I realised this week what the sum of me was. The school year has just begun, and for the first three days of the term I was involved in planning and coordinating a Thinking Skills Workshop with our grade 8s. I was busy doing my lesson planning for English and Computer Skills lessons, and that is what has consumed my time as a teacher. But that’s not what the school sees, or what my colleagues think of me. My first email to all staff was about the Moodle Roll-over. Like it or not, what I am to my colleagues is Mr Moodle.
Someone in a post-modern school has to be responsible for running the LMS or VLE, and it’s a role I enjoy and embrace. I believe that hybrid learning, flipped classrooms and all that are here to stay. They are not just fads. Things will change – technologies will be explored and enhanced. If something is not useful pedagogically, it will be set aside – for something better! The technologies will change! What will never happen is to de-technologize education. We can never go back to teaching with outdated technology. As a boy I remember writing a Geography exam, and trying to decipher rivers from contour lines on the paraffin copied map we had been given. I called the invigilator over and asked if he could tell the difference. “Do your best, boy!” was all he could say. No one in their right minds would want to roll-back the technology we have available now to an earlier time.
Education is much, much more than the technology, and always will be, but I guess someone has to make it their business to champion new technologies and try to show others what can be done with them. This blog was started as fulfillment of an obligation to point my colleagues in the direction of avenues they might explore, and serves as the IT department blog for my school. A great deal has changed in the three years since it was started: many more teachers are exploring educational technology, and integrating it into their lessons. Many more teachers are now using the Moodle platform too, despite Moodle’s reputation as a clunky and unfriendly animal that all should avoid. Moodle has improved, and teachers are less afraid of using digital platforms. Many have found that Edmodo or a class blog lacks real power when you need it, and that Moodle has that power under the hood – even if the learning curve is a little steeper!
I have seen Moodle climb in the lists of top educational technologies and I believe it is now number 11, and has sat there for a number of years. That hardly sounds like the Moodle that everyone tells me will never catch on in the classroom because it is too difficult for teachers. Once embraced, it is actually not that hard to learn. You can start small and grow as you become more confident with it, too. You don’t have to use everything all at once. But, crucially, there is a great deal of functionality in Moodle, and it is a great comfort to know that it is being developed continuously. I firmly believe that 2014 is the year to take another look at Moodle!
I am then, proudly, Mr Moodle.