Moodle is an open-source learning management system (LMS) hosted on a web server. This software allows a teacher or school to organize and manage courses to promote an online interface for students and course activities. This is software that can be as much or as little as you need it to be, used in a single classroom or as we use it at the Science Leadership Academy, as a school-wide implementation where each face-to-face course has an accompanying online course on Moodle.
First of all, take some time to play. Moodle.org has a series of demonstration courses to investigate. In this environment you can add course assignments, observe organization, and alter content in order to ‘kick the tires’ on the possibilities. If you decide that Moodle is a LMS that you would like to implement in your school or classroom, the next step is to investigate the installation process. This can be a very technical process, and I highly recommend seeking out some assistance.
After the initial installation, Moodle is simple to interact with. All the skills you need are basic word processing.
In my high school, each course has an accompanying Moodle course managed by a central database.
Our system is built to provide:
- A homepage that communicates timely information to students;
- Space for teachers to post all course assignments, projects, resources, pages, wikis, quizzes, etc.;
- Space to upload assignments: written submissions, uploaded files, forums, etc.;
- An open forum space for students to share information, links, and conversation; and
- A professional sharing space for teachers to post updates, distribute information, facilitate conversations, and share resources.
As a teacher, I like Moodle for a number of reasons. It serves as:
- Collaborative space for students to bounce ideas around asynchronously;
- A central location for assignment submission;
- A shared location to communicate all class expectations;
- One central location for a teacher to list all course resources and assignments; and
- Collaborative space for our staff to engage in meaningful dialogue about issues of concern within our school.
Moodle is like playdoh. It can be something simple or elaborate; it can be undone, redone and replicated; it can be as much or as little as you want. From a pedagogical standpoint, it is a beautiful tool for cataloging and reviewing the work of a year. At my school, we use the archived assignments to look back over skill development, learning paths, scaffolding, spiraling, and investigation. Moodle can significantly enhance the ability of the teacher to measure, monitor, and provide feedback for the learners in their charge.
To learn more about Moodle, try:
- Teaching with Moodle
- 47 Interesting Ways to Use Moodle in the Classroom (started by @TomBarrett)
- Two Minute Moodle Tutorials—Tomaz Lazic has created a lengthy series of videos that walk users through tutorials