Monday, August 30, 2010

First steps in SL

Last night I met some of my mates from M4T-Advanced and our facilitator Glen at Conviviality Corner in SL!

We had fun and tried some of the tools out! Here are a couple of pictures I took there!

Moodle Course Design. Constructivist Platform of Moodle

Co facilitating this live session on WiZiQ has been a very nice experience. I want to thank IT4ALL for giving me this opportunity and my friends Carol and Magda for preparing this with me!
Enjoy the slides!

Or you can watch the recording here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Moodle?

Teaching cannot be done without technology anymore. Given that education should be about personal change, it is important to know where we are, where we hope to go and how we should change in order to fit the new contexts. We have to consciously take part in the process of education. The value of education depends on this.

There are many LMSs. Why Moodle, then?

All I can say for now - as I am not at all an expert on Learning Management Systems, but just a learner who is doing her best to learn - is that Moodle allows designers to create a learning environment based on constructivist views. Moodle makes learning possible as a process of learning by doing. It doesn't provide us with mere theory, but also with practice. It has a system that allows us to learn. Its lessons and exercises are made for learning, not for punishing, they can be repeated as many times as we want and at our own pace.

Learning should be based around our student's questions. The students should work together to solve problems rather than receiving direct instructions on what to do from their teachers. The teacher's job isn't only to provide knowledge, but to help students along the process of discovering knowledge themselves. This is called inquiry learning. It's a kind of learning where the teachers are not vessels of knowledge, but they should be seen as facilitators of learning. And this is the kind of learning/teaching I want to stick to!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Buddy Team's Card

As part of my advanced M4T course, I had to choose a partner and design a card to introduce ourselves.
Carol, my mate, is very skilled in graphic design!
Here's what came out! Enjoy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

21st Century Education and a VLE: random thoughts

Let's step back and look at the big picture. Now I know that there are a lot of nifty Moodle capabilities and techniques but they are only useful if they are utilized in an effective learning /teaching environment.
During this week, at IT4ALL, we are discussing and exchanging our thoughts about questions like_ "What is a Learning Environment?" What makes it different from F2F, or just a simple web site, from web-based communities like Amazon, Wikipedia, etc.?

Here are some ideas:

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows” - Sydney J. Harris (American Journalist and Author)
I have always liked this sentence. One can look at his image reflected in a mirror without noticing anything elsa but himself. Education helps us see through ourselves and into reality. Reality is right out there, if we are able to look through the window.

Educating is a very delicate process. What is, or better should be, the purpose of education? How can it be achieved? What qualities and abilities will today's learners need in order to make the difference in the world we're living in? What tools do we have and how can they be used in the process of education?
It's difficoult to answer, and there are too many aspects to be considered, but technology can surely be one of the answers.

A learning environment is a place where we can learn. It can be the classroom, but it can also be an LMS. Distance learning and Moodle allow students to learn from their own computer at home, it brings the best courses directly to their houses, without having to move away and without having to spend money for transport, accomodation and so on.

I have created courses with Dokeos, but not with Moodle, even if I have tried the tools. What I will produce within IT4ALL will be my first whole Moodle module.

My course design framework will include a general presentation module, some content modules and an assessment session with different types of tests. Then I will provide a rationale of my programme.

My next challenge: creating a podcast with my answers

Friday, August 20, 2010

Later Thoughts about my Final Project at M4T

Last night I thougt that the best way to show my future fellow teachers how to use Moodle is probably to show them a module made with Moodle. I have been trying the tools in my sandbox (I have a long way to go to learn how to use all of them properly) and I realized that I don't want to produce an explanation of how Moodle works (there are so many and so very good ones around). After discussing it with Ludmila, I decided to create a module of EFL, let's say a hypothetical lesson 5 of an intermediate course, with a part for each of the 4 abilities and a module with the Rationale of the programme.
The content would probably be very very easy, but the point is that the teachers could have a general overview of how they can use Moodle for their courses by actually looking at a real languace course...well...just module at the moment!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Statement of Purpose for Moodle for Teachers - Advanced at

Moodle is a Course Management System (CMS), also known as a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is a Free web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites. It has become very popular among educators around the world as a tool for creating online dynamic web sites for their students.

