What are the advantages and disadvantages of Moodle? What grade levels, subjects work best with it? Our school uses it, but I'm so engaged in Web2.0 tools that I find Moodle very stifling and restricted? Am I wrong? Could someone tell me if I'm not being open-minded enough?
Thank you so much!

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Faith, I'm not in an elementary school, but I've long had difficulty in shifting gears from an open web to a closed web. I think Moodle is ingenious, but give me a blog/edmodo combo any day. Also, I just spent the better part of an afternoon figuring out why a classzone.com interactive test works fine on the open web, but won't run when it's embedded in a teacher's Moodle site. It's still a bit of a mystery.

I understand that Moodle gives you a good architecture for organizing a lot of course offerings into some kind of organized structure, but I also find it stifling. What I find is that teachers who are extremely tech-savvy can make build rich, interesting Moodle interfaces; and teachers who are new to technology can latch onto the structure of Moodle to at least get a foot in the door. But for the folks in the middle-- the folks comfortable with retail-level 2.0 tools, Moodle is a bit of a drag.

Thanx, Mr. Furman, Those were my thoughts too. I just wanted to check that I was being open-minded and not just pesonally prejudice against a program that possibly had more potential than I was seeing. I love the challenge of learning and discovering new tools (kind of like kids!), and I love the ability to problem solve on my own. Thank you again for your response! Faith
I know exactly what you mean - I also love learning and discovering new tools and my students really liked our class wiki this year because they felt far more ownership of that than Moodle.

However I do think each has its place and I have a Moodle course for each year group - it is a useful place to put resources for students and they can use the forums to ask questions. A great use of Moodle for me is for the new students coming to our school. They are asking lots of questions on a forum and myself and some existing students are answering them.
Thanx Colleen. What is the youngest grade you would use Moodle with? How did you use the class wiki? Was it for resources or student work? Thanx for you help.
Faith - I help teachers in schools with pupils aged from 4 to 11 and the youngest children I have seen using Moodle are aged 4 to 5. They use it for improving co-ordination using a mouse by clicking to go to websites or by playing on games that are scored by Moodle. The 6 to 7 year olds use the "online text assignment" for sending in work or homework such as poems, stories etc. I have seen class wikis used for collaborative story creating too. I think a lot depends on how the teacher presents it and what ideas they have.

Thank-you for your concise list. I also was confused with the previous comments on how Moodle is "stifling". We all know that there many fantastic Webtools for teachers and students, (the list is changing daily). Moodle provides a safe portal for teachers and students to explore, not only the resources within Moodle, but those outside tools also. It provides a nice springboard for collaboration and, as an open source product, it is constantly changing and improving. I don't feel the drag...
Faith I teach in a UK secondary school - they all use Moodle - that's from our youngest at age 11 through to the sixth form at age 18.

Whilst it is possible to set up a Wiki within Moodle I prefer Wikispaces for its features. My primary uses of the Wikis - both for my 11-12 year olds - one for Maths - pages for various topics - also pages for shared exercises, the other for a journal - they all had a page (some had more than one) where they wrote about their learning. These were private wikis and required a log on - so secure.
I'm Maria Teresa a Primary Teacher from Italy.
In these days I'm organizing the project for my class 2.0 and I got the same problem: use or not Moodle in primary education?. I enjoyed reading this discussion. Rightly, as was noted by some of you, Moodle is a secure platform in terms of privacy, relatively easy organization of classes. Each teacher can prepare their curriculum and to enable pupils to know the activities to be conducted in advance. By using the database, teachers and students can search and store useful materials for learning. Moodle gives the opportunity to work collectively by Wiky for the realization of the page, as well as create their own page on blog. In any time teachers and students can retrace old concepts to repeat and reinforce them.
It can create quizzes and tests of verification. The same activity of students is constantly monitored and controlled. However to me like many of you Moodle gives a sense of suffocation. I also asked myself the question of whether Moodle can be suitable for pupils agedfrom 8 to 11 years.I think the answer to our question may be provided by the testimony of those who use Moodle in Primary School.
I have just been checking our Moodle forum for new students. I think it's one of my favourite uses of Moodle.

The students who are new to the school in September have been using various 'get to know the school' activities and asking questions on our forum which I and current students have been answering during the summer break. I think it is very reassuring for them to be able to ask questions before they start the school.

(I think my favourite question this year came from the student who asked if it was OK to have a pink calculator! (I said it was just fine and I have a pink one too!))



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