Presentation on theme: "Discovering Moodle By Scott Foster Mini – Learning Activity #3, Participation EDAE 590, Teaching and Learning at a Distance Don Quick, PhD July 18, 2011."— Presentation transcript:
Discovering Moodle By Scott Foster Mini – Learning Activity #3, Participation EDAE 590, Teaching and Learning at a Distance Don Quick, PhD July 18, 2011
My Participation Learning Activity – Why Moodle? For this learning activity, I was interested in learning more about Moodle, a Learning Management System (LMS) that I became familiar with as a result of my first two learning activity interviews with Jamie Collins and Sheryl Hart. Jamie is a high school English teacher for the Paradise Valley Unified School District working in a Distance Learning (DL) program that utilizes Moodle as its primary learning platform. Sheryl is Technology Manager for the State of Arizona Department of Education, Adult Education and mentioned that some of their teachers are using Moodle as a secondary system along with Plato, their primary LMS. I had never heard of Moodle prior to these interviews, and became interested in seeing what it was all about, how it worked, and whether I could utilize it either in my ESL class or other educational projects that Im interested in creating. I decided to investigate Moodle via its website and participate in a few of its demonstration site courses as an independent learning activity. This presentation summarizes what I discovered.
Introduction Moodle: What is it? Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment ¹ Moodle is a free Learning Management System available to and used by educators worldwide. Moodle is a software package for producing internet based courses and websites. ¹ Moodle is a global development project designed to support a social constructionist framework of education. ¹ Moodle – v. the process of lazily meandering through something, doing things as it occurs to you to do them, an enjoyable tinkering that often leads to insight and creativity. ¹ Click this link for a brief video introduction to Moodle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4mmMeMDMic&feature=player_embedded
Key Principles Moodle is philosophically based in Social Constructionism, following these key principles:² 1.We are all potential teachers as well as learners. 2.We learn well by creating and expressing for others. 3.We learn a lot by watching others. 4.Understanding others transforms us. 5.We learn well when the learning environment is flexible and adaptable to suit our needs. Therefore, Moodle is designed to provide teachers and students with a learning platform that is highly adaptable, versatile, and easy to use drawing upon a variety of potential resources. It is designed to facilitate high user-interaction.
Moodle Website The Moodle website not only explains the product, but also demonstrates many of the feature options available to those who use the product. The Moodle website is organized in a way that is at first straightforward and simple. Go to www.moodle.org.www.moodle.org From the Main Page, choose About, News, Support, Community, Development,,or Downloads. After choosing About, choose What is Moodle? Demonstration Site, or Moodle.org: Moodle Statistics. After choosing What is Moodle? and linking to Moodle Docs, there are suddenly many more links to choose from.
Moodle Website The Moodle website not only explains the product, but also demonstrates many of the feature options available to those who use the product. The deeper into the site you go, the more choices you have. For me, it got a little overwhelming. On numerous pages, there are links to video and slide presentations describing Moodle, its capabilities, and features. Eventually I found myself on a page designed to help educators learn about Moodle using a slideshow demonstrating its features using Lego blocks as an analogy: http://moodle.org/mod/page/view.php?id=7736
Moodle Website Moodle is all about choices As the last slide presentation demonstrates, Moodle is largely about providing choices and options. The vast array of options available to educators and students using Moodle give it great versatility, but for me, also made it a little hard to know just where to begin to go to understand it. I found the website to be a little like a buffet with 500 items – it all looks great, but you cant possibly sample everything or digest it, so how do you choose where to nibble and take away some meaningful understanding?
Learning Activity Moodle Demos Moodle.org provides some demonstration sites and classes so that interested educators can see how different features can be applied and provide an example of the possibilities. I decided to explore some of these demos to hopefully begin to grasp the possibilities that Moodle offers. I went into two demos on their demonstration site (http://demo.moodle.net/) :http://demo.moodle.net/ Understanding Moodle Water! I also explored Mt. Orange Moodle School Demo at http://school.demo.moodle.net/ http://school.demo.moodle.net/
Learning Activity Moodle Features Demo The first demo I tried was called, Welcome to MoodleBites – Moodle Basics. The main page for this demo provided a course outline with various links to various media being used to teach the course. These links led to podcasts, Flash movies, YouTube movies, webpages, and audio presentations. Topics included Moodle Fundamentals, History and Development, Moodle and other CMSs, and a final test, course completion video and links for further information. As with the other introductory videos, it told me what Moodle is capable of doing, but did not really address how to do it.
Learning Activity Water! Demo This demo was interesting to me. It focused on Water Conservation and included some great information about water. The introduction video provides a thorough explanation of its purpose : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sEcl3fpPJc&feature=player_embedded#at=20 As with the other demo, the basic course was presented in outline form with links to various resources and learning activities, including exercises involving interpreting photographs about water and water resources, blogs, forums, pdf files, web links, and wiki activities. The course demonstrates that DL learning can be highly collaborative and employ a multitude of learning tools and mediums using Moodle.
Learning Activity Mt. Orange School Demo This demo presents an imaginary school made possible in the virtual world of Moodle. It presents the opportunity to log on as a student, teacher, administrator or parent to demonstrate the typical features and functions available to the various users of Moodle. As with the other demos I tried, this learning experience gave me a great appreciation for all the many features and capabilities inherent in Moodle, both as an educator and learner. It is much more than just assignments and quizzes, providing a number of creative outlets and ways to express your thoughts, ideas, and perspectives both as an individual and in groups with other learners.
Moodle What I learned. Having first heard about Moodle from my two interviews, I was curious to find out more about it. I learned that it is a highly developed, yet still evolving LMS platform being utilized by millions of people worldwide. I believe it represents the current state of the art for the modern Distance Learning LMS. Its potential is great, its approach innovative, and its creative applications are limitless. It incorporates a philosophy that facilitates and supports, rather than contradicts the progressive educational philosophies of traditional learning. With access and sufficient time to learn how to actually implement its capabilities, I think it would be a fantastic system to utilize – both as a teacher and learner.
Moodle The Pros As a free resource to educators in learning institutions and businesses, it provides DL capabilities with minimal cost and time resources. Moodle demonstrates that Distance Learning can be much more than just asynchronous discussion boards. Moodle provide a platform with the capability to utilize a multitude of learning tools that fit a multitude of learning styles. Once the software applications are learned, Moodle users are restricted only by the limits of their imaginations to learn and create using the system.
Moodle The Cons Although the software to use Moodle is free, it must applied on a computer or computer network with server capability utilizing PHP scripting language. Without this capability or the technical know how to incorporate this capability, you cannot utilize it without incurring costs. Therefore, businesses and learning institutions that already have such capability can easily utilize Moodle, but individuals who want to create their own DL courses from home without server capability cannot. Learning the system does require considerable time and cannot be easily digested in a day or two.
Moodle My Conclusions I found this activity to be very enjoyable and enlightening. I am highly impressed with Moodle as an LMS and would love to be in a teaching situation where I could delve deeper into its applications and try to create some courses using it. For my current situation, it does not really work for me for a number of reasons stated. Id hoped to be able to toy with creating some DL courses possibly to use as part of a consulting project, but not having server capability or the expertise to acquire it, I will probably look for other resources that work better for me and my situation. Moodle is definitely an exciting example of the potential Distance Learning offers now and in the future.
Moodle References 1.Extracted from http://docs.moodle.org/20/en/About_Moodle July 17, 2011http://docs.moodle.org/20/en/About_Moodle 2. Extracted from http://docs.moodle.org/20/en/five_key_principles July 17, 2011http://docs.moodle.org/20/en/five_key_principles