Thursday, October 13, 2016

EDMODO-A beneficial digital tool for ELT

edmodo – a beneficial digital tool for English language teachers

Sree Lakshmi Ammanamanchi,
Lecturer,English Language Centre,
Al Musanna College of Technology,
Al Muladah,Sultanate of Oman.

The paper aims at investigating the usefulness of m-learning in teaching English. It is focused on Edmodo, a web platform which enables sharing information, participating in the discussions, passing the tests, and monitoring the progress. It contains information about the usefulness of this application, its advantages, and the principles of work. The paper explains why it is beneficial for the community. It also examines possible limitations and relevant issues that can occur.

Web technologies are known to become an indispensable constituent of learning the process. Teachers, children, and parents use a wide range of applications to develop a diverse learning environment and improve participation, feedback, and interactivity. One of the newest applications which are currently used in learning foreign languages is Edmodo. It is a network platform which enables students and teachers to share educational applications and content, connect and collaborate with each other, and access notifications, grades, homework, and class discussions[1]. Although Edmodo has several limitations and raises some relevant issues, it is still regarded as a useful tool in learning English.
Edmodo offers a wide array of advantages to its users. Kumelashvili (2016) states that it is the greatest challenge for a teacher to meet the varied needs of learners in a classroom. Edmodo seems to solve this problem by allowing tutors to post homework online, thus helping to differentiate it. Differentiation of the tasks helps students to study effectively whereas the teachers can monitor their progress through testing, quizzes, and polls. Edmodo poll is a tool which is used by the teachers to examine what skills should be developed – reading, writing, listening, or speaking[2]. This knowledge allows planning homework assignments regarding students` needs.
Edmodo strengthens a sense of community in learners, making them feel respected and significant. Students make a connection between their interests, curriculum, and life experiences, thus understanding better the purpose of each task and the overall objective of the course. This knowledge appears to increase the effectiveness of learning process. With the help of Edmodo, the teachers create a motivating environment in which supportive adults push learners slightly beyond so that they can learn without the assistance. Kumelashvili (2016) has discovered that the use of this application stimulates students to reduce the time between the tasks given[3]. Edmodo also allows to leave commentaries and share opinions and experiences about the tasks and resources.
Edmodo does not only facilitate the differentiation of the tasks but also allows to attach a variety of file types, including Word doc, MP3, PPT, gif, PDF, Excel, jpeg, and others. The users can share web site links and embed flash objects such as Google forms, games, YouTube videos, etc. Games can help to learn new vocabulary items or grammar rules. Giang and Minh (2014) state that it is possible to make tests and games in Microsoft Office Word or similar software, including Cross-Word. The materials are then uploaded to the home page. As soon as the task is uploaded, the students receive notifications and are required to complete it within the given amount of time[4]. If they manage to do the assignment, they will be automatically marked. However, if the students fail, they will get a warning.
The video also conveys useful information about foreign language and helps to train listening. Each file can be supported with useful links to assignment or note (online dictionaries, forums, etc.). Testing materials are also convenient as this platform enables teachers to create quizzes, analyze the results, and estimate whether the learning goals have been accomplished. The analysis allows a tutor to make appropriate changes in the program, types of activities, etc[5]. Evidently, Edmodo makes the learning environment more flexible and adaptive to students` needs.
Student activity in Edmodo can be monitored. It means that teachers can examine how much time is spent on the learning process, how many times a student visits the platform, what they are interested in, and what commentaries or question they post[6]. Tutors can monitor the level of learners` productivity and determine what types of activity are the most engaging and efficient. Edmodo presupposes “quiet discussion,” meaning that the students can communication only in written form. The avoidance of verbal discussion is a good way to give a voice to all the learners, including the quietest and shy participants. Students feel less nervous and express their thoughts in a clear, comprehensible form. 
This application is free to use. The teachers have to register and create a domain for their school. The site is beneficial as the administrators are empowered to send links, alerts, notes, and polls to the school, class, teachers, and parents. The events and reminders can be added to the calendar that can be viewed by both students and educators[7]. Edmodo is an application which has been designed for Windows, IOS, and Android and can be easily downloaded from Apple or Google store. It increases the mobility of the learning process as students and teachers get an opportunity to participate in activities, regardless of the location. 
Finally, Edmodo aims at involving the community in the learning process. For this reason, it ensures that parents can become a part of educational process. It is possible for them to create parent accounts and get access to assignments and grades of their children. They are also allowed to communicate directly with the teachers. The tutors also get an opportunity to inform the parents about the forthcoming events, missed assignments, and students` progress. The online platform has archives which allow reviewing the materials later if it is necessary[8]. If an assignment is made successfully, the teacher can also delete it.
Limitations and Relevant Issues
Although Edmodo offers multiple advantages to its users, there are still some limitations that can prevent the learners from the successful performance. The greatest obstacle that prevents teachers and students from full reliance on Edmodo is associated with the quality of electronic devices. Edmodo has been designed for mobile devices and PCs. Its core objective is to provide remote control to the discussion section, materials, and assignments. If a student is unable to download this application to their mobile device, the effectiveness of Edmodo is being significantly decreased. The insufficient memory of smartphone makes it impossible to download Edmodo and join educational process[9]. Limited access to learning materials makes it difficult to pass the test successfully. The second limitation is associated with a battery charge of the device. Low battery voltage may prevent a student from passing the quiz or doing the assignment on time. Finally, the use of Edmodo requires the users to have the Internet connection. Otherwise, they cannot access the information, participate in the discussion or any relevant assignment[10]. It limits the working process, making it less convenient than face-to-face interaction. The limitations raise several issues, concerning the effectiveness of M-learning. To ensure adequate systematic learning, the schools, where Edmodo is used, are expected to provide every learner with the updated tablets or smartphones. Moreover, it is necessary to create the areas with uninterrupted Internet connection so to enable students to join the classes quickly. It will guarantee equality in learning, access to information, and participation in quizzes or discussions. 
In closing, it is necessary to say that m-learning has recently become one of the most progressive ways to learn English. It can be used both as a primary and as a supportive tool for teachers. It enables them to share useful learning materials with the students, monitors their interest in the subject and progress in acquiring four skills which are reading, writing, listening, and speaking. A teacher gets an opportunity to upload files of different formats and encourage students to join discussions. Regardless of its limitations, Edmodo increases the effectiveness of learning process.

