Moodle Blog

Moodle Blog 8: Basic Moodle – getting the students to log in!

Monday, 21. January 2008 von admin

getting the buggers to..I was going to paraphrase Sue Cowley and call this ‘getting the buggers to Moodle’ but this would seem to suggest an inherent unwillingness on the part of students to use Moodle – and  I don’t believe this to be the case.  Moodle mirrors so many of their out of school experiences already –  they communicate via  IM or forums (chat); they will upload images to their Myspace/Bebo; they will send attachments in their email; they will do online quizzes for fun and get instant feedback… the challenge then, is to integrate Moodle into their online lives such that they access it, like MSN or Bebo, without a second thought. And they won’t do that if they think it’s just another means of making them do boring homeworks.  Some suggestions….

  • Appearance is All: when setting up a course page, add images; enlarge the font; give it snappy titles – even if is year 8 Algebra; the style has to appeal before they’ll want to access the content
  • Personalise your Pages: the course doesn’t have to stay static all year just because it was set up and finished in September – use the topic description at the top to add messages to students doing well; reminders of events. Many Moodle sites use their front page as a showcase/messageboard – but there’s no reason why a course page shouldn’t do that also, to a smaller (more select) audience.
  • Tease them in: add a competition or give them a task where the answer is only on Moodle and the first one to find it gets a reward
  • Invite Interaction – add a forum, preferably related to a topic currently studied but at worst,  merely to ask them what they feel should be included  it’s to draw them in..
  • Grant them Instant Gratification – that is, include where possible a Moodle quiz or Hot Potato activity that will give results as soon as they have done it, rather than leaving them wondering until the next time you mark their work. It is worth making the effort to learn how to customise HotPotatoes quizzes and Moodle quizzes so you can personalise your feedback to your school or even class…on which subject…
  • Give them Games! Mainly for KS3 but I have seen good examples of these used for A/As level students too. There is a wide variety of free or cheap educational flash games that will work on Moodle and that provide another way to segue from online games to on-Moodle games. Only these will test their learning at the same time. One that stands out is Content Generator wtpstudents love the Penalty shootout game; they relish in the sarky comments the teacher makes in Walk the Plank and the new En Guard allows for personalised comments to be included in the finished item. But more than this, their creator, Andrew Field is gradually making them all SCORM compliant  so the grades will show up in Moodle’s markbook like Hot Potatoes or Moodle’s own activities.
  • Allow for after-school access: a difficult one – we still can’t assume all students have the internet at home.  We try to offer as many opportunties as possible to give students the opportunity to go online. At Our Lady’s we are an extended school and have  computer rooms and an LRC open at break, lunchtimes and when the buses have left. 
  • Begin with the Basics – follow these Good Practice tips

Moodle Blog 7: Hot Potatoes as Peer Assessment in a Moodle Workshop

Tuesday, 15. January 2008 von admin

Just a different take on the conventional way of using Hot Potatoes in Moodle. (For those unfamiliar with Hot Potatoes, click here) hotpotatoesRather than have the teacher check the students’ learning with an exercise they’ve generated themselves, it might be both informative and fun for the students both to generate a Hot Potatoes activity and – via the Moodle Workshop module – to try out and assess those of their classmates. This could be done as a summative task at the end of a unit of work and would need at least two sessions – perhaps one class session and one homework. The students would need to come prepared with the information they wish to use in their quiz for testing their peers. They would then have to learn the very basics of Hot Potatoes. I am a Hot Potatoes trainer and for Our Lady’s Preston have used a Moodle lesson on the basics of Hot Potatoes. I set the students off on this lesson first, which gives them the choice either of following screencasts, or paper worksheets or just diving straight in. If you only have time for one activity, the J-match is probably the easiest to master first, although the J-cloze would probably be a better test of their learning. Allow students time to generate one exercise of their own which, at the end of the session they will save as an .htm file and upload to a Moodle workshop. When their friends try out the exercises they’ll get instant feedback but the results won’t show up in a gradebook as they’ve merely been uploaded as webpages, not in the Hotpot module. That’s not important here – the big advantage of the workshop is that the whole class can upload their activities into the workshop and allow their classmates to view, do and comment on each others’ work.workshop

A workshop isn’t the easiest of modules to set up: some things to bear in mind are:

  • use Criterion grading if you are unfamiliar with the workshop – this will allow you to set the standards by which the students grade.
  • keep the Moodlers’ names hidden – that way they will not know whose work they are assessing and won’t be biased!
  • set a reasonable number of items for each student to assess, according to the size of your class. I chose three per student in a class of thirty
  • Set up the league table – perhaps to theTop Ten nothing beats an element of competition!

The actual assessing of each others’ work – the second session – can be set as a homework and if you set the dates such that all gradings must be in before your next lesson, your class can be greeted with their results on an IWB, prompting a discussion on why the Top Ten had been considered more useful than other exercises lower down the league.

ICT – independent learning – revision – peer assessment… co-operation… group discusssion …plenary….boxes..ticked…

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