Still in beta testing, DIIPO bills itself an all-in-one social networking platform for teachers. I thought I’d check it out.
Signing up was easy. I created an account as an educator and immediately was sent to my new home page (I did have to verify my e-mail, but this is standard nowadays). I decided to try to set up a class. A pop-up window asked for a title, a passcode to keep things private, the subject area, and the grade level. The screenshot below shows that Diipo envisions itself as widely useful, from preK to college:
One of the things that scares a lot of schools away from social media is privacy. Parents want to know that their children (and their children’s work) are safe and secure. Diipo builds those options in right with the set up of a new class. “Protected classes will still appear in search and other class listing but only members of the class can see the contents,” explains the privacy description. If I create a Protected class and set up an original passcode, only my students and their guardians can see what amounts to a version of Twitter, blogging, and other Web 2.0 apps.
Once I created a class, I had a lot of options, most of them automatically DISabled. This means students can only use certain applications if I, the teacher, make them available. I went ahead and activated seven that I would use in a college classroom and probably even an elementary ELAR class, as shown in the screenshot below
Sending out a class announcement is as simple as typing in a Facebook status update:
Creating an assignment isn’t hard, either. I select the due date and create a description that displays in the Diipo system. I can attach an image with directions (or an image as the assignment prompt) and upload a Word document that contains all the details of the grading rubric.
For teachers without a robust course management system in their school or district, this might be a good option.
Possible pitfalls: Diipo allows direct messaging of student users, which may violate your employee Code of Conduct!