2013 Reflections

A bit of a reflection on what I got up to in 2013.

Professional goals –

Goal 1: to continue to develop my own learning of how to use Moodle so that I can support teachers in creating asynchronous learning opportunities.

Definitely did this well in 2013. I attended the NZ Moodlemoot in Hamilton in the April holidays. I took the Moodlebites for Course Designers 8 week online course. Attended the online iMoot conference – looking forward to the next one of these, great learning from all over the world. And I also was a participant in the Learn Moodle MOOC.

I have worked with a lot of staff over the year to help them implement their teaching and learning ideas using Moodle.

In 2014 I am looking forward to working with Moodle 2.6 (as we upgraded at the end of 2013) and using badges! However, I know that I need to work on looking at the effective pedagogy and not just getting focused on giving out badges just for the sake of it. I am planning on trying to have our Year 9 Health content all online and not using a paper workbook. I have been collecting information about learning and instructional design plus gamification to help me with this, as I also want to make the Health content more engaging.

Goal 2: develop and implement a Project Based Learning unit for Year 10 Shaping Up (Inner Beauty? Lets get real!) that helps develop critical thinking.

The unit ended up being called ‘What Matters Most…is what you think of yourself’ – shortened to What Matters Most (see previous posts) It was a huge step out of my comfort zone with my teaching and took a lot of time to set up but so worth the effort!! I am planning on using it again this year with some changes to it following great feedback my students and I received. I will think about how I might be able to do something similar with other units in our junior health courses this year.

Goal 3: learn and use iPad as a effective teaching and learning tool in Physical Education.

This didn’t really happen last year. This maybe due to not having enough iPads or not putting the time aside to think about how to use them effectively in class. What I did get happening in my Year 9 class was students using their own devices more for the creation of content. I would like to build on this in 2014.

What I have done in 2013 is used the iPad for my own uses very effectively. I find some of the apps on it great for planning and I have reduced down the amount of paper I use.

Ideas for 2014

With my senior Year 12 Sports Studies class I would really like to utilise Google Apps a lot more, particularly to make it easier for them to record information. For Social Responsibility, I would like to set up a form for them to enter in their reflections and have something like a rating system, so it is really easy for them to do, so they can do it on their phone for example and it collates it all.

I would also like to use Google Apps for all of the written assessments as I think this made a difference to my ability to give constructive and timely feedback. I don’t think all the students particularly like it but I think overall it was more effective then a written report on paper.

For Digital Technology, I am planning on using Scratch in 9DT. I would like to have two topics, one on computer science – ie Scratch, and the other on digital media – which I think I will stick with Photoshop and Pixlr and have the students creating a digital poster. What I need to work on is creating units where the students have stakeholders outside of the classroom.

Then there is Year 12 Digital Technology! There will be lots of learning going on with this, php, MySQL, programming, Python!!

So, roll on 2014 and the joys that it is going to provide!


Teaching with Moodle – books, glossaries and so much more

Week 2 of Teaching with Moodle has been looking at activities – using a glossary, wiki, forum, the weekly quiz, a survey and a choice.

What I have gained from this week (and Week 1) is not how to set up an activity but the actual thought put into the wording and structure of the activities. For example, the book that goes through all of the activities isn’t titled with “How to create activities in Moodle”, it is titled with “Book: How can I help my learners learn?”. Some people might think ‘Well, so what?’ but for me it says a lot!

Firstly, clearly starting what the activity is to a experienced (or even not so experienced moodler) might seem pointless but I can think of a number of people at school where that small bit of information would be really important. It clearly identities what the activity is and points to what all teachers want to do – help their learners learn. So, I guess it is a way of getting people to look inside the book. I can see how this approach could be very effective with making an engaging course.

And it may seem such a simple thing to people but for me I have been focused on learning about everything how works in Moodle over the last couple of years and haven’t stopped to think about the structure of courses from a learning focus. I am starting this now (better late than never!).


The other activity that got me thinking was the glossary. This year we have created a online Staff Portal to disseminate information. We are also using it as a course to show staff different ways of using Moodle and when I saw the “Glossary: Terms using in Teaching” in Week 2, a light went off! What a great way to show all the terms used within our WGC4me (Moodle) site (we have it set up so that staff and students can also access numerous other software and applications).

So, I have already started creating a book on how to add Moodle resources and activities (Book: adding resources & activities to WGC4me (Moodle)) and a glossary (Glossary: Terms used in WGC4me). I can see other useful books being on how to use Google Apps and the other resources.

Stuff that hasn’t grabbed me in Week 2 – the wiki didn’t get my attention and I posted in the Teach the Group forum (although probably not the right kind of post) but no one else has. Potentially one of the downsides of a MOOC with thousands of students, or with a lot of students being experienced on how to use Moodle. And the survey was really long!!

Week 2 has been good. Wasn’t really expecting to get too much from this course but how wrong was I. The way that it is structured is great and I still have so much to learn.

Here are a couple of questions for anyone that reads this, where can I go to get help with structuring Moodle courses to engage learners? And is trying to become a MCCC worth it?

