Edmodo; so far, the only one that doesn’t play nicely with the rest is Edmodo.
- Alternatively, scrap the built-in calendar all together and let me choose an external calendar service (Google) to embed and update.
Other Bits - All of the other little ideas floating around in my head:
- Facebook-style “like” button – While I encourage thoughtful and constructive commentary on posts, there are some times when a solid thumbs up says it all. My students have suggested a “gold star” button, which I think is brilliant!
- Sticky posts – When the wall gets busy, the important posts get pushed down into the abyss. A simple “sticky” check box would allow me to keep assignments or important posts visible until they are no longer pertinent.
- A “Posts from the instructor” button – There’s no easy, built-in way for students to only view posts from their teacher(s). I’ve gotten around this using tags, but the system breaks down quickly when I forget to tag a post (which I do fairly often).
- SSO – Make Edmodo a true one-stop-shop. I already embed Glogs, Animotos and Quizlets, how much better would life be if logging into Edmodo also logged you into all of those sites you use with Edmodo?
If you’ve got features you’d like to see (of if you think my ideas are just plain batty), leave a comment.