Over the last few days the Vodacom Mobile Education Centre at our district has been abuzz with activity. Teachers and district staff were being put through their paces and shown how to use technology in support of Mathematics teaching and Moodle in support of the various subjects of the national curriculum. When you talk about Moodle, many educators still don’t know how valuable a resource it is. So, what is Moodle?
A quick trawl of the internet provides the following definition, derived from Moodle.org:
Moodle is a software package for producing Internet-based courses and web sites. It is a global development project designed to support a social constructionist framework of education.
The word Moodle was originally an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, which is mostly useful to programmers and education theorists. It's also a verb that describes the process of lazily rambling through something, doing things as it occurs to you to do them, an enjoyable tinkering that often leads to insight and creativity. As such it applies both to the way Moodle was developed, and to the way a student or teacher might approach studying or teaching an online course.
Moodle is provided freely as Open Source software (under the GNU General Public License). Basically this means Moodle is copyrighted, but that you have additional freedoms. You are allowed to copy, use and modify Moodle provided that you agree to: provide the source to others; not modify or remove the original license and copyrights, and apply this same license to any derivative work.
I was fascinated to see the intensity on the faces of our GET and FET Subject Advisors as they meandered through the course contents. Needless to say, I reminded them that the challenge they face after this series of exposures, is to show the many teachers at our schools how to extract maximum value from Moodle and demonstrate how our practitioners can enhance their current classroom-based practices through this medium. So, over the next couple of months, I anticipate that our vocabulary will expand to include terms like, learning objects, plugins, text editors, hubs, add-ons, repositories and so on.
We have no choice when it comes to integrating technology into our teaching, especially in rural settings. It is the one platform that can assist teachers in multi-grade environments to ensure effective curriculum coverage.
What do you think? do leave a comment.
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