Edmodo – The Network That Connects Students Across Countries

Posted by: Lucia Bartolotti, ESL teacher at Liceo Classico Linguistico "F. Petrarca", Trieste, Italy

November 4th, 2015

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The post that appeared one evening in the Edmodo group “Collaborize your class” looked innocent enough: a Greek high-school teacher wanted to find a partner for a project about human trafficking. The Mediterranean Sea is Europe’s southern border, and Italy and Greece are at the front line. My class of 16-year-olds specialising in ancient Latin and Greek seemed a suitable group of students, so I answered. Little did I know that this decision would lead to an exciting eight month-long challenge and a significant friendship with Mr. Dimitris Pallas from Kalyvia, near Athens.

After careful planning and a Hangout, we presented the project to the students, with the important difference that it would be part of the regular curriculum (including marks) in Italy, while being an extracurricular activity in Greece. The consequence was that after the novelty had worn out, we could expect constancy and reliability from Italy, and passion from Greece – with the Italian students sometimes envying their partners for their possibility to opt out!Photo_for_EdmodoBlog_new

A project Group was immediately created and the students were invited to post a visual presentation about “The three things I love the most” (I’m deeply grateful to EVO – the Electronic Village Online – for this technique). This immediately set an atmosphere of personal involvement and curiosity, as the students started sending pics of themselves and their families while finding out that they shared musical tastes and hobbies.

Then, an impressive TED Talk about modern slavery by the famous US photographer, Lisa Kristine, ignited the serious part of the project. The request for everybody (all of them English Language Learners) was to write about the emotions they felt while watching the video, and the result was extremely touching.

Mr. Pallas and I spent long winter nights selecting good web sources for the students’ readings and arranging them into six big topics. The students were grouped into small international teams and a Small Group set up in Edmodo for each single team. In mid-January, they set off.

The Small Groups were the place where they would organize their work, ask each other questions and communicate with the teachers. Our next step was introducing them to the marvels of collaborative writing through Google Documents: the Small Group Folders displayed their team instructions and contained the link to the shared Google Doc. The latter was their sandbox; in different colours they would add and edit their written contributions.

More than four months later, the outcome was a 24 minute video about human trafficking and modern slavery (created by Mr. Pallas, with the students’ findings and thoughts spoken in Greek and subtitled in English) and a public site, created by Mr. Pallas and edited by me using the students’ slide presentations. I’m very grateful to Lisa Kristine for granting us permission to use pictures from her TED Talk. Sending a letter to her was both an exercise in authentic English writing and a lesson about respecting copyright.

Reflecting about the strong points and the weaknesses of this experience, I would say that on the one hand the project provided a great opportunity for using English in an authentic context, as it was the only shared language for teachers and students alike (with lots of opportunities for extensive reading and robust writing). On the other hand, it was a bit too long and complex, demanding excessive work from the teachers themselves. Today, I would choose just a couple of topics within the larger frame, or an easier theme.

From a social point of view, the result was astounding. The students were extremely involved and motivated. Rarely have I seen such a degree of interest in my English classes! If ever. Moreover, as we progressed through the year, we became a team. I can say that I have developed a very special relationship with this class.

Last but not least, Edmodo proved to be an invaluable tool for the success of the project. The most significant features in this context were certainly the possibility to have Small Groups with their folders section, and the ability to use Google Drive and Edmodo together.

If you are interested in this kind of activity, have a look at the resources for educators we developed along the journey. Use and enjoy! http://kalyviatrieste.wix.com/nowyouknow#!resources-for-educators/c1o8b

12 responses to “Edmodo – The Network That Connects Students Across Countries”

  1. Erik Johannes says:


    How do I go about joining a group that is focused on connecting teachers from around the globe? Thank you for any help you can offer!

    Erik Johannes
    Massabesic High School
    Maine – United States


  2. Edwin Pang says:

    I love the authentic learning and real-world tasks and contexts that this project brought to the students and I have been challenged to craft a similar project for my Singapore classroom of 6th Graders.

  3. Aditya Pratama says:

    Same thing happen in Indonesia. We collaborate between other ASEAN countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. With the help of SEAMEO with their SEA (South East Asia) Digital Class program, we can create a quiz and ask other student from other country to do the test, and vice-versa. As from a social point a view, our student have a way to practice their English communication skill with other student around Asia and make some new friend from other countries.

  4. Boulais Isabelle says:

    It’s a real nice way to teach. Students go there without any problems.

  5. Maureen says:

    I love that you can access Google Drive through Edmodo! Such a time saver!

  6. Luke Wade says:

    This was an excellent post! Recently, I was able to share Edmodo with a group of EDS students. They were amazed that I have contacts in India, Mexico, and Tennessee, all thanks to Edmodo!

  7. Girishkumar says:

    Edmodo is great platform for collaborative work. It was great way you kept your student involved in the project for 8 months and created a video to tackle one of greater challenge of this time which is human trafficking.

  8. Angelic says:

    This seemed like a good idea that turned into a great idea. Often we don’t see the potential of how great one idea or topic can become.

  9. Adlena says:

    This is very informative, as an educator potentially doing this for my Algebra class. It has been very hard to find topics that I can collobarate with other countries because it is algebra. I love how you related the topic to something that was a social topic that involves their cultures. The 8th month long assignments seems too long for my subject but interesting to follow. You have given me inspiration and also pointers such as the work that was involved for the teacher preparing the assignment/project for the class. I am still in the process of developing my assignment

  10. Willard says:

    Thank you Lucia on this interesting blog post, especially in the use of Electronic Village Online and the effective use of both Google Docs and Small Groups in Edmodo to encourage collaborative writing. I am planning to implement a similar initiative in Singapore and I look forward to your future writings.

    Thanks again.

  11. Caterina Barberi says:

    It must have been a great experience! Thank you for sharing and posting the resource for us. I hope I’ll be able to use it one day.

  12. Teresa Perles says:

    Thank you for sharing such an inspiring project!

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