Week 5: Communication Tools


As adults we communicate in a variety of ways.  With the development of written language, human beings went from grunting and making hand gestures, the elaborate pictograms, writing, and a plethora of languages around the globe. Scribes wrote down the thoughts of kings and emperors, Alexander Graham Bell created the first working telephone, and now we participate in conference calls, email, voice chat, video chat, group chat.  And we still gesture and grunt.

Communication is key to our relationships with our co-workers, and also our students.  The better the communication, the better the experience, and the more effective we are as a teacher and colleague.

This week we will be exploring two tools.  Google Hangouts and Edmodo.  So get ready to explore, think, and blog your experiences.

Note: it is best to have a webcam and microphone for this week available.

Google+ Hangouts

Google Plus Hangouts logo

What is Google Hangouts?

According to WikiHow  “Google+ is the latest social media platform which has caught the imagination of professionals in all walks of life. And fortunately for educators, features like Circles, Sparks, and Hangouts are of immense value – for an educator teaching at institutions located in different places, a lot of time is lost in travelling from one location to other, not to mention the strain involved in alternatively travelling and teaching.” Read the full article here.

Google Hangouts is one aspect of the Google+ social media platform.  It enables 10 people to “hangout” or voice and video chat at the same time.  Watch this video by Google about it. Educators are utilizing this tool in a variety of different ways. Explore these ideas:

Get Started with Google+ Hangout

Tips and Resources
There is a lot of stuff to play with in Google+ and different settings.  G+ Insider’s Guide is the one stop “how to” for Google+.  Google+: The Complete Guide from Mashable.com is also a great resource. Have fun!


Edmodo logo

What is Edmodo?

Simply, Edmodo is a specialized social learning network for teachers, students, and parents.  Edmodo is geared specially for the classroom.  According to Teacher Challenge:

“Edmodo is a Web 2.0 tool that allows teachers to safely share ideas, files, assignments, videos, projects, etc.with students and with other teachers in real time. It is a safe and secure social learning site for classrooms. Edmodo does not require student email addresses and only the people who have the group code can see the students.

The teacher must first register (for free). Then they can create a group or groups for their class. Students will then register and use the teacher’s code to join that class.”   On the homepage for Edmodo there is a link at the bottom that says, “Learn More about Edmodo.” Click on it and watch the video (1.5 min).

To explore further read what the Wikipedia entry for Edmodo has to say about it.

Ways Teachers are Using Edmodo (from Teacher Challenge)

  • Pen Pals (go to the Community site to connect with other teachers)
  • Make up work for when students are absent
  • Video commentary – can post a video on line and have students write comments about the video
  • Peer editing
  • Book clubs
  • Daily feedback
  • Students can turn in assignments via Edmodo (documents, glogs, etc.)
  • Enter comments on assignments, give positive feedback to students, give grades to students
  • Writing vocabulary sentences and having conversations about them

Browse through the Edmodo in Action videos provided by Edmodo.  There are quite a few so choose a couple to explore that are particularly interesting to you.  Note the topical tabs, and the list of topics down the right hand side of the page.

Checkout these cool resources for Edmodo. Some are projects, some are blogs, some are stories.

Get Started with Edmodo
  • Register for (free) teacher user account at Edmodo
  • Create or join a group
  • Invite other colleagues to join your group and play with it

Tips and Resources (from Teacher Challenge)

The Edmodo blog posts up-to-date information. The blog includes quick tips, managing your account, how to embed glogs, videos, etc.  They also have different webinars every month. If you run into problems, check out the Edmodo Help Center. The support you receive from Edmodo is simply amazing! Edmodo Communities allows teachers to connect with other teachers and see how they are using Edmodo in the classroom.

Blog Assignment Week 5

Reflect about your experiences with Google Hangouts and Edmodo.  Blog about your thoughts.  If you need a jumping point, here are a few things to mull over:

What are some difference between the two?  Which would you use in the classroom or for collaboration with your co-workers?  How do you see yourself utilizing these tools in the classroom? Was there some aspect about either Google Hangouts or Edmodo that you found challenging?