Tomorrow online learning management system Edmodo is debuting an updated version of their platform, which aims to make it easier for teachers to share resources and interact with students. The company, which added $25 million in Series C funding in July 2012 and has raised $47.5 million in funding to date, has almost ten million K-12 users, up from two million users a year ago.
Edmodo’s closed social network lets teachers invite their students on to the platform using a special class code, and then teachers can moderate the group’s activity, and can do everything from sharing videos to assigning homework. Students can send notes to the entire class or just to the teacher, and can turn in assignments on the platform. Along with new features, the Edmodo’s groups, calendar, and grading features are also getting a facelift.
COO Crystal Hutter said today’s update is a further attempt to allow teachers to personalize education for each student in their classroom. “What we wanted to add this year was the ability to really connect a teacher with all of the resources they need to find and discover better content to share with their students, and then give them real-time insights into how their class is progressing,” Hutter said in an interview.
Today’s feature additions include Discover, which allows teachers to connect with other teachers around a specific subject, and find content to use in the classroom. Another new feature, Insights, is designed to help teachers get feedback from students on assignments and comprehension, so a student could post a comment a homework assignment, and all feedback is then aggregated for teachers. “There’s so much lost data in the traditional classroom around ‘how are students reacting to this content?’” CEO Nic Borg said. “As a teacher you’re providing feedback all the time, but it’s hard to figure out where that ‘great job’ or ‘study harder’ fits into the bigger picture.”
The platform is free for teachers and students, and in March of this year the company launched its API, which allows developers to build free and premium apps that teachers can install and use in the classroom. “We really have built it as a platform, and we’ve let our users and what they’re looking for really drive what we’re building,” Hutter said. In terms of who is adopting it in a school’s chain of command, Hutter said teachers can adopt the tool in their classroom, then get departments or school districts on board. Districts can then get insight into how it’s being used to distribute content and track progress.
The new version will be available to users over the next couple weeks, and Hutter said they’ll be working on updates to their mobile apps in the near future. While approximately 75 percent of the site’s users are in the U.S., the platform has users all over the world. “The global nature of our community is really an important one, it adds a lot of value to the texture of the content, resources and ideas that are shared,” Hutter said.
Edmodo’s private social network and content platform faces competition from other social learning management platforms like Schoology, and from Chalkable, which offers an education-focused app store for teachers and schools. With a solid user base and a presence in 85 of the 100 largest school districts in the U.S., not to mention a sizeable chunk of funding in the bank, the company is well-positioned to become a teacher’s go-to online resource. But with most traffic coming from the U.S., the company will need to look international if it wants to find a new market of K-12 teachers and students.
Update: the article originally stated that Edmodo’s new features were available to users on September 4th, but they will be available on September 5th.