Do you use Edmodo? This is a site that we just started using at our school. It appears to have the look of Facebook, but is a lot safer to use as a way to reach your students outside of the regular classroom. My students love Edmodo. I think it is a great way to reach students electronically and continue the conversations outside of my office.Edmodo allows Counselors and Teachers to communicate with their students, post discussion questions, polls, and reminders for students in specific groups. The beauty of Edmodo is you can create a "Group" that can be specific to only certain students. When you create a group, Edmodo automatically creates a group code. Only students who have been given that code can join that group and see the discussion being held on Edmodo. I have created groups for each of my small groups. So my 5th grade Study Skills group will only be discussing with their peers who are also in that group and my 3rd grade Study Skills group will only be discussing with their 3rd grade peers. If I post a question, poll, or group reminder, it shows up as an alert in the notification box only for the students in the group I post it to. Like Facebook, students can also send you direct messages and you can reply without the rest of the members viewing the private discussion.
At first, I was a bit worried about students abusing the cyber social interactions. So far, the discussions have been appropriate and I have not seen any type of cyber bullying. To be safe, though, I have my group settings set to "moderate all posts" before they are posted. The students aren't crazy about this, but they are getting used to it.
An example of a discussion question I posted in my 5th Grade Study Skills Edmodo group was, "Today we learned some strategies to focus in class. Name one strategy you think will work for you and describe how that strategy will help." I've also used a poll to survey the students on their favorite activity. Once a student posted, "I wish I could never make mistakes cause I make a lot." This was a great opportunity for some help not only from me, but from her peers. One student replied, "yeah everyone makes mistakes if we didn't pencils wouldn't have erasers." I thought that was a perfect response and it came from her peer! Hooray!
Edmodo also takes into consideration of allowing parents to monitor their student's accounts. Parents can see what their child is posting, but can not post themselves.
Do you Edmodo ? If so, how are you using it? I would love to hear about your use of technology when counseling students!