When I think about how far education has come over the past 25 years, I feel both encouraged by progress and overwhelmed by the possibilities, for we have so much further to go. The way I reconcile these feelings is knowing that while we have a great deal of work to do, we’re taking the right steps toward achieving our ultimate goal of helping every learner reach their full potential. As we wrap up the 2014-15 school year and plan for the next one, I wanted to take a moment to outline my vision for Edmodo; specifically, what we want to contribute to the K-12 space, how we view the evolution of our platform, and the overall impact we are hoping to have.
Edmodo has always been a hub for making new teacher connections, collaborating with peers, and discovering educational resources. We see 2015 as a crucial year in the company’s lifecycle, as we explore how to provide the best platform for all participants in the educational ecosystem: district-level leaders, schools and classrooms, teachers and parents, and most critically, students being trained for careers we cannot imagine in fields that have not yet been discovered.
We think about these different yet equally important audiences and the diverse roles they play on the platform, and have come to realize that Edmodo can provide the foundation that unites them all. For millions of teachers, students, and parents, Edmodo has played the role of the platform that enables better access to resources and information. As Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.” And that is the vision that moves us: a world where everyone has a solid educational foundation, with access to the best teachers, peers, and resources.
As a team of passionate learners, we want to identify everything possible to drive success in the classroom. One of those elements, in my mind, is the integration of strategic resources into the platform, both from a content standpoint, as well as tools that connect teachers with relevant educational opportunities. For instance, we have millions of resources teachers and developers have created and/or shared on the platform, so if we can maximize the way in which these educational materials are surfaced and shared, the benefits can be tremendous.
When it comes to defining the types of external resources that will be successful, we believe in getting help from the educators on our platform. Many of these resources—videos, worksheets, lesson plans, etc.—are among the best in the world. Beyond physical resources, peers are a source of both inspiration and encouragement in learning: using Edmodo, teachers learn best practices from other teachers halfway across the world and apply those ideas immediately in their classrooms. Students use the group communication capabilities to engage with and learn from their peers. At Edmodo HQ, the team is always leaning on and learning from our users.
We’ve always looked to our teachers for feedback and signals as to what is working and what could work better. That brings me to the next issue we’ll be carefully studying this year: educational business models. To keep pace with advances in technology and continue to develop new features, we need to be a sustainable business. As we consider different approaches, from premium features to paid content options, we want to engage our users in a conversation so we’re both creating new functionality they want and need, and incorporating it into Edmodo in a graceful way.
This responsibility in no way changes our mission, nor does it diminish our commitment to our users. We commit to keep all the features that have historically been free on Edmodo free moving forward, and as always, we’ll continue to improve functionality that delivers value to classrooms worldwide. Our main objectives are to save teachers time, improve student learning outcomes, and streamline technology workflow processes at the district level. At the heart of each of these goals is collaboration—the core function that differentiates Edmodo from other education technology platforms.
Collaboration has a transformative effect on education, and is singlehandedly the core activity that distinguishes Edmodo as a learning network, rather than a learning management system. Not only are teachers empowered on Edmodo to connect with like-minded educators around the world; they also work alongside parents to help advance student success, while districts serve as learning matchmakers, fueling connections between schools and like-minded educators. Collaboration is at the heart of what inspires us at Edmodo, and a strong indicator of our success, because our success is determined by teacher and student achievement.
When Edmodo was first founded, the concept of social learning and technology in the classroom within five years seemed like an impossibly high goal. Changing the education experience is not easy. It’s a job for dreamers, innovators, and visionaries unafraid to take on big challenges and possibly fail. We want Edmodo to be the place where teachers and students come to discover new resources and connections that they never thought possible. And if we connect the right resources with the right people at the right time, we can unlock the potential education promises.
As the poet Robert Frost wrote, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.” We’ve accomplished a lot so far, and look forward to many future successes together.