Facebook, Edmodo, & Schoology. Oh my! Choosing a social network platform for learning

3/28/2013 12:00:00 AM
When deciding on a social networking platform to use with your students and/or the school community, there are several considerations to keep in mind. What are the age restrictions of a particular platform? Which platform is most comfortable for students? What are the teaching and learning goals you have in mind?  What are your school’s filtering settings? What is your district’s social media or internet responsible use policy?

Below is a comparison of three platforms, Facebook, Schoology, and Edmodo. It is important to keep these questions in mind as you consider the pros and cons of each.

The competition:
Facebook vs Edmodo or Schoology

FeatureFacebookEdmodo / SchoologyDescription
Building student personal learning networksYesNoFacebook allows you to make global connections with those who share your passions and interests. Edmodo and Schoology are confined to those in your classroom and classrooms or experts chosen by your teacher.
Building teacher personal learning networksYesYesFacebook is a great place for teachers to develop personal learning networks (PLNs) using groups or pages. An easy way to start is to just type your interest in the search and take a look at what shows up.

Adult PLNs are also possible in Schoology and Edmodo.  For example a Twitter hash tag (#histedchat) created in Australia has led to an Edmodo group for those involved where history resources are shared. All you need in order to join is the appropriate group code.
Strengthening your digital footprintYesNoWhat happens in Edmodo and Schoology generally stays there.  Facebook allows you to set transparency so your teachers can model and guide you in putting your best foot forward to start creating an online identity leading to academic, career, and citizenship success.
Must be 13YesNoFacebook collects personally identifiable information from students. Schoology and Edmodo do not require such information and also require student use under the supervision of an educator.
Access from schoolTBDYesWhile Edmodo and Schoology are sites that can be accessed from schools in most cases, sites like Facebook are often blocked. If this is a site you want to use, see if there is an unblock method or determine if this would be a good homework tool instead.
AdvertisingYesNoFacebook is funded by advertising. Schoology and Edmodo have other funding models.
FreeYesYesMost features on all three platforms are available free.  There are some paid for options in each.
Closed moderated groupsYesYesAll three platforms allow you to have groups that are closed and moderated.
Open moderated groupsYesNoOnly Facebook allows you to have groups that are open for others to find and join.
Messaging between studentsYesNoFacebook users can set their profiles to allow messaging or not allow it. Schoology and Edmodo don’t allow private messaging between students.
Events / CalendarYesYesYou can RSVP and communicate within Facebook events. You can not with Edmodo / Schoology.
Global connectionsYesNoYour connections are usually limited to your class and classes the teacher has connected with.
Students can post assignmentsYesYesYou can post assignments in all three platforms, but Edmodo and Schoology are designed for this with a sleek system. This would be much clunkier on Facebook.
Google Docs integrationNoYesYou could of course post links to Google docs in Facebook but Schoology and Edmodo have Google Docs integrated directly into the platform.
Create pollsYes YesSelect “Ask Question” in Facebook. Select “Create Poll” in Schoology and Edmodo.
Create quizzes No YesYou can create quizzes that are embedded into Facebook, though you could share a link to a quiz.  Edmodo and Schoology have quizzes embedded into the platform. Educator David Grills says quizzes are great for checkups on learning, and the students used it a lot for peer help and communication with him.
Access after graduationYesNoYour Facebook activity is usually available to you even after you leave a class or graduate unless your group is deleted. This is something to ask your teacher.
Edmodo and Schoology are generally school-based platforms and usually not continued after a school year or graduation.
Requires private information from usersYesNoFacebook requires private information and uses that information for advertising.  Schoology and Edmodo do not.
Gradebook and assignmentsNoYesSchoology and Edmodo are specifically learning management systems that let you capture and record student work. Facebook does not have such a feature.  

The verdict

Facebook is the platform where our students and parents are already communicating.  That is why Facebook is a great choice when working with students over 13 years of age or when trying to strengthen the home school connection.

While Facebook isn’t the best tool to serve all your needs, it is your best option for social media savvy teachers who want to help students make global connections to authentic audiences, establish a digital footprint, and/or develop a personal learning network. Doing so is not only a good idea because it helps students achieve academic and career readiness, but it is also a good idea because they need our help as responsible role models and guides in their online worlds.  

If Facebook is your platform of choice, remember students can “join” a group and “like” a page without friending the moderator. As mandated reporters, friending students may come with more responsibility than teachers are interested in taking on.

If working with students younger than 13 or for teachers who are uncomfortable using social media themselves, Edmodo or Schoology are terrific platforms (see a comparison here and here).They are also the preferred choice if you are looking for a closed learning management system.

Regardless of what platform you choose,  remember it is important to know your school or district’s social media / internet acceptable use policy before choosing a route. It is also a good idea to have a discussion with your supervisor about what you plan to do.

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

comments powered by Disqus
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...


(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...


(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...


(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...


(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...


(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...


(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...


(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...


(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...


(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...