Monday, April 30, 2007

Variety of Ideas for Using Moodle

In a previous blog entry, I talked about Moodle… what it is, its capabilities, learning how to use it, and a small bit about actually using Moodle in the classroom. Today I’m sharing web sites which include information useful to both users and administrators of Moodle and which give some ideas about how to use Moodle.

If you currently use Moodle or if you’re thinking about using it, I think you’ll find some interesting ideas here.

Moodlebug: Josie Fraser’s Moodle blog: Moodle and Learning Communities
Josie Frazer, a consultant based in the United Kingdom, operates a blog dedicated to Moodle and learning communities. Periodic posts discuss Moodle, including its various versions, and customizing it to serve an individual or a school or district’s needs.

Moodle Journal
Bromley College uses Moodle. Their web site discusses using Moodle and training to use it. Topics may include
"using podcasts, streaming, downloads, training, metadata, scorm, lessons, quizzes, forums, chat, journals and assignments."
Some of their experiments are quite interesting (e.g., combining Second Life with Moodle).

The site polled readers as to which Moodle features they found most useful. The results for 54 persons—when I reviewed them recently—were:
  • Forums 38.9%
  • Assignments 20.4%
  • Quizzes 16.7%
  • Lessons 14.8%
  • Journals 3.7%
  • Workshops 3.7%
  • Chat rooms 1.9%
  • Choice polls 0%
This Moodle section is one part of a web site which supports schools in 17 countries in South East Asia. Several interviews discussing Moodle are quite interesting. Check these:
  • Gareth Davies / Moodlestick
  • Drew Buddie / Moodle user
  • Ray Lawrence / Moodle training, and
  • Michelle Moore / introduction to Moodle.
Gareth Davies: Moodlestick
Gareth Davies discusses the Moodlestick in a video interview. His company produces a USB jump drive on which Moodle has been installed. With this you can learn about Moodle at home or practice using it where and when best suits you. A web site ( for teachers provides support.

Drew Buddie: Long-time Moodle User
Another video interview—this one with Drew Buddie—allows you to hear someone who has been using Moodle for several years talk about it. You can visit his school site (

Ray Lawrence: Moodle Training
Ray Lawrence is an official Moodle partner. His business, HowToMoodle, helps schools as they install and implement Moodle. In this video interview, he explains how Moodle is developed.

Michelle Moore: An Introduction to Moodle
Michelle Moore describes, in an audio interview, Moodle, how it is used, and how this affects education. The interview is long, but contains information useful to both users and administrators of Moodle.

Moodle E-Learning Course Development: A complete guide to successful learning using Moodle
This web site describes a book (also available as a PDF) which covers:
  • installing Moodle
  • using Moodle
  • designing Moodle courses and
  • best educational practices for using Moodle.
The emphasis goes beyond using the technology and focuses on
“better teaching, more motivated students, and more successful courses.”
You can learn how to create courses
“where the group works through the classes with a shared schedule, or where individual students work through at their own pace, or courses where students are free to explore the different topics in their own time.”
This site has a variety of courses that you can download to use in your Moodle… free of charge. The courses are designed for the UK; however, many could be used anywhere.

Moodle Statistics
If statistics sound boring, check out this site about Moodle and its users anyway! You'll be glad you did.

The Edu Techno Revolution: A Classroom Without Walls
Moodle is one of several topics discussed in this blog. The blog entries which cover Moodle topics could be called “tech tips for Moodle”… a variety of useful ideas and techniques are explained. One interesting idea involves posting an RSS feed in Moodle.

Techlearning blog: Wiki, Blog or Moodle?
Moodle is similar to Blackboard. Courses can be organized by topic or by date. Students can use wikis, blogs, and threaded discussions in addition to many other resources. Moodle is easy to use. You can start with just one or two resources and add others as need and/or time suggests.

eduspaces: e-learning 2.0
This blog includes postings from, interesting comments from an individual at Bromley College as he experiments with Moodle, experiments include Second Life and a vlog from an avatar. Interesting reading!

opensource classroom: I know what the title says, but don’t box me in man!
The author shares how he succeeded in getting Slideshare to work with Moodle.

