|Source: Leon County Schools Digital Citizenship 101 in Edmodo|
Although I have been a long-time Moodle proponent, dare I admit that I’m less than enthused with Moodle 2.x these days? Sure, why not? In a phone conversation with a virtual course developer in a small Texas town, there could be little argument–“Moodle has gotten unnecessarily complicated.” I reluctantly agreed.
Just out of curiosity, did anyone else think that Moodle 2.3 should have been named 3.0? As far as I can tell, there was no way to upgrade assignment modules. Certificate modules had to be redone. Am I right about that? I had to do a lot of work to get everything working again. I am also becoming discouraged about training teachers to use 2.3. I will continue to use it for creating professional development modules, but for teachers, I am moving to Edmodo unless someone is really serious about course creation.
After reading those remarks, since I’ve started in a new place (k-12 school district), the question going around in my head is, Should I bother getting people trained in Moodle, when perhaps other solutions may be a bit more friendly, lower to the ground if not as feature-rich, and compatible with mobile devices (e.g. iPads)? The answer is a gut-check, a growing feeling of dis-satisfaction with Moodle, and an experience I didn’t anticipate when I started down this road years ago.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Moodle continues to be a powerful course management system that in the right hands can change student to student, student to teacher interactions. I’m just not sure that “the right hands” are those of classroom teachers, especially as more mobile devices find their way into schools. There’s nothing you can’t do in Moodle…it’s what you have to jump through to do it. Think of Moodle and Edmodo as MS Office to GoogleDocs. So, Daniel Rezac, you were right!
Courses have, historically, been what l&d does, perhaps even its raison d’être. And they will continue to play an important role, particularly with novices who ‘don’t know what they don’t know’ and when formal confirmation is required that particular learning objectives have been achieved. Courses may take place in a classroom, online, on-job or by some blend of these, but they all typically have objectives, entry criteria, a curriculum, formal content, tuition and assessment. More often than not they also take place at a predetermined time and are ‘pushed’ at a particular population. All of this structure helps an organisation to make sure that certain key interventions do take place in the intended fashion, but does not guarantee success.
- Moodle Course with a quiz
- A GoogleSites wiki with GoogleForms Quiz with Flubaroo for self-scoring
- Edmodo with a quiz
- Edmodo was a tool we were encouraging teachers to use with students already, so why not use this as one more example.
- Edmodo made it easy to link to content, as well as upload documents.
- We could create the assignment once, then push it out to multiple “groups.” When we updated the original group assignment (the title and description, not the links), the groups’ respective copies were updated as well.
- The quiz would feed grades of the Digital Citizenship quiz to a gradebook, and our plans were to make the campus tech coordinator and administrators “co-teachers.”
- Edmodo’s interface is fairly straightforward (looks like Facebook) and we wouldn’t have to teach them Moodle, and/or figure out how to do stuff in the new Moodle.
- No easy way to re-order content. We were creating individual modules that were numbered. To re-order them or if a mistake was made, we had to delete each module and add it again.
- Lack of HTML editing; it was simply text editing.
- Multiple teachers, even if co-teachers, could not edit or load each other’s assignments/quizzes. To get around this, we had to create a single user for whom we had to share the password and then both login at the same time to add content.
That doesn’t stop folks, though, from using it as one as this blog entry shows:
I’ve set up the entire course in an Edmodo room, in the hopes that my students will develop a vision for using Edmodo in their future classrooms. The functionality of Edmodo lends itself really well to serving as an LMS (Learning Management System).
I’ve uploaded all course documents, videos, links, and other resources into folders organized by weekly course topics. I will also be posting weekly discussion questions, polls, and quizzes pertaining to course content that students are expected to respond to and discuss online and in class. Students will submit all assignments through Edmodo, and I’ll use Edmodo to maintain student grades as well as our course calendar.
Collaboration is made easy through Edmodo’s small group feature. I am able to create small groups within our Edmodo room for collaborative projects, small group discussions, and focused interactions. I created a rubric to evaluate students’ participation through Edmodo, focusing on the quality of their responses, their references to course materials and other sources, and their online interactions with others.
While the course is a face-to-face course, Edmodo will allow us to work in a blended learning environment, extending our time for interacting with course content and each other.
I’m sure there’s a reason for keeping Moodle around. For now, we’ll keep trying to fit a square peg into a round hole:
|A quick look at the Digital Citizenship course a colleague and I were developing and sharing
with 13 sites.
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