5 Ways for your students to say “Hi” in Moodle

Having your students introduce themselves can be a powerful and useful activities. Whether your class meets in person or just online, Moodle can help your students introduce themselves to you or to the entire class.

Teachers can use any to the modules below to find out more about their students. Which module you pick is dependent upon what you want and how you want to know that. Some questions to consider:

  1. Do you want all of the students to see the information?
  2. Do you want to guide students by having a form or do you want them to follow directions?
  3. Do you have a comfort level with using a specific module?

Glossary

This one is probably my favorite way for students to introduce themselves. Set up a Glossary, and then let the students add in information. Each student would enter their own name as the “term” and then whatever information that you want as the definition.

Important Notes:
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy for students to enter their information
  • Can be used with the Random Glossary Block to display a student name for other students in the “side bar”
  • No automatic grading (but can be graded)
  • All students can include pictures
  • Entries can be approved by the teacher before the other students can see them

Database

This allows the teacher to set up a “form” for the students to fill out. The database is viewable by all students.

Important Notes:
  • Allows for multiple types of information (such as checkboxes, pictures) to be collected.
  • Checkboxes means that specific information can be gathered. May be especially useful for lower grades.
  • Easy for students to enter their information
  • A bit more work for the teacher to set up
  • No automatic grading (but can be graded)
  • All students can include pictures
  • Entries can be approved by the teacher before the other students can see them

Forum

The Forum module allows the teacher to set up a forum in which each student would create a post. The post can have a variety of information in it. However, it is more limited than the Glossary or Database.

Important Notes:
  • Easy to set up
  • Each student can reply specifically to other students
  • Can be graded
  • Each student gets a separate line

Assignment

Many teachers are comfortable with the Assignment module. Unlike the Glossary and Database modules, the Assignment module will only be viewable by the teacher.

Important Notes:
  • Easy to set up
  • Limited to teacher viewing the information
  • Private between each student and the teacher

Quiz

Like the Assignment module above, the Quiz module would be limited to collection of information about students. Only the teacher will see all of the responses. The advantage of the Quiz module is that the teacher can create a template for the student to complete.

Important Notes:
  • Many teachers are comfortable with creating a Quiz
  • Limited to teacher viewing the information
  • Private between each student and the teacher

How many?

I’m a fan of Vicki Davis. I think that she is generally very practical. She seems to really work with real kids, in real classrooms. She also seems to have a real life. However, a recent post of hers got me to thinking. The post was about 11 ESSENTIAL EDTECH ACTION STEPS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL. In the post, she mentions several tools that she (and, in some cases, her students) use. Which then lead to my wondering just how many tools she (and her students) use.

Now this matters to me because I work with a wide variety of teachers, parents and students. One of the frustrations that parents end up expressing is how many different sites and places that their kids have to go to complete assignments. Some of these parents express how frustrated their kids are at not being able be successful. Some of these kids are special needs.

So, here a quick list of the tools from that post:

Now, let me be fair. Some of these are things that a user would be interested in. Some are choices (either this or that). But, if you are not a techie, this is overwhelming.

Then I read a bit farther down. There is a link to the “163 tools Superhandout!”.

11 Essential EdTech Action Steps for Back to School 2016-07-30 15-22-11

163 tools. I’m afraid that this leads to the habit and belief that one must check out and use all of these tools. I’d much prefer teachers to learn a few really powerful tools at a deep level than to dally around with 163 tools.

163 tools. I still can’t get over that. We already know about the paradox of choice. I believe that this is part of the reason that technology hasn’t had an even bigger impact on education. We need to focus on the how, the why and then the what.

Now I also know that as a blogger, we need to blog regularly. (I’m guilty of not blogging regularly. I blog when I truly have something to say, the time and the motivation. That certainly doesn’t help with popularity. Popular blogs post regularly.) Lots of bloggers want (need, should, etc) make money from blogs. Making money depends on sponsorships, ads and lots of posting.

Again, I’m not really being critical of Vicki Davis. I respect what she does and talks about. I think that she is important in keeping the conversation going. I just want to put forth that sometimes quality is the most important feature. I hope that teachers will pick a couple of tools (preferably school-wide) that will help students learn and be successful.

How many tools will your students use this year?

ISTE Day 3

Monday was the full on ISTE Conference experience. Lots of walking. Lots of learning. As a side note, I’m attending ISTE with an iPad (and an external keyboard) and an iPhone. I use Notability for taking notes, the ISTE app to know where I’m going, Safari (and Chrome) for web browsing, Messages for staying in contact with the rest of my team, Mail to keep up with email and Mr. Reeder to stay up on the news. I also use tchat.io to keep up with Twitter at any conference. Using split view allows me to stay on top of at least two things at a time. 

Here are a few of the sessions that I attended:

  • Blended Learning
  • Create Your Own Digital Curriculum

  • GAFE App Management

The Blended Learning focused on the different models of blended learning. It was noted that we traditionally stay at the bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy. 

