A great way to form an an online community with your class is to use the web based learning environment Edmodo. Pupils and students will be able to join the groups that you decide to set up. For instance you can set up groups in the names of the classes you teach for example 11T Physics. Pupils in 11T physics will be able to join it, communicate with each other and access resources such as files that you put on it (word, excel, powerpoint etc). The interface of this site looks a little bit like Facebook but you have complete control of the settings. This means that you can decide whether or not you want the pupils to be able to send messages to each other or not. The best way to find out more about it is to try it.
Edmodo is good for the following reasons.
- Pupils have no excuse anymore for that lost homework sheet as you can upload it on this system.
- Pupils can access the resources from any computer.
- Apps are available for smartphones and tablets so is fully flexible.
- Teacher can also join together with the system and collaborate with a particular class.
- Parents will be able to have access to the resources you put on the system so can encourage at home.
My advice would be to trial with a small group, like a sixth form group and see how you get on. Experience of using this is that the pupils really enjoy using as it feels like the social media sites they are already using frequently.
The image is from here.