A Learning Management System (what is often called an LMS) has become foundational to blending technology into education experiences. Without its one-stop curation of class management activities such as attendance, homework, grading, discussions, resources, and more, each with their own separate website, login, and password, technology use in education would be defined by chaos. There are many LMSs to choose from, but none as flexible, scalable, feature-rich, and affordable as the open source ecosystem of Moodle.
Moodle got its start years ago as a method to organize blended learning and online classes. Now, it provides over 90 million educators, administrators, and learners in over 200 countries with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalized learning environments. Besides thousands of K-12 schools, users include the State University of New York, Microsoft and the Open University, and the London School of Economics. Because it’s Open Source and platform-agnostic, it has few limitations, but this flexibility and scalability comes with a price. Setup and use are reputed to be more challenging than other LMSs. In fact, I can attest to that from experience.
There is help, though. Following “How to get started” (the next section), I’ll share an easy way to unpack Moodle in your school.
How to get started
With a reminder that Moodle is Open Source, which means the basic framework can be augmented with just about any addition conceivable (as you’ll see in the section, “23 Ways to use Moodle”), here’s how to start:
Summer Learning Classes
BOGO — Buy one class; get a friend in for free
June 14-June 17 only
Starts Monday! Last chance to sign up. This Ask a Tech Teacher online class is only offered for college credit. Click the link above and select MTI 563.
MTI 562 starts in one week–Monday, June 5th! Last chance to sign up. Click this link; scroll down to MTI 562 and click for more information and to sign up.[gallery type="square" ids="52726,52727,52728,52729,52730,52731,52732"]
Every month, subscribers to Ask a Tech Teacher get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching.
May 1st through May 15th:
10% Discount (use code SUMMERPD) on Summer Learning online classes:
Teach Writing with Tech (full–only open to groups)
20 Webtools in 20 Days (full–only open to groups)
Group discounts available
Want more information? Here you go:
Moodle is an open source free cloud-based learning platform used by over 96 million people to create over 11 million courses. These can be a simple activity or a fully-featured course. The platform offers a plethora of tools to customize courses as pretty much whatever teachers need, including:
- Upload video, audio, and links
- Engage students in a discussion forum or a survey
- Create, conduct and grade quizzes
- Assign, collect, review and grade assignments
The problem with Moodle and what stops many educators from using it has nothing to do with its flexible and scalable platform. It’s just not intuitive enough. Australia-based VerveEd’s goal is to fix that. Using an experiential, self-paced environment, VerveEd walks teachers through all the steps needed to create and use the Moodle platform in a clear, organized fashion and then provides nine hands-on ‘challenges’ that users complete to assess their knowledge in a real-world (albeit sandbox) Moodle environment. Challenges include topics such as:
I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.
Ask a Tech Teacher offers a variety of classes throughout the year. These can be taught individually (through coaching or mentoring), in small groups (of at least five), or as school PD. All are online, hands-on, with an authentic use of tools you’ll want for your classroom.
Summer 2017 or by special request in your school or District
The 21st Century lesson blends technology with teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. In this course, you will use a suite of digital tools while addressing overarching concepts like digital citizenship, internet search and research, authentic assessment, digital publishing, and immersive keyboarding. You will actively collaborate, share knowledge, provide constructive feedback to classmates, publish digitally, and differentiate for unique needs. Classmates will become the core of your ongoing Personal Learning Network.
Assessment is project-based so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker.
Price includes course registration and all necessary materials. Group discounts available.
I’ve written about Nepris before–a transformative cloud-based platform that connects STEAM subject experts with teachers and classes. This month, they’re offering a great group of back-to-school tools that will help you organize your expert presentations and share out the details:
Share an update in your activity feed right from your teacher dashboard by typing it into the box at the top of your screen.
Filter videos and sessions by career cluster and grade level, so you don’t waste any time finding what you’re looking for!
Get immediate guidance navigating the new website by logging in and clicking on “Take a Tour” on the bottom right of your dashboard. For more support, access Help Videos on every page.
Here are a few of the expert chats Nepris has available for the new school year:
Ask a Tech Teacher’s Summer PD 2016 just ended. A couple dozen of us–teachers, library media specialists, tech integrationists, and lab teachers–gathered virtually for three-five-week-classes that included:
We talked about curriculum maps, warm-up and exit tickets, backchannel devices, building a PLN, screenshots, and screencasts. We experimented with some of the hottest tech tools available for the classroom such as Google Apps, differentiation tools, digital storytelling, visual learning, Twitter, blogs, Common Core and tech, digital citizenship, and formative assessment options. And–maybe the highlight of the classes–we shared ideas and helped each other solve problems. It was run like a flipped classroom where class members read, tested and experimented from resources available in the weekly syllabus. They failed and tried again. Asked questions. They shared with colleagues on discussion boards, blogs, and Tweets. Once a week we got together virtually (via Google Hangout or a Twitter Chat) to share ideas, answer questions, and discuss nuances.
Classes awarded either college credit or a Certificate, based on effort not end product. Here are my takeaways as moderator of this amazing group:
Starts Monday! Last chance to sign up. This Ask a Tech Teacher online class is only offered for college credit.