Moodle research

An experience on training teachers in managing/creating STEM Moodle based materials

 
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An experience on training teachers in managing/creating STEM Moodle based materials
 
It is well known that training teachers to use Moodle in their teaching is a very important aspect in extending Moodle community. This is very well done by the LearnMoodle courses and it could be considered as a baseline training. However, using Moodle effectively in the teaching of some types of subjects, e.g. Science or Maths (STEM), could require an additional knowledge and training.

MUST is an EU-Erasmus project with a twofold research aim: how to develop Moodle based STEM teaching materials  and how to train teachers in managing such material in a classroom environment as a previous steps for teachers creating their own material. MUST courses contain interactive activities, mainly quizzes and forums. Quizzes include besides standard question types, formulas question type as they allow great interactivity specially when used in conjunction with JsxGraph free software. As courses are aimed to primary/secondary students, Stack question type are for the moment out of our reach. Forums are mainly used for students handling experiment reports.

In addition, the use of quizzes allows teachers to use their embedded learning analytics tools to monitor students performance. In our opinion, the built-in statistics tools are good enough for the teacher analysing student progress as a group and individually. Another interesting point in researching students conceptual understanding is the choosing of relevant questions with an adequate format, and our experience shows that  Moodle allows that.

Building such a courses requires a shift from the traditional teacher to a teacher-engineer (Tchoshanov, 2013),  one who understands the teaching theory and learning sciences in order to effectively design the learning objectives, digital content, and assessment, and to connect them (the so called learning design). In this paradigm,  traditional teaching transforms into a research-based engineering of student learning.

For the moment, material developed consists of a Physics course on Newton’s Laws and an Algebra course. Both courses have been created as OER’s and can be downloaded by interested teachers  in order to test them in their own Moodle platform. (usn=must pwd= must)

As regards teacher training,  in the first year of the project some dissemination activities have  been performed at national level. At European level we have just finished the Online Course Developing Maths-Physics teaching materials in Moodle (October 2015). Participants in this course were STEM teachers with some experience in Moodle, most of them are in fact currently using Moodle in their teaching at some extent. Some of them are using Moodle as a resource repository, others use SCORM and quizzes but only with standard question types. Training consisted of reviewing/discussing  MUST project materials and teachers' own material. Later, there was discussions about effective ways of adding information in STEM subjects, specially use of Maths editors and simulation software (e.g., Geogebra). Finally, the training  was dealing with creating STEM questions.

This is our first experience in teacher training at European level and we are quite happy about the course development as feedback showed that most teachers improved their ability to create more didactic Moodle activities. We have not evidence if any teacher has installed MUST material in their own Moodle yet, we find it to have some difficulty as they have to install the formulas plugin. On the other hand, one teacher has asked us to create a course for her students at the project platform. We found this way of using the project materials as the easy way to start teaching with Moodle.

As project  finishes in September, we have planned to perform a new online course edition at European level on February, in order to enrol European teachers for the face2face  ERASMUS+ EU-course on July. Later we plan to set up a course at international level around May-2016 in order to show MUST project materials to the broader Moodle community.

Mourat Tchoshanov, 2013. Engineering of Learning: Conceptualizing e-Didactics Moscow . http://iite.unesco.org/pics/publications/en/files/3214730.pdf
 
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Re: An experience on training teachers in managing/creating STEM Moodle based materials
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Thanks for sharing your project, Bernat.

It's good to see you had outcomes and received feedback and that you are planning to iterate this project.

Do you have any plans to publish your findings in a conference or journal paper?

 
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Re: An experience on training teachers in managing/creating STEM Moodle based materials
 

Yes, Michael,  it is part of the project dissemination plan to present main findings at conferences and journal papers. Anyway, at this stage of the project, our main aim is to contact with as many teachers as possible in order to validate our course prototypes  and get feedback from pilot experiences in using MUST materials in a classroom environment. It is expected that lessons learned in this process would be later reported.

 
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