Where’s the Moodle?

I still believe in the ability of using a course management system on-line, and I am still a supporter of Moodle usage in schools as the number one choice for teachers in a K-12 environment as it provides a wonderful organized course page for teachers, administrators, parents, and students to communicate assignments, handouts, resources, grades, emails, and other learning modules.  I am even willing to host your school’s Moodle transactions to prove that to you (matt@mattmoore.net).  However, as a new teacher at a new school, I also understand that there is a clear need to merge personal teaching methods and practices into the established system of a new school so that all constituents can communicate clearly with the new teacher.  Education is more important than the system.Technology is a tool that can never override the need of a school to communicate with all constituents in a clearly defined process with a comfortably trained community.   Consequently, I am currently not using Moodle this year in order to communicate clearly in an previously established system.  Therefore, I am happy to tell you that I have been dabbling with other tools such as RenWeb, WikiSpaces, and a Drupal based system to deliver my homework assignments, communicate with parents, run a gradebook system, and generate reports.  I am learning new tools, and I have some valuable evaluations that I will share with you at a later time.  While I am still evaluating these systems there are definitely pros and cons of each system that can benefit a school that needs to promote itself for admission purposes and student progress purposes.

So if you have been reading my most recent blogs, you may realize that I am teaching Spanish full time this year with five preps, creating dynamic language based lessons on a SMARTBOARD, switching to a MAC at school, using systems such as RenWeb, WikiSpaces, and a Drupal system, and finding new ways to use technology to create language learning lessons.  I am embracing change, and I adapting well if I may brag a little.  But most of all I am observing students speak, write, read, and listen in Spanish well.  Learning is happening in my class and Technology is being integrated into the curriculum.

Advertisements

Third week with SMART board

As I prepare to begin my third week with my SMART board, I have learned some valuable usages.  I am finding that I can plan better for my students because I have saved exactly what I discussed in class, and I am finding that keeping a weekly board is more beneficial than starting a new board document every day.  I also am able to incorporate unique digital emphasis strategies that make longer term connections with my students.  I can also convert board work to documents and use only the vocabulary written on the board in my tests and quizzes so I can monitor better what vocabulary items the students already know and I can reinforce and provide problems that are confidence building.In keeping true to my commitment not to use traditional pens or traditional ink, I have done so, and my students and I are happy with the change.  As for constraints I only have a few technical discoveries at this point.  The first is a simple fix as I share my room with a math teacher who has different settings on his computer, I will need to reorient the software so that my computer works with the board efficiently post his usage.  I believe that SMART has a useful orientation tool that makes this easy. In addition, I have found that I sometimes find issues with Spanish accent marks when the SMART board notebook and Microsoft Word are running at the same time.  Usually if I close one then I am fine with the typing commands.  I do not like that problem as it is a part of daily usage for foreign language teachers, and I will probably send an email to request a fix of this bug to SMART and Microsoft.

Finally, I have to let everyone know that I am doing really well at my new school, and I am very happy to be here and impressed with my students.  Sometimes life has an ironic way of making everything work out.  I still work in Chatsworth, and I still have the same commute.  As for some bonuses,  I am looking out my window every day at a construction of a new campus that will continue to provide great technology usage and a newer environment that is pleasing to our parent community and student body.  And at our faculty trustee dinner of our 35th year, I learned that Chatsworth Hills Academy just earned  “Best Private School” by the Daily News Readers Choice Awards for the fourth year in a row.

This small town kid from West Virginia is doing OK.