Every year our grade 8 and 9 students spend four days engaged in a challenging task which calls upon them to find real world solutions to a problem, and present their findings. This year we used Moodle for students to give us feedback on the task, and to vote for the winning presentations.
Students were organized in groups and had to research, cost and plan an educational tour to any destination. Each group had a mentor, with whom they had to check in once a day, but they could work anywhere on campus or from home, virtually.
As one student wrote:
“It was also nice having the freedom to do the work where ever we wanted to, and not just have to sit in a class. We were also in charge of our own time which I enjoyed as we were able to work better as we gave ourselves little breaks after working for a long period of time. It was also nice to be in charge of ourselves, but also having a mentor that we could go to when we needed was helpful. I enjoyed this task as it was something completely different then what we usually do, and we got to see how difficult it actually is to plan a tour.”
Each group had to develop their own criteria to evaluate the other groups, and use these to vote for a Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal presentation. The primary reason for choosing to use Moodle for this purpose was ease of use. Having submissions made electronically provides a record of the evaluations which could be tracked by the many teachers involved in the cross-curricular task. Much easier than handing around pieces of paper! It was also chosen because it is far easier for the students as well, as it allowed for students to complete the evaluation in their own time – something they enjoyed about the whole project generally.
The four days of the project showed a glimpse of the kind of learning experiences which are going to become increasingly common in the future. While this project used Moodle only for feedback and for voting a winner, all groups worked digitally on laptops, cell-phones or on desktop computers all over the campus and from home.
What struck me though was the use of our learning management system, not as a channel for presenting content to students, but as a feedback channel for students to communicate information back.