Yesterday I unveiled Moodle with my AP World students. I had expected a little difficulty getting student accounts inputted, teaching them the basics, and getting them to explore the site.
But something complete different happened. Once everyone logged in, I stood and watched in amazement. They picked the system apart, finding every feature, clicking on things I hadn’t even explore yet. Soon I saw pop-up windows all over the room, – Moodle apparently has a messenger component. I don’t think it is as efficient as instant messaging, but it was close enough for them. This process was repeated each period.
By the end of the day, I was speechless.
At the last four workshops I taught, I discussed with fellow teachers the concept of the “Internet as a community builder.” Tools like de.licio.us, flckr, and even QuestGarden revolve around this idea. My primary example, however, was blogging. I consider myself part of an edublogging community. I also mentioned that the students are already doing this. The have accounts with MySpace, LiveJournal, and DeadJournal. They know how to do this stuff. I told other teachers that we need to harness this energy and these skills for good!
For that reason, I expected that the students would take to Moodle. But they were practically cheering and doing summersaults. Their enthusiasm was amazing. It was fun to watch. We will see if it has staying power, but I think that if I make them use for various assignments, the community part will naturally come with it – because they are know this stuff.
I get to watch from sidelines and cheer them on. I love technology, actually, I love seeing technology change.