Friday, October 5, 2007

Great Work in Moodle

While I was walking down the hall today I was invited in to take part in an AP English class discussion about Moodle. I learned that the class had just had profound discussions in Moodle about the book they were reading. The entire class and the teacher were ecstatic about the level of the discussions in Moodle. This afternoon I enrolled in the Moodle class and read the discussions. They are indeed profound. The operative question is why has this class been so much more successful than others I've seen? What is so different about this class? Many of these students have Moodled previously but they said this experience was better. Far better. And don't get me wrong; the other work I have seen in Moodle has been good.

What I learned from the students was that they feel much more relaxed working in Moodle in this teacher's class. They mentioned that their other experiences were "too formal". Because the students were too worried about what they were writing, they did not write as much. The lesson to be learned from this is that our students learn more, produce more, produce better work, and engage more when they are relaxed. Don't all of us?


MPardee said...

I have a question--in response to Larry's post--for our KHS fellow Interim Term teachers.

I agree w/ the AP English students who find moodling to be more relaxed & a less formal way for them to write about literature, etc.

And I acknowledge that many students approach all their Interim Term courses in a much more relaxed way than they do both semesters, in the first place.

As a result, I have asked my Int. Term students to write more in journaling/moodling than formal paper/essay-writing mode.

But I wonder if their (more relaxed) moodling during (more relaxed) Interim term doesn't result in TOO MUCH relaxation....

I'd welcome any ideas or responses that other Int. Term faculty colleagues might have on this score. Thanks.

--a(nother) Moodler

George said...

Yes, but the assessment of grammar and sentence structure, which may be what made these kids so nervous in the first place, is still necessary. Even the anxiety it produces is helpful to them in certain situations – i.e. during proofreading once a draft has been produced. I have found I am able to have both (from the same students in the same class at different times) by clearly spelling out exactly how each assignment will – and won’t – be graded and why. Once assessment is tied to clear objectives and students see you keeping your word, they start to relax – except where you don’t want them to.