The social learning network is accessible online or using any mobile device, including Android devices and iPhones, and has special institutional features for schools and districts that can be accessed free of charge by administrators.

Whalen said a new library feature, which lets educators share content, was created after Edmodo users said they needed a way to exchange information.

“The idea behind Edmodo is to provide a platform for teachers to be able to communicate with students, post messages, share content with each other, and post and grade assignments—but do it in a safe environment where we aren’t requiring any private information from students,” said Whalen.

More districts are using Edmodo as a platform for teacher professional development, because of its “ability to share content globally,” Whalen said.

For more on social networking in education, see:

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Teaching in a socially networked classroom

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Co-founders Nic Borg and Jeff O’Hara, former technology directors based in Chicago, consistently received requests to shut down social networking sites from schools around their district.

“Teachers were then coming to them, saying they were frustrated with constantly being told they had to block social networking sites, because the teachers recognized there was a real need for social networking tools in the classroom,” said Whalen. EdModo grew from those requests.

With social networking playing an integral role in today’s society, Edmodo has discovered a way to safely integrate it into the education sphere.

Students do not need to provide eMail addresses to sign up. Teachers give students access codes, and students can either put their first and last names into the system or go by student identification numbers instead.