Monday, February 14, 2011
Moodle vs Blogs
I tried out using a blog, posting the question and then having students comment. It worked, but the logistics just about killed me. First, I needed to keep my students’ identities private. Second, since teens don’t listen well to instructions, I knew that I needed to do the setup myself.
This is doable with a class of 22 third-graders. When you get into secondary education, where you may have 150 to 200 students, you ask yourself regularly if you are nuts. To set up just two classes of students took me a good chunk of a summer week. (Create the account, get the verification email, but first set up dummy emails in your gmail accounts, click on the right link….) “Free” tools are great, but the time cost is one of the dirty little secrets of using technology.
The blog only allows for one discussion thread, and I have always enjoyed the way multiple conversations (threads) appear during my own online classes, providing for lots of diverse-but-focused conversations. I also want my students to use wikis and blogs. And each new tool requires setting up more accounts – for which students will promptly lose the passwords. ;)
I decided I needed one platform (location) with one setup and one logon. Is there a steeper learning curve for me with Moodle? Oh, yes. But 1) I have a safe location, so kids can use their own names, 2) I only have to set up student information once (except for when they forget their passwords, of course J), 3) students only have to remember one logon, and 4) there are lots of versatile tools I can use within Moodle including wikis and blogs.
One downside is that it’s hard to show student work to parents easily. But POS (parent over shoulder) is working for us for now.