Blog Juice for Educational Technology: A Moodle Keynote Conversation
Teachers list their favorite Moodle features… with comments.

From where I hover… Information and Community for Educators using M.U.V.E.’s
Another educator experiments with Moodle and Second Life.

Mr. Fjelstrom’s Geometry Blog
Whether you’re into geometry or not, check out this site and follow some of the links. You’ll find lots of good ideas for any course.

anne marie’s ls590 blog: some firm ground in the metaflow…
This educator examines growth in Moodle course content over a two-year period. She shares some very good ideas.

Classroom Meets Technology: Kraemer’s Tech Blog
I think I found a really good Moodle training blog! The links at this site should help to provide a sound foundation for an educator who cares about pedagogy and who wants to learn how to use Moodle well. Support site for K-12 educators who use Moodle
This is two sites in one… a blog about using Moodle and a link to a web site where you can find tips for using Moodle in the classroom.

MACUL Conference Blog:
WebQuest and Moodle: The Perfect Pair!
This educator talks about using webquests with Moodle. Excellent idea!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sites to Check for SMART Board Ideas

SMART Boards--and other interactive white boards--continue to increase in popularity as classroom technology tools. Ideas for using SMART Boards in all grades and subjects can be found (
  • Save lessons for students who have been absent.
  • Record short tutorials for using various software packages and then burn these tutorials to CDs.
  • Prepare lectures and training sessions and then burn them to CDs to use as lesson plans for substitute teachers.
At least one school district suggests having students use the SMART Board to present their research projects. If these presentations are recorded, they then can be played for parents during parent-teacher conferences. And, in fact, if the students are involved in the conference, the students could go to draft presentation to make modifications so parents could see the teaching/learning process in action.

YouTube has some interesting videos showing SMART Boards. At you don't have to understand the speaker's native language to appreciate his demonstration of Google Earth. And the simulation at is very interesting to watch.

Some of the videos do a very nice job of illustrating the possibilities for using SMART Boards to enhance teaching. I recommend watching these three...
And, finally, I cannot close without listing some additional web sites to visit for lesson plans, activities, and templates. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lots of Labels

This week I attached labels to each of the entries in this blog. If you (or I!) want to view a previous post to check something, we can search for the appropriate label. Just scroll down the list of labels and click on one. The blog(s) containing that label will be displayed. All new entries added to the blog will have labels. This should be helpful! :)

Google Book Search Can Help with Research

You’ve heard of Google Book Search. You’ve seen books show up on your searches. Have you checked out all the information that Book Search provides? Have you used it by itself?

For some books, Google Book Search lets you search the entire book. For others, you can read portions of the book. Current estimates are that Google has scanned one million books into their database… some popular titles, some out-of-print books, and some in public domain. Book Search can help you and your students find books to help with research and projects. Using Book Search is a fast way to examine a large number of books.

You can use Book Search by itself… and your search results will show only books. Or you can search on… and if there are books relevant to your search, up to three of those books will be listed along with the other results of your search.

When a search yields a book, you can…
• browse some pages in the book,
• do more searching in that book,
• view reviews of the book,
• find where to buy the book,
• find a library from which you can check out the book, and
• for some titles, read the entire book.

What information is provided for each book? You’ll find…
• title,
• author,
• publication date,
• length,
• subject,
• links to bookstores where you can buy the book, and
• links to libraries where you can borrow the book.

For some books you will find…
• key terms,
• key phrases,
• references from scholarly publications or other books,
• chapter titles,
• a list of related books, and
• the publisher’s web site.

You can download, save, and print a PDF version of books that are in the public domain. There are limited previews (a few pages) of books whose authors have “partnered” with Google.

