Skip to main content

Moodle IS boring!

Recently, Sarah Horrigan, a British educator had an interesting post, brought to my attention by colleague Claude Sigmund. Horrigan was talking about how her colleagues were complaining about the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) their institution was using. It got me to thinking about pushback I've heard in our district regarding our VLE "du jour", Moodle. Staff using it for professional development complain that it's "clunky" or "too hard" or "boring." As Horrigan correctly points out however,

I then got them to imagine a really great learning experience that they'd
had while they were at school or university and what made it great. I then asked
the group 'did anyone's great experience involve a great teacher?' Hands. 'A
really great subject area?' A few more. 'A really great activity or
experience?'. Lots of hands and nodding. 'Did anyone's great experience involve
how brilliant the room was where the learning happened? How great the chair was they were sitting on? How great the desk was they were using? The pen? Anyone particularly excited by the pen they were using?'. No-one.

Y'know. I think I actually heard the penny drop as they realised that it's what you do with something that makes it good and not the places or tools which make it extra special. It's funny how quick we are to blame an environment and forget that inspiring teaching and learning is about the people and the players. As adults
we look at an empty cardboard box and see it as a storage device. Somewhere to
put 'stuff'. As children we looked at that same cardboard box and saw a plane. A
car. A train. An adventure waiting to happen. What happened to our own
creativity? It seems like we get confronted by a 'virtual learning environment'
and think that's enough. The learning will happen regardless of the effort we
put into it. Wrong! So, so wrong! When eLearning works, it's an amazing,
interesting, vibrant, evolving, engaging, rich space. When it's just a shell. A
place to download PowerPoints... boy oh boy is it a sad bag

An empty classroom is not a great learning space. It requires an engaging educator and engaging subject matter to make it interesting. So too with Virtual Learning spaces such as Moodle.
So now I'm off on a quest, to find engaging activities for staff using Moodle to extend student learning beyond the walls of their classroom.
Here's what I've found so far:
Hopefully these resources will assist in giving educators ideas on how they can turn their digital learning space from boring to engaging, just like when they meet students face to face in their classroom!

Michelle Martin at the Bamboo Project Blog adds her two cents as well.


Thanks for putting together this well compiled piece! I already know that I will find myself recommending and referencing these excellent reminders on a regular basis.

Well done!

Popular posts from this blog

Educon 2.1: Panel Discussion on Educational Change and Reform

The Sunday panel moderated by Andy Carvin, National Public Radio , focussed on Education Change. The panel included: David Bromley -- Regional Director, Big Picture Schools Chris Lehmann -- Principal, Science Leadership Academy Marc Mannella -- Principal, KIPP Philadelphia Bette Manchester -- Former State Educational Technology Director, Maine Gary Stager-- Executive Director of the Constructivist Consortium Mike Wang -- Executive Director of Teach For America Greater Philadelphia January 29-31, 2009 Educon 2.2 announced Save the Date!! Here is a clip from the session . Carvin asked each on the panel give an "Opening Statement". What does School Reform Look Like now that we have a new President in the White House. Lehmann -"I am hopeful", That data driven decision making recognizes that the best data we have on our students is the work that they do in the classroom every day. Mannella -Explained that KIPP schools fundamental belief that "All of us WILL Learn

Nos Chemins vers la paix: Award Winning Video!

Valley View Middle School French Imersion teacher, Heather Palmer created this award winning video, Nos Chemins vers la paix , for the Tel.A.Vision " Vision For America " Contest. Photo and video editing at Powered by One True Media , allows students to create videos that share their vision for the future. Heather wanted to use this video to promote the Wiki she and her students created for "6 Billion Paths to Peace." On the wiki, Palmer states: Our project was inspired by the program " Six Billion Paths to Peace ", an initiative of the Shinnyo-en foundation. We like the challenge the program offers us: commit to making a difference in this moment, in this day, in this lifetime! Palmer received her award last week at the National Service Learning Conference, in Nashville, TN. Way to go, Heather! NOTE: A few weeks ago while looking at the copyright free music available on the site, I notice a cover of the "Spin

Notes on EduCon 2.1 Opening Panel Discussion: What is the Purpose of School?

The "Official" opening to Educon 2.1 featured a panel discussion on "the purpose of school" at the Franklin Institute. Panel Members included: Joel Arquillos -Executive Director of 826LA (Writing workshops) -his boss has now started “ Once upon a School ”, a program paring classroom teachers with adult community members. Dr. Molefi Asante -Professor, African American Studies, Temple University (1st African American Studies program in U.S.) Kendall Crolius -Founding Partner, The Sulevia Group, also affiliated w/Heifer International Jeff Han -Founder, Perceptive Pixel and inventor of the Multi-Touch Screen (iPhone users were genuflecting in his presence!) Prakash Nair -Co-Founder, Fielding Nair International- Archetects and Change Agents for Education Dr. Steven Squyres -Principal Investigator, Mars Exploration Rover Mission Diane Castelbuono Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education PA Department of Education Moderator-Frederic Bertley -Vice Pr