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.
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
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:
- In this post, Thomas Robb explains why he likes Moodle, and shares some tips including the integration of "Hot Potatoes," software that allows you to create interactive Web activities and embed them into Moodle.
- This video gives some good examples of how to liven up your Moodle course:
- In his post, "Five Game Changing Activities Using Moodle" Patrick Malley gives some great tips for using Moodle with students beyond a discussion board.
- Here is the official "Teaching with Moodle" site, including inspiring links and video tutorials.
- Moodlerific.org is a blog devoted to all things Moodle.
- Shawn Wheeler has developed a Multimedia in Moodle Course that you can get ideas from with Guest Access.
- Using Moodle online textbook.
- Miguel Guilin, a Technology Coordinator in Texas has a great article with tips to enhance your Moodle Course. Scroll down to the section on Expanding Moodle's Capabilities.
- Cathy Moore put this presentation on e-learning that has many applicable tips regarding Moodle:
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!