I installed Moodle on a spare server last June as an experiment. Since my district was an online learning pioneer in Minnesota and continues to work in that area as part of the Northern Star Online collaborative, it seemed logical to see if some of our teachers who have gained experience teaching online might be interested in incorporating some of those skills into their face-to-face courses. The results, at least in terms of popularity, have been dramatic.
What began as a little-promoted experiment has turned into a system that serves nearly 1,600 students in 150 courses across the district. We’ve got teachers and students doing online forums, journaling, sharing links, making wikis, and using many of the other standard Moodle modules. Most of the teachers are using Moodle as a simple course Web page system, posting links to relevant Web sites and uploading course documents, but the flexibility of the Moodle system makes it possible to start simple and add more interactive elements later.
I don’t know how long we can sustain the current growth rate, but I look for Moodle to take off in our elementary schools next. The elementary teachers who are using it love how easy it is to assess their students’ writing. I’m also planning to explore how Moodle can be used to support online staff development. So much Moodling, so little time.