In the Beginning there was only One. Now – there are over 15! It’s a testament to the growing popularity of Moodle as a VLE/LMS that an increasing number of Moodle books are being written and published, primarily by Packt Publishing. The first one, and still the Bible , is Using Moodle by Jason Cole and Helen Foster and is available as a free CC download but also to buy in paperback here. Since then, Packt have commissioned Moodle books not just on general admin and course setup but also on subject-specific topics such as Maths , Design Technology, and English. The Beginners’s series began with a Moodle book – Ian Wild’s Moodle Course Conversion and continued with my own Moodle 1.9 for Teaching 7-14 Year Olds. Just recently Packt have released more technical books to balance out the pedagocial ones. I’ve read one on theming and one on extension (plugin) development for example. There are even a couple of books with chapters that I reckon would apply well to other VLEs too – a Multimedia book and one on teaching young SEN children.
Why am I saying all this? For two reasons. First because if you are interested in any of these books, Packt are offering a deal whereby if you buy a book via moodle.org here you can get a 20% or 25% discount and also support Moodle development since a percentage of your payment goes to Moodle. Second, Packt have alerted me to the fact that if you are thinking of buying in bulk (how about treating each Head of Department in your school to a Moodle book for instance?) there are discounts to be claimed. Readers who purchase 2-4 books from their site (on any subject) will automatically receive an 18% discount, while those who purchase 5-10 books will receive 20% off of the books’ cover prices. If you want more than 10 books, email them from their site to get a personal deal.
I find the whole concept of technical books intriguing: I’ve realised that when I learn a new program I never ever “read the instructions”; I will always play around for ages, making lots of mistakes until I either get it right or give up and in frustration find an online forum to ask the question in. I dismiss my pupils when they ask me how to say such-and-such in French because they “can’t be bothered looking it up in the dictionary” – but on the other hand, when I go ask on a forum I suppose I am doing exactly the same – cutting corners instead of searching through documentation. However, when I have to learn something quickly, something I am not especially interested in or genuinely find difficult then I do appreciate having a real “proper” manual to hand. ( Despite living online I don’t go in for pdfs and can’t see the attraction of a kindle) I like being able to work on my laptop screen while turning the pages of a book next to me. And although it’s not necessarily “my thing” I have come to realise too that a lot of teachers when being trained in Moodle feel more secure with paper handouts – which is partly why I wrote the book.So there is absolutely a place for good old-fashioned “how-to” books and I am happy to continue writing them for Moodle