Bayne, Gail Alleyne. “Asynchronous Communication Tools,” Foundations of Distance Education, 2015.
Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, “Collaborative Learning with Edmodo: An Effective Language Teacher Training Tool,” DLIFLC, 2011. 
Fernández-Ulloa, Teresa. “Teaching with Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter and.” California State University, 2013: 1-59. 
Giang, Tran Ngoc and Nguyen van Minh. “Edmodo – a New Effective Blended Learning Solution.” Leadership and Management in Higher Education for Sustainable Development, 2014: 1-6.
Kumelashvili, Khatuna. “Teaching Foreign Language by Using Technology – Virtual Classroom Edmodo.” Online Journal of Humanities 1, no. 1 (2016): 1-7.
Stroud, Casey. “Edmodo: A White Paper.” Connecting Technology & Curriculum, 2010.
“The Edmodo Teacher Guide. The Social Learning Network for the Classroom.” Edmodo, 2016.
Uzun, Erman. “Students’ Attitude Towards Edmodo as a Supplementary Tool for Higher Education.” Mersin University, 2015: 78-83.

[1]Teresa Fernández-Ulloa, “Teaching with Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter and,” California State University, 2013: 46.
[2]KhatunaKumelashvili, “Teaching Foreign Language by Using Technology – Virtual Classroom Edmodo,” Online Journal of Humanities 1, no. 1 (2016): 3.
[3]Ibid., 4.
[4]Casey Stroud, “Edmodo: A White Paper,” Connecting Technology & Curriculum, 2010.
[5] “The Edmodo Teacher Guide. The Social Learning Network for the Classroom,” Edmodo, 2016.
[6]Gail Alleyne Bayne, “Asynchronous Communication Tools,” Foundations of Distance Education, 2015.
[7]Tran Ngoc Giang and Nguyen van Minh, “Edmodo – a New Effective Blended Learning Solution,” Leadership and Management in Higher Education for Sustainable Development, 2014: 3
[8]Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, “Collaborative Learning with Edmodo: An Effective Language Teacher Training Tool,” DLIFLC, 2011. 
[9]Al-Said, Khaleel. “Students' Perceptions of Edmodo and Mobile Learning and their Real Barriers towards Them.” The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology 14, no. 2 (2015):167-180.
[10]ErmanUzun, “Students’ Attitude Towards Edmodo as a Supplementary Tool for Higher Education,” Mersin University, 2015: 82.  

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