Free Learning Management Systems

Before I give my opinion and evaluation of two free learning management systems (LMS), I must explain by background with the free online LMS. For the last few years I have used a LMS called Edmodo. I have found Edmodo to be a great resource for the classroom and for online professional development. This past fall I became a certified Edmodo trainer. More recently, I have been trying Google Classroom to see if it is a better option for my district. Having experience with both LMS, I would like to review each here.


Edmodo has been around since 2008. Currently there are nearly 50 million people using Edmodo. I find the layout of the site to be very intuitive and easy to use.

Some of the my favorite feature are:

  • Teachers to connect with each other
  • Parents can join and connect with student account
  • Students cannot message each other directly
  • Quiz option
  • Snapshot formative assessment tool

Some features missing or that don’t work well.

  • Integration with Google Drive has been temperamental
  • Some students have difficulty attaching files

Google Classroom

Google for Education has been utilized by many school districts for years. Google Classroom was launched this past fall with some BETA testing last spring. The Google Classroom is only available to those education accounts.(In my district we use Google Docs and Presentations more than we use Microsoft Office.)

Some of the my favorite feature are:

  • There is total integration with all Google Drive files
  • Possible turn in button on the document itself
  • Ability to create a copy of a document for each student

Some features missing or that don’t work well.

  • Students can email each other directly
  • Teacher must email student instead of creating a direct post (Teachers can directly comment on an assignment, but not a general note)
  • No parent accounts

If you are wondering which one I like best you are going to have to just wonder because I like them both. Here is why.

For my technology classroom, where I utilize the Google applications, the Google Classroom is best. I can make a worksheet in a Google Doc, create an assignment, make the students a copy and all they have to do is log in and get the assignment and click done when it is completed. If they need to attach a file that was not already linked to an assignment by me, it is fairly easy to do.

But as far as professional development and classroom discussions are concerned, Edmodo is much better. I tend to have all of my classroom discussions face to face. If you are looking for a place to have an online class with discussions and Google integration isn’t your top need, Edmodo is your best choice.

In the end, both are great tools meeting different classroom needs. To be fair I should mention there are other free options available. Two others that I know of are Moodle and Chalkup. Also keep in mind there are many paid options that many schools and districts are using.