Monday, March 14, 2005

Monday's Moodle Update

While tinkering with my classroom Moodle this weekend, I surfed some Moodle sites I had googled. I searched for Moodle+High School. The results for the search did not surprise me as much as confirmed my sneaking suspsion that more and more teachers and systems are considering replacing their static web pages. I have been writing web pages since we had to hand code HTML using a text editor. Moodles still require some knowledge of basic html if you want to include images in your lessons. However, the key change toward Moodles or CMS (course management systems) is a paradym shift. Webpages are nothing more to my students than the page in their textbook. Sure, there are ways to include online tests, video clips, PowerPoint presentations and even teacher made animations, but, the pages have no user logs. I always felt like my hard work creating a web page for my class was basically wasted time in that I never was able to really document time-on-task. Moodle has a feature that logs user access to lessons, and everything the look at on the class site. I subscribe to all discussions and through the magic of Moodle's database, I received emails as documentation of class participation. I can read their posts and provide immediate feedback, or respond when I have a minute.

This week, I am planning to try daily vocabulary quizzes with my middle school science students. I learned last week that they have an extremely limited science vocabulary. I almost passed out when I realized none of them knew the definition of the term: DOME. 8th Graders?- come on this is a crime. So, in order to boost their voc skills, we are going to try Moodle vocabulary quizzes. I will share my reflections of this effort later.

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