We (at King Edward VI School, Chelmsford) have been using Moodle as our VLE since May 2003.
In that time I have done some simple research into its use, success and failures and am attaching a summary of this work to this post.
I have converted it to html format for easy online viewing.
Hope someone finds it useful.
Question I: We are starting also a new questionnaire and wonder: did you use text analysis tools (like Atlas TI) for analysing your mountain of textual information?
Question II: are your questions, "anonymised" answers and conclusions available? Could help us a lot.
Remark I: we offered the same course with VLE support to on campus and off campus students. We saw a big difference in the use of forums etc.
On campus students talk to each other, off campus use the forums.
Remark II: Yes, secondary school children, coming home from school - after talking with their friends all day - switch on their IM on their PC and go on with their conversations... So being together all day is not enough as explanation for low use...
Remark III: after six years of using Teletop and two years of using Moodle I also wonder how to bring the teachers to new educational designs:
We see them mapping the old tasks on the new tools, one by one. Old wine in new vessels. (Nothing wrong when it is good old wine )
We see them incorporate single new ict-tasks like glossary very easy.
But when it comes to design on a higher level, creating a set of tasks... (even when it is offered like a complete set of tasks, like Workshop)
So my main question is: How can Moodle stimulate teachers to redesign a set of tasks, to end up in new approaches, like doing projects centered around eWiki, learning science in the modern way: inquiry study, exploring collections of scientific evidence, creating sets of evidence, (http://wise.berkeley.edu/welcome.php) or doing language quests/webquests with role differentation...
Moodle Design templates? special designed sets of sections?
(In the past, tools like Authoreware also dreamed of plugable task templates, it was not very succesful, so what is the key to succesful use?)
I will dig up my questionnaires and attach them to a later post.
I analysed the data manually, but found what I consider a very efficient way to do this - since responses were hand written (I would have expected far lower % response from electronic format), entering the data for any textual analysis would have been very time consuming.
In schools, here in the UK, I believe there is a realisation that the gradual integration of e-learning into traditional teaching scenarios is current good practice. Once people become familiar with the tool, they will begin to experiment and new ways of teaching will slowly develop.
Currently, those that do have e-learning in school are almost universally at stage 1 - learning the technology (this may not be the case at tertiary institutions).
For example, one Moodle user at my school is now using MSN Messenger (!) as a way of investigating instant feedback to student responses in group work.
I have been a long time advocate of WebQuests (at least 5 years) and have run training sessions on their use. The idea of integrating Webquests into Moodle is interesting but there is no reason at all, in a school scenario, why a Webquest needs to be anything more than an online task; I like to allow students to choose the media of their responses and there is no reason why this needs to be electronic.
I am not sure that it is Moodle that needs to change. It is creative teachers who will use the tools available in Moodle in novel and creative ways. We just need to try and encourage the good work that is surely already being done to be disseminated more widely. And this community is an excellent place for this to occur.
Maybe a new thread here on the Moodle site.
'New approaches to teaching using Moodle' (or something more stylish).
Really interesting read, thank you.
"Since a VLE in a school is likely to be an additional tool for teachers (as opposed to the only tool in distance learning), it was not surprising that some features of the VLE such as forums, quizzes and assessment modules were less used than in the tertiary sector.
By the end of the year, about 1/3 of staff were using the VLE from time to time, about half of these frequently. Another 20% showed initial interest, but never pursued it. Almost all staff cited lack of time as a constraint on the use of the VLE."
You're about a year ahead of me (we introduced moodle in Sept 04), so your research was fascinating and I expect that were we to run a similar survey in july 05 we would get almost identical results.
At the moment I am noticing that the majority, of the teaching minority who are using it at all, are using it as a document repository.
I had one brave MFL teacher who used a combination of glossary, resource and journal modules in one class of year 7's. The problem was that it took us 10-15 minutes just to get them all logged on and another 10 minutes to get them used to having three things to think about at once! I think that she found the experience a little frustratingly slow. My huge worry is that having carried out one experiment the kids new technical knowhow isn't reinforced. She is unlikely to use another of her precious teaching hours to persevere. However, when I pointed out that a couple of kids had gone online and completed the task over the half-term holidays she was amazed and delighted!!
I am trying a new experiment which is to create a school "web crew" and make them peer-peer teachers, giving them a course themselves that they can use to create lessons for the kids in how to use moodle (and the rest of the website). I am hoping that, subversively, the teachers might pop in and check out the lessons the kids create.
I hope we can continue this discussion.
Please find my (blank) staff survey document attached.
Note that I also interviewed a small focus group of enthusiast staff, rather than using a special survey for more frequent users.
Did you/do you have problems with some students not having internet access at home?
We're using Moodle in a primary aged school, and whilst almost all of our pupils have Internet access at home, all the pupils are welcome to stay on at school to use the computer room alongside our homework club. We've also supplied paper based copies of homework where necessary, although this approach means that they can't participate in the discussions and collaborative activities.
we use moodle in our high school courses in Iran (http://raya.schoolnet.ir)
i want to exchange our experiences with other countries. i want to know how you merge moodle with school courses. do you use it instead of classroom? how you teach lessons in this system?
waiting for your reply.