I would like to learn more about using Moodle in the elementary setting. I set up a Moodle account, but it is not as user friendly as I thought it would be. I even checked out the tutorials. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
We are starting to use Moodle in our school, especially for 6 to 8. I still have a lot to learn. The hook to get the staff involved has been the testing features. It is a huge time saver for them allowing them to focus on new pedagogies and learning new technology skills. Chris , One thing I would like to hear about is how you rolled Moodle out with your teachers. What components do you use they use the most.? Who taught them how to use it?
I've used Moodle with adult learners this year and we're really pleased with it. I've done a (bit of a waffling) reflection on the year - the bit to look for is 'conclusions'. I didn't have any part in the installation on the server, just setting it up for my class. Guest access not allowed I'm afraid.
Best bits for me: forums, glossaries, and how it easily embeds audio/media. Testing features I didn't get into, as I have a php script I'm used to using. I crashed and burned with the Moodle wiki so am now sticking with wikispaces.
Blogs - not great in Moodle yet I think, so I have avoided them. Also students would like a 'homepage' - and social features like this ning site, which don't exist in Moodle.
We first rolled out Moodle to the faculty as our online planning space, so we learned the tool as we used it. We weren't in the same place, and we had a lot to do, so there was a real impetus to learning it ourselves.
Here is what we used a TON this year:
5) Posting resources of all sorts.
6) Kept trying workshops to varying degrees of success.
I don't like their blog functionality, and wikis are problematic because they only exist behind the firewall. We did spot training sessions this year when folks felt like they hit stumbling blocks, but mostly, we had our tech coordinator do just-in-time training if folks had a problem, but mostly, the basics of Moodle are really simple to use, and it's fully integrated into everything we do at SLA.
What Moodle is best at: "Walled Garden-style" classroom environment.
What Moodle is not good at: Public sharing of documents. (Blogging, etc...)
And yes, it's a great thing for an English class.
Alas, I can't give guest access because we're in the process of moving from SY06-07 to SY07-08.
This is my second year using Moodle with elementary grade kids. Our primary instruction occurs in the Elluminate online classroom. Last year, the Kto3rd Math Meting kids had Moodle Mondays where they all did Moodle-based activities and I worked one-on-one in the online classroom whith kids that needed the extra assistance. I found that it worked out OK, but this year, I dropped the Moodle Mondays in favor of 5-day online classroom instruction.
I still actively use the Moodle for parent communication and to help new teachers get a leg up on setting up their classes. It houses our online classroom slide files (indicated by the wbd in the link title), the Student Skills Report, the student portfolios, and links to outside files.
You are welcome to visit the course pages. They are fully open to guest access, no password required. Just go to http://www.virtualhomeschoolgroup.com/. The elementary courses are Phonics and Phonics Intervention and the Kto3rd Math Meeting courses. My homrooms on the coursepages are the ones for 1st grade in both courses. Our Moodle courses are set up in a shared course design where all the teachers share the course page but we each have our own homerooms. This lets us actively collaborate, share, and help new teachers get up and started. We have a new teacher just getting her classes set up now in the math course. She will be teaching kindergarten and 3rd grade math in the online classroom with the Moodle page resources.
Glenburn School (Glenburn, Maine) had a handful of teachers that used Moodle for the bulk of their instruction. Thanks to MLTI (Maine Learning Technology Initiative that provided an iBook G4 for every 7th and 8th grade student and teacher), two social studies teachers, one ELA teacher, and our Spanish teacher did most of their teaching using Moodle. If you want to learn about Moodle, go to the following site. As tech integrator and overseer of computer classes for all K-6 students, I set up courses and Moodle accounts for all 2nd through 6th graders.
Our Spanish teacher, Kristina Ryberg, even used Moodle for 5th and 6th graders and would bring those classes to the computer lab the last 15 minutes of their weekly classes to log in to their Moodle class to do some final review and taking quizzes and tests. She had links to Quia, etc for practice that students could do at home as many times as possible and also take practice quizzes that she built in Moodle. Those students that practiced at home showed great gains and we found that Moodle extended the school day for these students. Moodle will correct quizzes/tests for you and put students grades into a gradebook in Moodle. You can plan months ahead and with a couple clicks make previously planned and designed lesson/projects/units ready and visible. Resources and materials are saved so you can use or edit what you used last year for the coming year. Students can also pass in assignments in virtually any common format. Late assignments get marked as such and can be set up to get reduced credit. Great stuff! Too much to mention here! Lots of good success stories.
Depending on the grade level and what projects the grade 2-6 students were working on, I would post electronic handouts, graphic organizers, web links, and even ThatQuiz tests for students to take. ThatQuiz does the grading and can even generate a gradebook for you. Our youngest students learned how to message within their grade level without incident. Some groups even started blogging which also introduced tagging. From what I understand Moodle is always creating new modules to allow users to further integrate emerging technologies such as podcasting. Our students figured out Moodle after a couple exposures and helped one another without any big challenges.
Our technology coordinator, Tim Hart, in our building has taught university courses using Moodle and administers Moodle on the university server. Tim is currently at the UNH FOSSED and will be conducting presentations for teachers, administrators, and more. Learn about Moodle by following Tim's teaching using the Moodle course he created to teach others about Moodle. Log in as guest whenever you are prompted to enter a login/password or enrollment key.
To follow some of the additional learning at FOSSED (Free and Open Source Software in EDucation), go to the FOSSED conferences webstie (set up as a Moodle course) at http://fossed.net/
Moodle's site online (http://moodle.org) is a terrific resource as well. Also, Moodle is user friendly thanks to all the imbedded help (question marks in yellow circles). We are very excited to expand our school's use of Moodle hoping that it will be responsible for extending the school day for our students that choose to go online from any internet-connected computer to practice/do work.
Feel free to contact me via chat or email if you have any questions.
My suggestion is to start small. We started with just the forum feature (with simple profiles), and that went on for several weeks. This way we got great depth established before we moved on to much else. There was a lot of talk in class about the purpose and possibility of this form of learning ; we developed class expectations together for what we like to see in writing quality and thoughtfulness. As the kids developed their "public speaking" voices and styles, they gradually enriched their profiles to reflect their truer selves. It was a very organic process, quite natural.
After a while I got the idea that some forums should have to be done through interviewing someone who sat with them at the computer (or wrote to them from afar), someone like a grandparent or a local hero. This brought the Moodle Forum work into the cosmos... We'd sit together in front of the SmartBoard reading the week's interview entries.
In this way, Moodle really enriched our sense of community, and global connection.
(By the way, in the beginning I'd set up the topic, a question each child had to respond to as part of their week's work. In the long run, we'd have several topics going, many set up by the children.)
Here is a good comparison of Moodle vs Microsoft Blackboard. Although not directly answering your question, you can do some conclusions on its functionality and efficiency. The report shows students' satisfaction too.