The M4T-Advanced workshop, hosted by IT4ALL is intended to develop educators' skills of using Moodle in online learning at the level of mastery of instructional design of online and blended online learning (BOL) to facilitate professional development programs to train educators and staff to use Moodle in its full potential.
This workshop perfectly fits into my needs: depending on my near job interviews, one of my tasks from next autumn could be, along with teaching English, working as a teacher trainer for a private University on how to use Web 2.0 tools and Moodle in their context. What could possibly come out next, is a job as instructional designer and/or project manager. I have done this kind of job in the past for a public University, but we used another LMS, Dokeos.
By the end of these 4 weeks, we have to present a final project: a Professional Development Program or Action Research Project Prospect. that we would use in our educational community to share the knowledge we gained within this workshop.
I would love to create a course that I will probably call “Moodle and Web 2.0 tools for Language Teachers” (still thinking about the title though). My idea is to give the teachers I'll work with, a first presentation on what can be done with technology and how their courses can improve their quality.
I firmly believe that teaching cannot be done without technology anymore.
I have loved this sentence since I first read it “Education is about personal change, or should be. It is important to know where you are, where you hope to go, and how your education can fit into those larger plans. The value of one’s education depends on conscious and reflective participation in the process.”
I hope I will do a good job and educate myself while I educate others.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Moodle for Teachers - Advanced Workshop Syllabus

M4T- Advanced Workshop Syllabus (M4T)
The M4T-Advanced workshop is intended to develop educators' skills of using Moodle in online learning at the level of mastery of instructional design of online and blended online learning (BOL) to facilitate professional development programs to train educators and staff to use Moodle in its full potential.

This intensive, four-week-long workshop is designed to provide you with the environment where you will apply your skills and knowledge in theoretical and practical aspects of online learning and teaching with Moodle Learning Management System. By successfully completing the program you will be ready to facilitate professional development programs and workshops using Moodle. In the workshop, you will be using online learning pedagogies and best practices, you will explore latest research and publications about Moodle, study new developments in Moodle "industry" and collaborate with colleagues on the latest issues and current research in distant learning and teaching with LMS.
Format & Workload

This workshop includes asynchronous (via Moodle) and synchronous (via WiZiQ) components. You are expected to be active at least 10 hours a week exploring and reflecting on theoretical and practical aspects of online instruction (facilitation) and learning (individually and in teams).
You will work individually to design or redesign a course or a professional development program on your chosen topic. You will add content and resources, explore web 2.0 technologies, integrate synchronous and asynchronous learning activities into your course and develop assessments for online learning/teaching. You will also be encouraged to reflect on the process of developing your course/program and to share your learning experiences with your peers. The final learning outcome of the advanced workshop will be a "Moodle for Teachers" professional development program/course. Additionally, you will work collaboratively to design a Live* online session on one of the four weekly topics.

Expected Learning Outcomes

By the end of the workshop you will:

* Examine the latest publications on the issues of distance, BOL education and teaching with LMS/Moodle and provide critical analysis of theoretical and practical aspects of the field research about workshop topics.
* Make informed decisions about suitable educational pedagogies for online/blended learning courses
* Use Moodle and Web 2.0 tools to create an interactive learning environment and to collaborate and create team documents
* Add a variety of Moodle resources to your program/course
* Select/Create and use a diverse arsenal of Moodle activities including plugin modules (e/g.,: Lesson, workshop, Sloodle, mobile, and Webquests)
* Critically reflect on your own and others' work and provide constructive feedback for program/course improvement
* Design and develop a Moodle Professional Development Program/course in conjunction with team members/or individually based on a constructivist/connectivist pedagogy
* Schedule and lead using synchronous, live WiZiQ or other web-conferencing platforms to promote the topics of innovative learning and teaching in your PD program.

Tentative Schedule

This 5-week facilitated workshop will potentially address the following topics:

* Week 1: "Connect, Communicate & Collaborate. "Empowered with the New Learning: The New World of Learning, Teaching, and Professional Development."
* Week 2: Moodle Course Design. "Why Moodle? What Moodle is for Me? Education 2.0 and Constructivist Platform of Moodle."
* Week 3: Moodle Course Development. "Beyond Moodle: Connecting Moodle to Mobile &/or Virtual Learning Environments"
* Week 4: Moodle Course Facilitation & Assessment. "The Future of Education. Moodle 2.0, 3.0? Education N.0?"


Participants who have successfully completed the workshop will be eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Successful completion of the workshop is defined as completing 80-85% of the workshop work and the final project.