I'm interested to know how frustrating the basic interface to setup Moodle is. It seems that to have a successful go at Moodle you are required to have at least decent IT infrastructure. Is it common for school districts to have this infrastructure in the united states, or is the implementation of this software usually taken on by an educator?
Moodle is relatively easy to setup once you've done it once or twice. The installation wizard walks you right through it with just a few mouse clicks. You can even run it on the local network as a XAMP server. Just keep a list of users on a csv file handy. My suggestion is try it out on a test server first.
About half of my Classroom Meets Technology blog's focus is on Moodle. I am attempting to teach the teachers in my district the basics of Moodle, and I also try to share some good ideas of how to use Moodle with students. Moodle.org's teacher documentation has some good information.
I agree with Connie. Starting small is key. There are so many different modules that teachers become quickly overwhelmed. When I do trainings I try to pick two or three activities that I know my audience will use and I demonstrate how to set them up and suggest how they could be used. I have discovered that once teachers learn a few activities they start to see all the similarities in the set-up and functionality and they become less timid about trying new activities.
If you are learning through experimentation, I think the easiest activity to start with is a Choice, which is a simple question with multiple choice responses, I use it as a quick poll of my students quite regularly. From there, I suggest moving on to Assignments and Forums, which are also fairly simple to set up. Try not to be overwhelmed by all of the choices you have; ignore anything that sounds confusing. If you want to learn more about anything, click the question mark next to it.
I first learned Moodle as a high school English teacher, and I was amazed at how much it encouraged my students to read, write and interact. Let me know if you have any questions. I would be happy to help.
Hello fellow Moodlers from "the home of Moodle" in Perth, Western Australia
I read your posts and keep nodding throughout. It was here on Classroom 2.0 that a colleague (Dennis Connor) said "Moodle is like a submarine - lots of valves and switches but once you get the hang of it you can go anywhere you like'. Right on !
Well, you have some really good responses already, but I will chime in anyway. :-)
I have found that teachers using Moodle love to create staic resources like web pages and link lists at first. As time goes by, many begin to create interactive resources like forums and wikis, but many do not.
It is necessary to help, cajole, prod and nudge some teachers use Moodle's features to move up to higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. When they do, they and their students often begin to benefit more from Moodle.
Just my two cents, of course. I would enjoy knowing what others think about this.
I've been using it now for 6 years. I'll echo a few other comments here.
First start small. I have often told people that my experience with Moodle was and experiment that went terribly right. The first year I was the only one. The second year I was the only one (though I did quite a few trainings in our district). The third year, I was out of the classroom and I was still pretty much the only one. Year four, I started to get a few other users. Year five and I had several more. Year six, and we are working on a district-wide scheme using specific courses to manage student portfolios for high school ( and possibly middle schools students).
I'll echo Ar's comments about Bloom's to a degree. I have had a few that went to the higher level stuff right away and other's that tend to use it as a back-bone organizational tool for class. I have been rather surprised by the originality of thought that some of our staff have had.
As a district we still haven't put any money into our Moodle install. The ip address (no domain name) is part of our telecom package. The server was paid for with grant money. I'm already in the system....
Give it a try. I've had no regrets (plus when I see others using it, I get the sense of having done something useful).
We have been using Moodle as the CMS for our school intranet for about 18 months ,with varied success. The most use has been within our Middle SChool (5 - 8) with our first attempt at online exams, using the Quiz Activitiy, for Yr 8 Maths & English being undertaken this week - so far so good! This has actually been a good way to motivate teachers that have otherwise not really seen a purpose for using Moodle.
I have found the best activiities to use to inspire the kids are firstly forums, then assignments & quizes.
Regard with the Quiz Module, it seems a little difficult for me at the first time. It's hard to control the audio settings in Spanish teaching. What I use now is QuizCreator, which could publish to SCORM compliant quizzes and upload to moodle, it's easier. QuizCreator is very popular in our school.
Sabrina, I use Moodle for many of my German listening comp quizzes. I record the questions in Audacity and import it into Moodle. I haven't had an issue with audio settings in Moodle. What sort of problems do you have?
You've already gotten some really good advice. I agree with Art on many of his points. Personally I've been using Moodle for about five years now, having been forced to make the jump from Educator. Moodle is much more user friendly. I would reiterate the need to start small. In my case I used it mostly as a resources command center and then branched out from there. I worked on setting up sections that broke my Graphic Communications class up in some logical manner. Using labels, you can easily add embedded movies, polls, and surveys from third party sites like YouTube, Polldaddy, etc. Here are some screen captures of my site.
Once a teacher is comfortable adding resources they can then begin to work activities into their repertoire.