The first site to take on the mighty Edmodo is Edu 2.0. To avoid confusion, there is an edu20.org (which is what is being reviewed and discussed today) and an edu20.com (which is a paid site targeting businesses). They are both from the same creator (Graham Glass) and look similar, so if you accidentally stumble upon the other site take a quick peak at the address bar. To get all the details.
So, does Edu 2.0 have what it takes to strip Edmodo of the belt? Have they been taking their vitamins? Are they ready to rumbbbbble? Are they . . . OK this is getting ridiculous. Here’s the answer: no. Edmodo is still better than Edu 2.0 and to get all the details on how I came to this conclusion read on past the break. As always, if you agree, disagree leave a comment. A challenge isn’t a challenge without a little discussing.
First let’s make me make a quick note here. Edu 2.0 is a course management system (CMS). It is the total package. What I mean by this is a teacher can put all their resources, assignments, due dates, discussion questions, tests, etc. onto Edu 2.0 before the class even starts and run the course totally remotely or rarely meeting students face-to-face. Edu 2.0 does this and does it pretty well. Edmodo definitely cannot do this (or not as well).
Better Edmodo is still better. Edmodo is not a CMS. It is meant to accompany a class and increase communication in that class and this is something that Edmodo does much better than Edu 2.0. So, let’s take a look at the comparisons here:
Edu 2.0 has more than one way to communicate.
You have a wall but as a student you cannot post to it (at least I could not figure out how). Students can post to the class but not to the school’s wall which makes sense. Thanks for clarifiying this Graham. Other notifications (from the teacher or administrator) show up there as well as notifications, and new notifications only appear if the page is reloaded (not in real time). Compare that to Edmodo that has nearly real time updates and is a continuous stream that people can post, reply, and send direct messages to. Of course this is not the only or the primary for of communication for Edu 2.0.
You will also notice on the right hand side, it lets you know if you have any emails which seems to be the prime source of communication, so let’s take a look at that. The email is pretty basic. To view your new messages you can click on the 1 unread messages (that’s not a typo that’s what it says) on the right or click on the envelope in the upper right hand corner.
I think it is fair to note other form as well. You have Forums, Chats, Wikis, Groups, and Blogs to enhance more collaboration and support better project-based learning.
When you get to the message window you can click on the message to read the whole thing-pretty standard. You can also reply, delete, ignore the message as well. One nice feature is that if you hover over the person’s name you get a choice to reply right away. Pretty nifty eh?
Now here is the thing. Once in your message window, you can read, delete, or reply to a message but you CANNOT create a new message yourself from this area. If you want to create a new email you must go to the People section (located on the right side) and create a message from here. It’s a little weird but it works I guess.
Communication is a big deal. When you see a successful class, you see good communication. It should be fluid and dynamic. It should flow not just from the teacher to the students but vice versa as well. Edmodo gets this and captures it well. Edu 2.0 not so much. If you are running a class remotely and never (or rarely) meeting with your students, then this set up works well. If you’re talking about a classroom full of students with face-to-face interpersonal interactions, then this set up is just not flexible enough in my opinion.
Edu 2.0 makes giving assessments pretty easy and has a lot of options when it comes to doling out assessments. At first I had to look a little but the assessment tab caught my eye. Drag your mouse over it and a drop down menu appears giving you assessment options. Click Assignments and you have a bunch of options. Just check them out!
Another nice feature is that you can make as many assignments as you want and your students won’t see them. They won’t see them until you “Give” the assignment. This is something that a lot of teachers wished Edmodo could do. You can grade online as well and you even have a grade book that helps you manage all your student’s grades. It also saves your previous assignments and you can recall one later. Overall it is pretty powerful and nice and while I feel I make too many clicks to get an assignment up and running, it is nice having some of those features. It also
Edmodo is very simple and fast to add an assignment. While you can’t cue them up and reveal them when you want, it does. It is a little easier for students and teachers to find the assignments, view the grades, and while Edmodo does not have all the bells and whistles that Edu 2.0 it is certainly more than adequate.
Ease of use
This is a big one and this is where Edmodo crushes Edu 2.0. Edu 2.0 isn’t terribly difficult but all too often (the entire week) I found myself searching, clicking, and scratching my head more times than I cared to admit (no I don;t have lice). It is a difficult job to add that many features into a space and in order to accomplish that they had to make menus and different layers to the website. Each layer is a click and while the layout makes sense (most of the time) I found myself digging to do just about anything. In order to do these things you need to find them first and that can take a little time.
With Edmodo (almost) everything is right there. Want to make an assignment you click one button and make your assignment (without ever leaving the main screen). Want to see discussions going on in one class? Click on that class and the discussions appear. The only time you leave the main screen is to go into the calendar, grades, or to manage the class/students.
Signing up with Edu 2.0 isn’t that difficult but when you do you are creating a school, not just a class. Then you have to make the class, so every time you sign in you have a school to manage. This isn’t a real problem, it’s just a bit of an overkill for a single teacher like myself. Then I had to create a class and again, not that difficult, it did take a little time digging to find out where to go and what to do.
With Edmodo (the first time) I signed up and created a class in less than five minutes and was exploring around the workspace; fast and easy.
Also, as the teacher you control who is in the class (of course). You can add them manually or invite them through email. This can take some time working out as some students may lose the invitation due to junk mail filters, may give the wrong address, or any number of issues. Edmodo on the other hand you give them a code and as they sign up, they join the class at the same time, simple, elegant and very effective.
Edmodo is the winner. For me the communication and the ease of use are the clear dividers. Edmodo’s layout just makes sense and is incredibly easy to navigate. Even teachers who are not comfortable with technology should have minimal trouble integrating it into their classes quickly and effectively. Also, students can reach out and ask for or give assistance very easily. This helps build a stronger learning community. Email can be too exclusive at times as you can pick who receives it or not.
In short, Edu 2.0 is a strong platform with a lot of features and if you’re one of the 500,000+ users out there and are happy with it don’t stop using it. For me, Edmodo has the features I want to facilitate my classroom and help create better project-based learning experiences than Edu 2.0. I think that Graham Glass has a good thing going and I see nothing but further success for Edu 2.0, but if you’re looking for one or the other right now, I’d chose Edmodo.
Congratulations to Edmodo for defending its championship belt!
But don’t take my word for it, go and try them out for yourself and of course leave those comments!