Edmodo is still going strong with my students. But I get a lot of other good ideas there. I stumbled across this one today: Socrative.
In their own words, Socrative "(e)ngage(s) the class using any device
Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets."
It's got some really cool uses and I'm sure there'll be a WOW factor when I unveil it to my students in class this week. Here's how it works, and it seems to work on any device connected to the Internet: PC, Mac, Smartphone (any kind), iPad. The teacher sets up an account and is assigned a "Room Number" (you can change it once you're logged in). When you get to the classroom, just log-in to Socrative. At whatever point in the class you want to use it, give the URL to the students (here most of them will be using their smartphones to access the internet. When the website comes up on their device, tell them to simply type in your "Room Number" and voilá they'll be in your "Room". No need for them to register anything or log-in, they're just in. On your screen, you'll get instant feedback as to the numbers joining. Now, you can do a few things from here: Give an oral (or pre-written) quiz where they just type the answer on their phone, for example. At the point they take the quiz, it asks them to type their name. The website calculates the scores and sends you an email with everyone's names and scores in XLS format. I can do quizzes on Edmodo, so this didn't excite me, too much.
Here's where it got me really excited. I know "exit slips/exit tickets" are a best practice in teaching but I rarely use them because I don't want to be burdened with lots of little slips of paper and photo copying Exit Slip forms all the time. Socrative has a built in Exit Ticket function. Have the students fire up Socrative 5 minutes before the end of class. On your device, choose the Exit Ticket function. On their screen they'll get a message to type they're name. Next, they'll get a multiple choice question about how well they understood today's lesson. They press a, b, c, d or e for various choices ranging from 'Got It" to "Not at all." Finally, the next (and last) screen pops up and says "Answer the question I've written on the board." It's in short answer format so they can type anything. Now, I could put a question related to today's lesson up on the board (or the PPT) or I could just write "What questions do you have from today's lesson?" and they could type in any question they have. They then logout and can leave the classroom (both physically and virtually). A few minutes after class, I get an email from Socrative with all the responses in XLS form. Bang! It's saved in my email, I can attach it to the XLS for the particular class, and next week I can answer their questions. No more bits of paper clogging my bag.
There's also a function which you can, if you wanted to, keep open during the class and they can type anonymous messages to you (preferably questions about the material). Or just open it at the beginning of break so you can get any questions they have at break time. This function appears live on your screen, no need to wait for an e-mail.
Anyway, I think this little system would be very useful in the Chinese classroom because, as we all know, students here by-and-large shy away from asking questions out loud.
So go and take a look. Watch the short video. It's really easy to set up, much easier than the paragraphs I wrote above trying to describe it.
Finally, the initial website (this will be different from the one you use when using the system as they'll explain):http://www.socrative.com/