Today I've been at Gillott's School in Henley in Oxfordshire doing a day's work with some staff who are starting to develop the school's use of Moodle. Today there were six staff, two technical people, two Curriculum ICT staff, one person from MFL and one from Science. It was a fruitful day, we spent a lot of time going through worked examples of activities - choices, forums, assignments, lessons and then some....
- you can get the latest BBC Bitesize Revision areas for each subject in your site automatically via RSS?
- you can use Google News or Yahoo! News to customise the sorts of stories you want on your Moodle site and have them fed in via RSS?
- etc. etc.
It always makes me chuckle (or is it weep?) when someone selling Moodle to the as-yet-unitiated makes a huge deal of the fact that "you can have Newsround headlines, a link to your own school web site (no really, that's a very technical thing), a Wikipedia search, etc. on your Moodle site if we set it up for you" - good grief, we'll be allowed to change some text on our own Moodle front page next... it's not that these are bad things (obviously they're not) but it's the implication that "without us you couldn't do this" - it breeds dependence, and I'm pretty sure that the whole ethos of Moodle promotes the opposite...
This is why it's worth spending time developing capability in schools - so that staff and pupils can start to explore this for themselves. On Monday at our primary training day the overwhelming comment from everyone there was "this is so easy" - speaking on a personal level, it does my head in when people start to sell Moodle to schools from an odd position - namely the "this will change your world" point of view. It might do, but what's important here is the ability to change thinking, to modify expectations, not simply to make a fast buck by hosting oodles of Moodles without thinking about impacts on teaching and learning. Sorry, rant over.
In the meantime, here's a list of things I need to do for Bucks Moodlers in the near future:
- combine the Primary VLE and Moodle Users areas on the BucksGfL into one - they shouldn't really be separate
- provide information on Creative Commons tools for when (I hope) we start to share courses beyond Buckinghamshire
- make a Captivate screencast on using RSS feeds in Moodle (that'll be freely available somewhere, probably on Google Video or something, but it'll definitely be in the BucksGfL Moodle users area as well
- write my presentation for the Naace conference next week (oh, and someone please change that picture...)
- request (again) that the company which keeps writing to all of our primary schools (create mail merge document > open spreadsheet of Bucks schools > merge > post...) - offering them Moodle and confusing the heck out of them - would desist from doing so, or at least be reasonable. No links in this bullet point. At least not yet...