My Thoughts on Moodle
So I finally got around to being able to spend some time playing with Moodle. The reason for this is that my school has begun offering portions of its courses online for students who are in the Trade Training Centres. These portions are significant - up to 20 hours over the course of a year, in a subject which has 120 hours is, I'm sure you'll agree, a fairly sizable chunk.
We'd looked at a variety of different options, but eventually decided that we were going to trial Moodle, considering a number of other schools had gone down this path before. Below, I've just got a few thoughts and ideas for anyone else going down the same path. I hope they are of use:
1. The quality of your server is vital. Originally, when we were trialling Moodle, we ran it out of a free web-hosting company. It was useless. Kids would be sitting there for ages waiting for pages to load. When we swapped the hosting over to a paid solution, it was much better.
2. Customize, Customize, Customize. Make your moodle pages reflect the school - put them in the school colours, with the school logo and so on. It's a much nice effect than the standard moodle page.
3. Keep your solutions in house - kids will forget passwords and usernames. If all your teachers know how to fix these, you will cut down on more than half of the problems your are likely to face.
4. Remember it is online learning - so provide lessons and activities that are appropriate for this kind of thing. No one brainstorms by themselves, so don't bother with that. Instead, come up with different ideas that are better suited.
5. Combine your solutions - use other apps, like google docs or QUIA or starquiz or glogster where appropriate, and share the links through Moodle.
Hope this helps.