I posted the following as a response to Paul McMahon’s post “Where do we Mash to?” Whether we are talking about students in Hong Kong and other parts of east Asia (as Paul is) or here in Oklahoma, I agree with Kent Brooks that Moodle is as close to a “killer app” as we can find today in education with respect to blended learning, particularly when it comes to organizational portals (the subject of Paul’s post.)
Paul: I think the key is helping students as well as parents develop their own capacities and dispositions as “digital citizens.” No, teachers can’t take and shouldn’t take responsibility for everything students do and encounter online at school or away from school. The analogy of driving is appropriate here. What we are doing (or should be doing) is helping equip kids to be responsible and ethical decision makers when they are outside the direct control and supervision of adults and teachers. Will they make bad choices? Will they mess up? Inevitably. The world is and will remain a dangerous place filled with diverse options, and we need to help our students make good choices.
In terms of the “portal” idea, I was struck a couple of weeks ago following a conversation with Scott Charlson and Kent Brooks about how “un-needed” technology support departments are from a certain perspective. For teachers and students who want to utilize web 2.0 tools, everything they need is “out there” on the web and available. The reality is, of course, that the majority of teachers are NOT innovator / early adapter teachers, and therefore won’t use these tools without formal support and encouragement.
Portals are therefore important to help the early majority, late majority, and (perhaps) laggard teachers with respect to technology integration get on board and utilize these tools. The experiences of Scott and Kent at WOSC suggest that Moodle may be “the killer app” when it comes to organizational elearning and blended learning portals. My suggestion, if you have not already, is to setup a Moodle server and invite several of your more adventurous teachers to utilize it as a sandbox with students. Moodle is free, very robust, has a great user community, and can take away some of the important excuses teachers as well as administrators may put forward when it comes to elearning portals: EXPENSE. Moodle isn’t free, you still need a server and bandwidth, as well as technical folks to support the installation, but comparatively speaking I think there are VERY compelling reasons for utilizing it as the sort of portal it sounds like you’re looking for.
Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Common Core / Curriculum."
On this day..
- Playing with Media in Houston, Texas - 2011
- Education can empower us with skills to act upon the world - 2010
- Sketchcasting: A combination of blogging, talking and drawing! - 2010
- Lots of phone stalls, but not many phones! - 2010
- T3 Grant Notes (ARRA Stimulus funds for Educational Technology competitively released by the Texas Education Agency) - 2009
- Podstock Southwest in El Paso - 6-7 August 2009 - 2009
- Discussing GirlsGoGames.com - A conversation about values and media literacy - 2009
- The benefits of unplugging - 2008
- Professional development and professional learning networks are key - 2007
- AT&T Education Advocacy - 2006