After returning from a placement in a local secondary school recently, it was heartening to see e-learning slowly infiltrating the classroom in the form of a school moodle. Fellow students also observed and used moodles in action at various school around the country so clearly this is one app that is finding favour with teachers. One reason for this is that Moodle (Modular Object Orientated Dynamic Learning Environment) is a software package that was designed using pedagogical principles so clearly it has sound educational application.
Moodle is an online learning platform that enables teachers to create learning environments for their students. Moodles are generally introduced on a school-wide basis and teachers than add pages for their departments/classes. You can copy and paste directly into your page or upload documents, share links, embed video/podcasts so plenty of options for creating an online community that works for you and your class.
Rather than reinvent the wheel I recommend a visit here for a 5 minute introductory video that encapsulates the main principles and uses of moodle in a user-friendly fashion. The analogy used compares moodle to lego (hence the modularity) so think of it as adding “blocks” or functions to suit your needs as you go.
I’ve seen moodles used by teachers to set extension work for more able students, to share notes (allowing absent students to catch up on missed work in their own time), to share assignments (unnamed creative essays) , to set homework tasks and to reinforce reminders about looming deadlines (the dreaded reading logs!)
Moodle enables teachers to cater for different learning styles, and for mixed ability classes. It supports self management, encourages self-directed learning and is based around four basic components: sharing, communication, collaboration and evaluation. Note the strong linkages to the newly revised NZC.
You can embed a wiki into a moodle or add links to one for students to share work/comments but generally, a school wide moodle is set up to be less interactive for students (they can’t edit pages) and relies on students suing their school email (this can cause issues for students who don’t often check their school account but is not an insurmountable challenge). From a teacher’s point of view, the benefits of this LMS (learning managing system) includes:
- the ability to organise content
- assign levels of interactivity
- ease of use
- reliability (can handle many users)
You can see how different school and tertiary providers are using moodle here – although their material is protected you can login as a guest to get a sense of what they are doing with moodle. They way I think of it, a school’s website is its shop window for the community and parents. Its moodle is the coal face – the online space where the nitty-gritty of everyday school life and learning is shared from daily notices to assignments for specific classes.
Watch the video which outlines plenty of other benefits and uses but with 1.9million teachers worldwide using moodle, I’d say this is one LMS we’ll all be seeing a lot more of as we move forward in our careers.