Create Your Own Digital Curriculum didn’t really fit my needs. It was too much about a variety of tools without specifics on how it is being used. 

GAFE App Management was OK. I did know most of the material, so I didn’t necessarily learn much. I did think that it was interesting that there were quite a large number of attendees. This is a session that would’ve benefitted Super Admins in GAFE. Most of the attendees didn’t sound like they were Super Admins. 

Once again there was lots of good stuff. Some of the best parts of the conference were hallway conversations. One such conversation was with another attendee prior to the GAFE session. She had attended a session on Google Apps and shared some really good resources. 

ISTE Day 2

ISTE Day 2 was predominately two things, the TeachMeet and the Keynote. The TeachMeet was an interesting experience. Essentially, the attendees can sign up (via Google Form) to present to the group. You can present pretty much whatever you want. The only restriction is that it can’t be a “sales pitch”. The morning session of the TeachMeet was filled with people and had lots of energy. Then we had lunch. The room went from full to about a quarter of the room occupied. There was still lots of good stuff presented though.  

Individuals completed a form that included their name, their topic and the time that they wanted to present (2 minutes, 7 minutes or 20 minutes). There is no vetting of the speakers or the material. Yet most of them were really well done. I even talked my Tech Coach into presenting on a couple of projects that she did with elementary student involvement. 

A couple of speakers spoke twice. This seemed less than optimal. It really kind of changed the feel of the event from a democratic, share what you know, to more of an “expert” presentation. I greatly preferred to hear from each presenter once. 

By the afternoon, things were wearing a bit. Maybe it was the much lower number of attendees and lower energy level. Maybe it was just that the brain loves novelty and the novelty had worn off. 

So, here’s my suggestion. Combine the UnConference and TeachMeet. Get people together to propose different sessions. Then have one (or a group) talk quickly about the general discussion. In other words, identify some topics to discuss and then “pitch” them for 2 minutes. Then break out into those sessions. 

The Keynote, by Michio Kaku, was good as well. He was engaging and informative. 

ISTE Day 1

Day one of ISTE was all about registration and the UnConference. I attended several sessions. These sessions are all proposed, discussed, decided and delivered the day of the UnConference. These are a terrific opportunity to network with a variety of other people. It is also a great opportunity to find out what other schools and school systems are doing. Many times these conversations are hugely valuable because you can have real conversations about real environments. The chance to ask questions and get personal answers are very specific. This also skips over people feeling like they have to present the best possible “face” of the district and answer in depth. 

Another great thing about the UnConference is being able to baseline where you are and where your district is. For example, the Tech Coaches for the district (Amy and Bob) came with me to the conference. One of the things that they have discovered is that they do really great work. I can tell them that (and I do), but for them to realize where our teachers are compared to others, is extremely powerful. 

ISTE 2016

ISTE 2016 Unconference starts today. I’ll be heading off to listen, learn and share with others. This is always a great opportunity to listen and reflect on where we are in Education, regarding technology and more. It’s also a great opportunity to figure out where we should be going next. 

There will be lots of great people here. They’ll have lots of great ideas. There will be lots and lots of walking too. 

EduTopia Recognition

Edutopia frequently has some good articles. Lately, they have really nailed it. They have recognized the Middle School Matters podcast as one of the podcasts that you should listen to.

Check out the article. Here is the write up from the article:

This show has over 300 episodes and includes some very practical conversations about the day-to-day life of a teacher. It really is like hanging out in the teacher’s lounge after school – equal parts “shop talk” and hanging out. I appreciate the specificity of their conversations and their chats about pedagogy (rubrics, teaching strategies, the Middle School Science Minute). Their website offers detailed show notes of what they chat about in every episode.

Thanks Edutopia.

The Top 25 Tools…You won’t believe #4

Below you will find a list of the top 50 tools that you can use in your classroom. You won’t believe how incredibly powerful number 4 is. Number 4 can completely change your classroom.

25 Moodle
24 Moodle
23 Moodle
22 Moodle
21 Moodle
20 Moodle
19 Moodle
18 Moodle
17 Moodle
16 Moodle
15 Moodle
14 Moodle
13 Moodle
12 Moodle
11 Moodle
10 Moodle
9 Moodle
8 Moodle
7 Moodle
6 Moodle
5 Moodle
4 Moodle
3 Moodle
2 Moodle
1 Moodle

 

Now, if this was a real Buzzfeed article, you would’ve had to click through lots of pages to see each tool. But here’s the thing, instead of playing around with 25 different tools, learn one that will truly help your students. Moodle can do exactly that. Moodle can help allow for specific, timely feedback. Moodle can allow students to time shift their learning. Teachers can provide students with experiences that students can review and reuse.

I certainly understand the fascination with new tools. I’ve sat through my share of 60 tools in 60 minutes presentations. I’ve played around with lots of different tools. But, it really comes down to the classroom. It comes down to the students. The students don’t need new tools to play around with. They need tools and experiences that will help them learn and grow. Moodle will do exactly that.

So take some time to invest in yourself and your students. Learn some Moodle today.