Home > Uncategorized > Moodle vs Personal Learning Networks

Moodle vs Personal Learning Networks

This is the kind of post that gets a writer in trouble in various educational circles.

“I don’t like Moodle.”

There, it’s out in the open. It’s not to say that one can’t be successful with it; there’s a colleague in my building that lives by it and the achievement scores that result are great. But a thought keeps rattling around in my mind:

Schools are only good at assessing school.

The original speaker of this escapes me, maybe it’s Seth Godin or maybe it’s Sir Ken Robinson. But that this is in any way true still devastates me. Remnants of this quote popped into my mind when hearing students talk about Moodle. In coversations with students they’ve indicated to me that discussions and commenting on Moodle can feel “fake” at times.

It’s like it’s trying to be Facebook for school.

Anyone who’s worked with teenagers knows that there is a polygraph-like detection of condescension at any given moment. The student in the quote above was merely pointing out that they felt that Moodle was something from the adult, or school sphere that was trying desperately to mimic something from the real world. You know, the one that occurs outside of school.

Then there came the replies from my high-achieving students. These are students that are amazing; they’re one of the best groups in recent memory in my building. They will go on to study in colleges on the coasts and are far more responsible at their age than I was. They struggled to tell me good things about Moodle. Their main complaint however, wasn’t in content delivery or discussion. They didn’t like how they had to go back through logins to various pages to keep checking for possible changes and assignments. I don’t blame them.

Take a look at the myriad of tech-savvy people in business and education out there in the wide web. What are they using? Is it Moodle? No. There will be talk of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and Facebook, Twitter, or Google Reader. Now, after discussion with a colleague who’s far wiser than I, it’s clear that there are benefits and safety provided by Moodle’s “walled garden” approach. It’s a way of ensuring a controlled interaction environment. Yet it I go back to what my student said. My concern is the paradigm of information delivery.

Go log in to Facebook, Twitter, or your Google Reader account. What greets you? Why information! Every minutia of informational change that has occurred in your network since your last login is brought to your attention. The difference with Moodle is staggering. Students live in a time where there is an economy of focus. If as an educator, I want to connect to my students I have to justify why they should give their focus to interacting with me.

Maybe it’s not so much a case of Moodle vs Facebook as it is one of Moodle vs PLNs? I’ll have to talk with my students and see.

Sent from my iPad

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Categories: Uncategorized
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