Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year...New Moodle Course

As a sixth grade teacher, I used Moodle for student responses to literature and as a forum for book talks. Now that I am a technology specialist, I am using it to organize and curate some of my lessons for 5th and 6th graders. Moodle is a Learning Management System or Virtual Learning Environment. Instructors can create course content which is accessed by students who have enrolled.

I am currently teaching sixth graders how to create presentations using Scratch. My instruction is a combination of mini-lessons, demonstrations and Moodle lessons. Moodle has several benefits over the other methods. Students are able to work at their own pace. Since the lessons are available online, it is really easy to accommodate all learners, even those who are tardy or absent.

Content can take many forms. I can upload screencasts for direct instruction. Students are able to view and listen to a screencast, pausing to follow the steps with their projects. I can give detailed information that students can refer to whenever needed. I can also provide files and links. 

Another benefit is the ability to view student work at any time. This helps me give more helpful feedback.

There are many options for types of assignments. I tend to use my course primarily to get information to my students, but I do occasionally require some text input as a way to scaffold their design work in their  Scratch projects. For example, I ask them to find specific information about a country and report it to me before they include it in their presentation. Using the online text assignment is an efficient way to do this.

I am currently using the course with my second rotation of sixth graders. I have made some changes to the course based on observations from the first group. Overall, I am very satisfied with how it is helping my students be more supported with resources in order to work more independently.

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