Learn Moodle – MOOC: Week 1

So, last minute have enrolled on a MOOC called Teaching with Moodle: An Introduction on Learn Moodle.

Learn Moodle

So, what is a MOOC and Learn Moodle?

“Learn Moodle is the official Moodle website for delivering MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).”

Now, this course is aimed to cover the basics of Moodle of four weeks, which isn’t that useful to me as I know the basics. However, I thought it was a good opportunity to see how a MOOC works with something that I am really interested in. Also, I get to play (and get) more badges plus dabble in version 2.5.

I am hoping to learn some more about the basics of Moodle (as I am sure I don’t know everything yet). My practice course (you can request one and then play) I am going to try to start setting up a blending learning context Health course. At the moment we use workbooks that students write in and I would, firstly like to get this all online and then look at ways to make it more collaborative and engaging and not just filling in pages!! So, if I am ogranised I could ask for feedback from over 2000 other Moodlers. Some who are a lot more experienced then me!

On badges, I don’t know what it is but I just can’t help myself and want to get badges. My first experience with badges was during the iMoot in May. (Here are all the badges I got at the iMoot). I would like to work on developing some badges for the Health course I am planning and use them in an effective way, as I am sure there can be ‘death by badges’!

Looking at the typical progression list that  Martin Dougiamas has written about for how teachers progress, I would say I am at three – Using Quizzes and Assignments.

So, I still have a long way to progress – which means I can get more badges!


Week 8 – Contributed plugins

This is the final week (although I am doing it slightly earlier, it is great that those at Moodlebites are able to be flexible) and it has been about plugins! But what I think will be most useful is ‘A Windows application for creating GIFT questions‘. Ever since we go into Moodle at school I have been trying to figure out an easy way of doing quizzies. One that is less time consuming and one that any teacher could easily use. Now, there are a lot of different ways to create questions quicker than actually creating them in Moodle and I have played with a few of them. But I haven’t really yet find one that I think would be easy for teachers to use. So when I get back from the holidays I will try moodleed out and see how it goes. I have my fingers crossed.

Have blasted through this last week of the course (as well as Week 7 and have now finished. With finishing (and getting over 80% in the quzzies each week) comes a certificate (in pdf format).

Moodlebites Course Designers Certificate

So, nice little neat certificate.

The courses following on from this are Moodlebites for Theme Designers – don’t think that is for me anytime soon. Moodlebites for Administrators – quite like the idea of this course, although I am not admin for the site at school and not sure if I would be able to use the skills I gain.

Now I need to go out and disseminate all that I have learnt to everyone else at school!

More thoughts from the Moodlebites for Course Designers

Using WordPress (20 June)

Awhile ago I thought I would start looking at writing a blog but discovered I’m not a blogger. However, recently I have discovered Rebelmouse – https://www.rebelmouse.com/SchuKnight/ and that someone decided to follow the WordPress blog that I started in the last school holidays following the NZ Moodlemoot.

And now with the regular reminders about adding blog entries here I thought I would revisit WordPress. I do really like the UI and the layout in WordPress, plus you can easily follow other peoples blogs as well.

So, I am kind of blogging but it will be very intermittent I think. I am far more activie on Twitter and now with Rebelmouse I can gather everything in one place – which I think is pretty cool and handy.

Course Designers (9 June)

Wow! A lot to get through during the first week! Head full! Especially after having the iMoot not so long ago. Liked learning about roles and being able to add to different activities for students. Would like to spend more time looking at the philosophy and pedagogy behind Moodle and think about ways to implement with my classes at school. Would be really cool. Also had DP send link to this yesterday…http://www.lurfilms.com/work.php?vid_id=74  …would love to get something set up along these lines at school!!

Week 7 – Web 2.0 and Collaboration

Have flown through this week as it is the start of the holidays and am going away.

The best thing about this week was discovering www.mindomo.com, a mind mapping tool. Can sign in with Google, which means easy to use with GAFE, looks cool, easy to use. Here is my first go at one on Mindomo, Get Up & Go mindmap (takes a little while to load). This is an example for a Year 12 PE standard – I can see this tool being really useful! You can also embed maps into sites, quick attempt in Moodle:

Screen Shot 2013-07-13 at 6.19.33 PM


Week 6 Accessibility and Usability (Moodlebites for Course Designers)

Been looking at Accessibility and Usability  Things I have found interesting, use of captions – particularly with YouTube, am going to have to try that out.

There is heaps to think about when looking at these issues. One in 12 students will have issues around colour and accessing or using sites. Perhaps these are good reasons to have a Style Guide for Moodle in a school and also this could help with the usability  having certain things the same across courses, subjects, departments and site wide.

Hmmm, will ponder.

Some pondering in answer to this: Some would say that for learning to have taken place a change in behaviour (or attitude) should be evident… (agree/disagree?) … so which of these statements best describes you ?

My answer to this Choice Activity was: I will certainly think more carefully about some design decisions.

However, whether I will do anything is all down to time! I know it is a cop out but my main issue with thinking about making courses more accessible is the time. Both the time needed to think about it but also the time to implement!

As Moodle keeps progressing, hopefully there will be more and more accessibility built into the core of Moodle.