My students are asking me why don’t I use Google Classroom like the other teachers at our school. I’ve been a Moodle Administrator for the last 12 years. I’ve experienced learning management systems like Google Classroom, Schoology, and Canvas throughout the year while being in the Instructional Technology Masters Program at SF State while one of my assignments is evaluate learning management systems.
What is Moodle? Moodle is an open-source web app that allow the administrator to set up a learning management system where the learners are able to interact with content in a variety of ways.
This blog is not to diss on the other LMSs as they have feature suitable for educators who just want to get the job done quickly but having administer Moodle for the last 12 years, I see the power of content control, customization, and ownership of the content.
Why I use Moodle?
Moodle allow me to create a online learning environment that caters to the needs to the students. I can download free the theme and plug-ins, layout, panels, etc. As a person who applies gamification principles to my website, I like to add multiple conditions so that student gain XP, increase their progress, see what is due and more.
Having teamaringo.org as my domain name has it’s advantage. The domain name connects to my moodle site. Teamaringo.org has other site in it’s sub directory. I own the the contents on this server that I subscribe to on a yearly basis. As long as pay my yearly dues, I own a piece of that space on the server.
When it comes to ownership, if you decide to move school, you own that curriculum. Unlike Google Classroom, you will lose your log-in because you aren’t working for the district or school anymore. You will need to back-up our drive which is where all of your work is going to be at and then re-organize it on another Google Classroom or LMS.
Because of the power of customization, you have power to give your student a different experience which can be a make or break. And if it’s a break, I can customize Moodle course so that it meets the needs of our student. Giving Moodle and a game like interface already engages students so that they feel they have control over their progress and learning thru the progress bars, experience point, and through the Design of Adventures.
On the other hand . . . .
Moodle has a big learning curve. It takes time to learn of it’s nut and bolts. What motivated me to learn Moodle was that my university was using it school wide and I was curious on how it work. You will need to learning Moodle from a sense of curiosity. Yet there are a lot of book and tutorial videos that will guide your through the process.
You will need to learn how to set it up. Many server host services like GoDaddy and SiteGrounds have service to help you set it up so you can get started. Upgrading it can be a pain so I let the pros do it just make sure you back up your courses.
Last thing is that it take money to not only subscribe to the server provider but also some money to keep your domain name. As teachers, we may not want to spend additional funds on that when the school provide us a different tool.
Moodle has served my needs and my students needs well. The power of customization had made the virtual learning environment distinct giving a game interface that students can interact with. If you interested in the power of Moodle, check out moodle.org and experience it first hand.