I created a tour of my Grade 4 course in Khartoum, Sudan for Moodlers that want to advocate the use of Moodle in elementary, but need help envisioning what that would look like. I hope you enjoy:
Thanks for sharing that post. You are mixing and blending many tools! Great use of Moodle. Like you, we are a K-12 district and we want more elementary kids using Moodle as well. We are working on ways to improve the entire process of authentication, enrollment, and engaging students with the learning content.
We have some tech coaches who are building course materials teachers can "import" into their courses using special permissioning we setup.
The Math-a-thon activity sounds amazing and something that we could all use in elementary. In our school, there is unfortunately inconsistent use of the LMS by teachers. The video I made is supposed to show a model to teachers, but it's been challenging. In addition to building those course materials for teachers, what else have you guys been doing that has worked to motivate teachers to engage in their Moodle courses?
Number one thing across the board is to connect your Moodle to the student information system. Our teachers can click a button and transfer over all grades to our sis.
Second thing is a clean and very organized layout with consistent presentation of materials.
Third, which we are just addressing is getting students from the homepage to the course and enrolled. We have over a dozen top level categories and over 1500 courses, so navigating as a 7 year old can be challenging. We made a plugin which allows you to scan a QR code or enter a 6digit code to instantly be enrolled into a course. It's pretty sweet!
You can see some videos and even try it out on our sandbox by reading the discussion here: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=349802
Beyond that there are many other factors that k12 teachers deal with that most users from the colleges do not. If you want to have that discussion here that would be good. I don't want to hijack your post.
One of the best conversations we've had, which ended up turning into a rubric for self-evaluation on BLE course management, was about the role of the teacher and student as they move through elementary. Obviously the student is less independent and access to the course is less spontaneous the younger you go. We created continuums for different activities - journaling, note taking, testing, etc, to show how the teacher must be leading, creating, and driving blended learning in the earlier years, and how students in grades 4 and 5 are driving the learning in the upper grades.
I have used Moodle for years helping other teachers as well as myself in grades Pre-Kinder through college. It is really a tool which can help all teachers if they are willing to work on it. Here are some observations and examples which might help with elementary students/teachers:
- Let teachers start out slowly with only one or two subjects or concepts,
don't expect them or their students (especially younger students) to be
able to handle everything at the beginning.
- One thing to remember is that teachers can with a little help, share their courses and activities. This way if a teacher has made a super set of activities on a history or science concept etc., they can be backed up and shared with other teachers on the same level.
- Younger students who are not yet reading, can benefit from audio files in the labels, etc. which will read the information or directions for them.
- For young students a Moodle course can be developed as a launch page which has links to take them to the website you would like them to visit. The links can be hidden or shown at different times of the year as the student's knowledge develops.
- Images that help make sense of the topics or help students identify specific categories, etc. are much more valuable than decorative images.
- Train teachers and help them develop assessments that can be formative not just summative.
- Train teachers and help them develop activities which allow for students to work together in groups and post their products or their process depending on their age.
- Using groups/groupings and restricted activities can help with areas where the teacher needs to address the needs of some but not all students.
- The above was used very effectively with an after school tutorial program that had students of multiple ages from 2nd grade through 5th grade.
- For teachers reluctant to get entirely into Moodle, their course can be a place to post homework assignments on regular days and on "snow days" (when weather prevents school being convened).
- Also create a school Moodle course where teachers in the school can have forums within grade levels and other activities to share and discuss what they are doing and get ideas from each other. Forms can also be posted here for teachers to have available for download.
- Remember teachers who are using this really well may need more than one course.
For ideas you might also take a look at courses on the Moodle.net site. Some are in demo locations, but others will need to be downloaded and imported into a Moodle site. There are some for elementary including Swiss Rolls and Sunflowers, Tuck Everlasting Book Club, Moodle Mystery Fun, Where's Matt? and more. These will give you ideas. If your server has room, you can keep them on your Moodle site and let teachers look them over for ideas or use them for training purposes.
Very cool - I'm particularly interested in the audio files for younger students. Have you found an easy way to share and use audio files on iPad? This is something our IT has been looking into and we have been slow to find a solution.
I have been thinking for a while about expanding my course into multiple courses - have you seen a model for elementary that makes the most sense i.e. splitting into multiple courses by subject, or having one for all things social, etc?
Thanks for responding!
One of the easiest ways to share audio files, and video too, is to install and use PoodLL 3 and the Podcast activity (mod_pcast). Just need to be aware that PoodLL 3 does cost money.
The podcast can be used to let the teacher make audio or video recordings for the students to access. It can also be used for students to make recordings for everyone to access.
I use all of the PoodLL set, filter, repository, feedback, submission, database field, anywhere, etc., that lets me to use/record audio and video anywhere in Moodle that uses the Atto editor.
Having all of the PoodLL modules installed does allow for audio and video use in many other activities than just the Podcast.
As AL said poodle is very helpful in Moodle for creating and posting and using files. It is very nice to have things put into the activities in Moodle so you are not juggling several different programs outside Moodle.
I would put as many of the audio files in Moodle as I could if you are wanting to share. I don't have problems with my iPhone or my iPad with audio files (MP4) when they are in a Moodle activity. I would mostly have them in activities. Activities are not difficult to share. If you wanted to share them with teachers who would be using the same ones for multiple Teachers In multiple activities you might have a resource course for teachers with a database activity where they are uploaded and can be searched and downloaded.
As for having multiple courses with older elementary students I would probably have a main course with different topic areas for the areas we are using Moodle for and listing homework etc. Then put a link out to another course you want them using. I would probably only do this for the subject areas or a special unit that I was going to use quite a bit or that I really need students to go back and look at previous work or resources for reference. It will take some training to get them used to where you want them to be if you do this.
I hope that helps some