6th Form creating Moodle courses

Today I was sitting looking for a bit of inspiration as to what to do with my students on the new AS ICT specification for module INFO2. The A Level has been changed from three to two units and I have finished going through the material for INFO2. However, in the true style of my classroom, I am concerned that my students haven’t really got to grips with the material. They still can’t talk about it and to me that’s annoying because then it’s only me opening my mouth in the room – no thinking time (:O).

I had been working with them creating mindmaps on MindMeister (just the free service). They had done presentations on some of the content. This worked okay. Not the best outcomes but some basic learning achieved. Exam questions covered. Tests etc. So what were we going to do…

I paired them up, got them to sign into my moodle sandpit digabites. Then I created a course and made them all teachers of it.

I ran through all the basics about adding content, blocks, activities, resources and the HTML online editor. Then I showed them the moodle site linked below so they could develop it further should they want to.

My plan for this is to make them set up their own course in pairs (i.e. one course between two) and then pick a chapter from the text book and build a course for their age group by breaking the content into small chunks for learning and applying a variety of learning activities to it. They have the freedom to search moodle.org for new modules and blocks which I will install for them should they ask me to. They are also encouraged to use a variety of tools we’ve been incorporating into the classroom:

  1. twitter
  2. posterous
  3. diigo
  4. delicious
  5. youtube
  6. sliderocket
  7. google docs
  8. netvibes
  9. animoto
  10. mindmeister (and the other mindmapping online services we checked out)

SO the plan goes like this…

  • 12 pupil’s in Lower6
  • 10 chapters in unit
  • pair pupils together (and I’m the match maker)
  • give each pair a chapter (lucky dip)
  • give me a chapter to model/compete/join in with the work
  • give them maybe 12 lessons (40 minutes each over 4 weeks) + homework time; timescale may well be less depending on progress.
  • they must complete the course for their chapter and have it tested by others in the group
  • they must get my approval for a learning activity
  • they must break the material down into chunks and develop exercises that require the learner to explore and understand each section

The astute reader stumbling across this post might deduce that this is what I should have done in the first place. I am aware of this; the moodle course I put together was a skeleton of content and we have been playing with other tools (as listed above). In my classroom I like to create a sense of adventure and fun as well as running through the material the exam board have provided. This may be why we have time left to try something different. My exam results add value to my students expected grades as determined by ALIS and GCSE data, an average of two grades above, so I feel comfortable doing this.

It’s all a bit haphazard in the making but I’ll think it through properly over the weekend and push my pupil’s to deliver an outcome they consider to be of worth.

The coupling effect (I always like a positive flip side) is that now these students will be competant using Moodle. Some of them are ICT Prefects as well. I will get them to help teachers use our school Moodle which is called Bernard and can be seen at http://stbens.org.uk. Most of the stuff is locked but you’ll get an idea of how I use it in school.

Having said all this, as I write I can’t help thinking I’m missing a better approach of having bigger groups that create learning activities for the same chapter and work collaboratively and more competitively to develop learning activities for the same material and then they can try out each others and vote on the best one. Self-evaluation. Peer-evaluation. Assessment for Learning.

Please comment if you have any ideas about my plan.

My moodle sandpit is open to create an account in so please feel free to join it. It’s called digabites because my nickname was digger when I was a youngster in the north of England.

6th Form creating Moodle courses

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