Google has shared the reactions of some Book Search users…
"I LOVE Google Book Search! I have purchased an extra dozen books this year I would otherwise not have. Being able to look inside and search for key terms helps me decide which books I need to buy. In the past, I found books online but was usually not willing to gamble the cover price for the chance it would have what I need..." – High School Teacher

"I recently used Google Book Search to research a paper on the civil rights movement and found so many great books that I never would have found otherwise. Google Book Search sped up my research 10 times. Thanks for the help…”
– Student

"While trying to write a comparative paper on a novel, I remembered a passage of text I wanted to reference, but had no clue where it was in the book. I was able to find the novel with great ease on Google Book Search and then search for the passage I was looking for. The page I needed was restricted, however enough of the context appeared to guide me to the right spot in my own copy of the book… I'm… saving time by not having to read large swaths of the book again." - Student
Read more about Google’s Book Search in Wikipedia at

C-SPAN Helps You Bring the 2008 Presidential Campaign to the Classroom

C-SPAN Classroom can help teachers bring the 2008 presidential campaign into the classroom. In fact, C-SPAN has already started to do so. They are providing resources, discussion questions, and free, downloadable video clips every week at

In addition to providing these resources at their web site, C-SPAN also has a Campaign 2008 Bus that is traveling to classrooms throughout the nation. If the bus is stopping nearby, you can visit it. Or you can request that it come to your middle school or high school. For more information on the bus tour, visit

Plus, you can watch C-SPAN’s campaign coverage on the Road to the White House series on television on Sundays. And for additional campaign video, go to

Monday, April 9, 2007

PBS Teachers

PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) has created a portal--PBS Teachers ( all their educational resources and services. Through this web site, teachers can access free standards-based lesson plans, classroom activities, videos, on-demand streaming video, blogs, and professional development information. Resources are organized by subject, grade level, and curriculum topic. The portal started this month (April, 2007). This summer the ability to bookmark, annotate, and share the resources will be available.

In addition to accessing national PBS resources through this portal, you can localize the web site to your local PBS station and access resources from there.

Professional Development is available through PBS TeacherLine ( Teachers enrolled in PBS TeacherLine can earn graduate credit and CEUs.

The PBS Shop for Teachers ( can help you find DVDs and other education resources linked to PBS series and specials.

PBS has been an excellent source of information and materials for teaching and learning for a long time. This portal web site simplifies access to their educational resources for teachers. This will be very helpful.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Teacher Magazine: Lead. Learn. Innovate. Inspire.

Interesting articles. Great photos. Inspiring ideas. Best practices. Quick reads for busy lives. And--best of all--you can subscribe via RSS! Check out this web site / magazine...

Teacher Magazine: Lead. Learn. Innovate. Inspire.

Teacher Magazine is available on the web and in print. It covers news--local, state, and national--and preschool through 12th-grade issues. The site offers content for educator-leaders, best practices, and encouragement for reflection by educators.

The articles are an interesting collection of projects that other teachers are doing, information about issues that affect all of us in education, activities that we might want to implement in our teaching, and stories that inspire. And great photos... teacher-submitted photos that draw you into the teaching-learning process.

The current web site includes three stories from the current print issue (March/April 2007), two stories from the archives, photos submitted by teachers sharing their learning communities, highlights of three stories, one from the web and two from print, blogs, an interview, a book review, a poll, and an interactive section: talkback, blogs, chat transcript, feedback, and jobs.

Topics available on the web site include instruction, profession, technology, school environment, students and community, sports and activities, non-traditional schools, and lifestyle. Several opinion options are present: first person, perspective, classroom tech, letters, and book reviews. Web Features are the web watch, blogboard, curriculum notes, trend tracker, audio, and photo galleries. The community area has talkback, chat transcript, blogs, calendar, grants, ask the mentor, and teachers with cameras.

Articles available on the current web site include…
• Marty Mentzer’s Basketball Poets club… student achievement levels have risen
• Some California students may be able to increase their grades based on their state test results
• The 10th annual survey of educational technology from Education Week
• Blog by a teacher who has just completed his portfolio for the National Board
• Bus duty
• Interview with a new congressman who is a former educator
• A field trip to test students’ practical mathematics skills
• Book review of The Hurried Child… the disappearance of playing
• Shakespeare’s sonnets for special education students
• Learning advanced mathematics via machining
• Year-round schooling
• Value-added measures
• Middle-school students
• Reaching gifted children

This web site has…
• articles to help you teach,
• articles to help you take care of yourself and meet your goals and needs, and
• articles to inspire you.

Check it out!