Monday, January 07, 2008

Moodle training - for 64 people

The first day of term, so for many schools that means Inset. Towards the end of last term as a team we began to receive a series of requests to offer Inset training to schools today. Well, we could only be in one place at a time so today Geoff L and I spent one day training what might well have been nearly all of the staff at Holmer Green Senior School. This is a school which has used another learning platform (I Survey Nit, (1, anag.)) in the past and has moved to Moodle. Today our training was very different to the normal funded training we offer for both primaries and secondaries.

The day was broken into hour-long sessions under the umbrella term of Learning is not a spectator sport and as such our sessions were hands on, giving staff the role of students in a VLE Inset Introduction area with Geoff, the school's ICT AST and myself as teachers.
Normally in our 4 session training we'd work through a number of activities, thinking about how they might be used and following up staff experiencing them with a chance to create their own. Such was the compressed nature of today's sessions (with about 40 minutes to be introduced to Moodle after settling in and ensuring that everyone had their username and password) that we eschewed creating examples of activities with staff. Instead we let them be students on a pre-prepared course - undertaking a Choice, a Forum, a Feedback activity, a Quiz and an Assignment as students so that they could get a feel for what's possible within a VLE.
For the first time in training we actively used groups (visible groups in Moodle) so that the sessions were more manageable and that staff could get experience of different cohorts of students (their groups) accessing the same set of materials (the VLE Inset Intro course).
Using a Quiz Results Block in the course allowed staff to see how they'd got on in the general knowledge quiz (1 attempt, a 5 minute time limit, instant feedback) which included a range of questions (matching, short answer, calculated, numerical, mutiple choice, multiple answer and some others).
Today was also the first time we'd actually had course members enrolling themselves in the course and becoming group members at the same time. This is done by setting up the groups and then editing the group details to set an enrolment key for that particular group. This means that, as an alternative to using the default enrolment key, the group's enrolment key can be entered by a student. As well as enrolling the student on the course, the group's enrolment key automagically makes them part of that group. This would be a very easy way of getting a whole year group to self-enrol on a common course while creating groups automatically.
This was the first time we've done a structured training day like this for multiple cohorts. It was a bit of a production line, but actually surprisingly effective. Hopefully it will inform the 4 day training we will do at the school in May and June of this year - staff will now know what they will be involved in creating and learning. The highlight of the day was definitely someone who really really didn't want to be involved at the start and could see little or no relevance who, by the end of the session in question, said "someone from my Dept has got to be involved in this...". Result?

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