Saturday, February 10, 2007

Moodle Gets Even Better

1. For the last year and a half, I've really appreciated Moodle as a great introduction to the use of Free and Open Source Software (FLOSS) in education. I think it has really opened the door to awareness of FLOSS because it can be so incredibly valuable to schools that they overcome the normal push-back associated with FLOSS (e.g., how can something be "free?").

2. At Science Leadership Academy, I saw another aspect to Moodle: how powerful an organizational tool it is for students and teachers when used pervasively. Just from a practical standpoint, in a one-to-one laptop model, just the assignment and calendaring functions of Moodle make such a difference that both students and teachers say they can't imagine not using it.

3. But Michelle Moore, pictured above in Philadelphia for our two-day Moodle workshop, made me aware of a third, and AMAZING, benefit of Moodle. When she started using Moodle as a middle-school math teacher, she started because of the organizational tools. But Moodle's collaborative tools, being available, quickly drew her into its pedagogical base, and she found that when she provided more opportunities for her students to collaborate, their engagement and achievement were significantly increased. In other words, Moodle can come in the front door of the school as an organizational tool, but then provide a safe, walled-garden introduction to the tools of the Read/Write Web.

Way to go, Martin.
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