Towards the end of last school year (14-15), I decided to begin moving my classes from Edmodo to Moodle, which is the tool that our district (Meriden) uses for our content management system (CMS). I wanted to make the move for a few reasons. Edmodo was a nice tool, but it was lacking the creativity and flexibility that Moodle provides.
The biggest reason for moving to Moodle away from Edmodo was that it allows the teacher to place their content into sections, or topics. I like this element of Moodle because now the teacher can place any content and assignments for a particular chapter or unit of study in a section specifically devoted to that topic; Edmodo lacked this feature.
So far this year I have introduced my students to blogging and the opportunities to enhance our learning that it brings. I planned to have students create their blogs in WordPress, but unfortunately it is blocked in our district; we improvised and used Weebly since that is not blocked on our network. I created a Google sheet for students to input their blog address, allowing everyone in the class to have access to each other’s blogs.
In this digital learning hub, I am including discussion responses to go along with class content and resources that I post within each topic. I have how-to-videos on how to execute certain skills and commands in Computer Applications classes, which have prove n helpful to students of various learning capacities. Within this hub, I can post assignments and have students add their submission right into the prompt, making it easy for me to assess them as the responses are right in Moodle and can be graded within the same page.
Below is a screenshot of what my class looks like so far. After evaluating myself and getting student feedback, I would like to “clean up” the workspace so that it is easier to follow for students. For example, I would like to create a folder within each topic strictly devoted to how-to-videos; this will help declutter the earning space and make it easier for students to follow.
Within the Blogging unit I provided my blog address to students so that they can follow me and use my blog as a model while they build up their own blogs and digital identity. I feel this is important to practice what I preach so that students can see that I am not just giving them something to keep them busy, but something that will help them reflect and build upon what they are learning in class.
As great as Moodle is and all the positives it brings, it does have a rather large learning curve. I am still learning how to use the system, and would like to experiment with the “chat” feature to provide students with a place to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Finally, after reading Ian O’Byrne’s post on using Google sites as a digital learning hub, I am interested to give it a try and experiment with it to see if it offers the same features that Moodle offers, but in a more user friendly way. I do like how Google Apps will play nice with its own sites, and embed these apps right into the site, making it “shiny and sticky” as Ian cleverly puts it. I might try using Google sites with my Intro to Business class, and continue using Moodle with my four Computer Applications classes. I am a glutton for technology, so I will most likely continue using Moodle with my Business class but moonlight with Google Sites on the side to see if it offers anything that Moodle does not.
All in all, I am excited to continue learning and enhance my digital learning hub to provide my students with the most empowering and authentic social learning environment one could have.