4 June 2011

Classroom Connections

72 pencils : the making ofphoto © 2008 fdecomite | more info (via: Wylio)
My favourite platform for connecting with my classes is Edmodo, which is user-friendly for both learners and teachers. Learners like the similarities with Facebook,  how a teacher can help create their class library as well as keeping track of their continuous assessment grades.

With Edmodo, you can even incorporate games and polls, and a teacher can keep all their links and documents ready to share at a click.

What I particularly like with platforms such as Edmodo, is that neither learner nor teacher is dependent on the instution's VLE and can have access to their work at any time, from any place. And, when you first begin, all you need to do is create a group and then give the group code to learners or colleagues, who sign up on their own and join that group with the given code. Simple and clearly saves everyone time. 

19 Pencils  is another LMS platform worth looking into.   With 19 Pencils you can manage and share content with students, collect websites, share quizzes and track students' progress. 

Welcome to 19Pencils from 19 Pencils on Vimeo.

Another choice to connect to the classroom is Bloust. Bloust is a social network which allows teachers, students and parents to connect. It helps lesson planning, helps teachers to work together and also manages assignments and grade distribution. 

You need to sign up and create a profile, and then invite learners to your network. 

Desmos is yet another interesting platform to look into. Desmos is an interactive whiteboard which uses drag and drop facilities, and which you can then share with students. 

Danny Nicholson, who  has a great blog -
 The Whiteboard Blog - and shares tips and advice for Interactive Whiteboards, Promethean and SMARTboards, as well as a list of interactive whiteboard essentials. 

Do prefer your institution's VLE or setting up your own social network for your classes?


  1. We use moodle and mybit which seem to cover most bases but are occasionally quite clunky and not very user friendly. I do think if these things were more user friendly it would help a lot especially with teachers "of a certain age" (including me) :) who didn't grow up with this stuff and feel overwhelmed by it. Not to mention the lack of time factor.
    This is a really interesting post which I will share at work. Desmos seems very interesting indeed. It's a kind of interactive webpage is it?

  2. Hi David,

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. I tend to agree with you that an institution's VLE can be clunky and not so user-friendly, especially in regard to multi-media. The only drawback I have had with Edmodo was once when it was going through maintenance and of course, not available to access; fortunately it didn't last long and the site was up and running by the time I was back in a classroom.

    I've also had that glitch some time ago with WetPaint wikis but then again, glitches do happen whether with digital or analogue materials :-)

    As for Desmos, I am not sure how interactive it really is; it's more to create and share content. As I am heading towards the examination period, I didn't want to introduce one more platform to students at this point in time. But I'm definitely going to try it out soon!

    On another note, let me tell you how much I appreciate your blog and all the energy and inspiration you share with so many! Thank you for your suggestions and great ideas!

  3. Thanks for mentioning 19Pencils.com. We're new but we hope to be the easiest to use, so that educators can do what they do best instead of monkeying around with technology.


  4. Hi NeillK,

    Thank you for passing by and taking time to leave a comment. I haven't used 19 Pencils yet as I've been using Edmodo and my academic year is now heading towards an end, but I do intend to try it out and see how my students feel about it next academic year.

    It is a great addition to digital tools that teachers already have access to.