As the year trundles, or rather hurtles towards its end I find myself with an agonizing decision to make. Do I stick with my current Learning Management System, Moodle, or join those in my school, who have turned to Google Classroom? This is not something I have thought about since adopting Moodle – it seems a life-time ago now. I am a happy Moodle user, indeed an enthusiast. It is not that Moodle has dropped off in performance, in fact quite the opposite, it has been improving substantially! Is it that I have become smitten with Google Classroom? No, not at all. Google Classroom can’t set a candle to my Moodle!
So why am I considering writing a Dear John letter to my beloved LMS?
The school where I teach is currently rolling out a new IT policy, which has greatly upped the ante, and meant that the vast majority of staff have adopted Google Classroom as their platform of choice. Although Moodle, Classroom and Edmodo all have their adherents, both the older platforms have lost significant support to the new-comer! All our devices are now synched to Google drive so the weight of institutional support for a Google environment has meant that Edmodo and Moodle users have found themselves rapidly depleted in numbers.
I ran one of my classes on Classroom this year to see if I could live with it, and found that although the platform has none of the raw power of Moodle, or none of the appeal of Edmodo, it is easy enough to use, and is improving with time and exposure. What at first I found very counter-intuitive has become tolerable enough to consider moving in together! I’ve gotten used to the hairs in the sink, or the lipstick on the tea-cups, so to speak.
I had a long think about it this week, while invigilating exams, drew up a mental list of pros and cons. My list looked something like this:
|Can do just about anything. Like Mary Poppins it is practically perfect in every way!
No, seriously, it is custom made for classroom management and handles these things very well indeed!
Can do groups, sub-groups, peer assessment, online quizzes – everything!
Assessment using rubrics
|As fewer staff are using it, it is less familiar to students and harder for them to use
It takes up local server space
|Integrates well with Google Drive which is very useful for online collaboration tasks
Easy to mark written work using comments
Integrates with your email well
|Can’t do groups
Doesn’t notify you of new submissions or re-submissions o you have to check everything to see if new works has been submitted
So, after reflecting on this for the length of an excruciating invigilation session, it seemed to me that for my computer skills classes I simply could not give up Moodle as it gave me the ability to assess using rubrics, and to create groups and peer assessment effortlessly. For my English class, however, the affordance of easily linking to Google docs for collaborative writing was irresistible, and despite all Moodle’s benefits, I actually preferred Google Classroom.
Looks like I will end up being unexpectedly promiscuous next year!