Moodle has become a powerful learning and teaching tool in my technology arsenal.  I’m attempting a paperless unit in Language Arts and a big part of my attempt to unchain myself from the photocopier revolves around using Moodle.  I’m teaching a historical fiction novel study all about Ancient Rome and Mt. Vesuvius.  Moodle is providing me with a platform to deepen understanding of the story and the non fiction elements of the book.

moodlemain2I started designing my moodle course with visual icon based set to link to the different areas of the course, instead of a long thread of topics.  I discovered the HTML block and inserted it as a left column to have some static general resources that I wanted to highlight for my students.  These resources including a page of flash interactive files and movie clips, and two OU wikis to build the non-fiction novel elements in.

I organized by work into a database of vocabulary(books icon), Quiz Questions for each chapter(question marks icon), and all sorts of activities (globe icon) linked together under one icon generically labeled activities.

moodleblock

To house and create all of the activities I used a topics format and created everything under one topic.  I don’t show this block.  In the settings window, I change my settings so it only shows 1 block, which I have hidden (eye closed!) so just the main icon set shows, and it is clear and uncluttered for the students.  It doesn’t look like there are quizzes, assignments, hot potatoes crosswords and matching, embedded flash games, feedback and choice modules, and custom pages, but they are all there through the use of hyperlinks.

I had fun creating all sorts of interactive activities.  I created quizzes for each chapter.  I love the embedded close quiz question because they are very versatile and you can create all sorts of multi-stage questions with pictures through out and mix the type of questions with drop down menus, multiple choice, and short answer.  Don’t be scared by the lack of a WYSIWYG editor, just use the help question mark buttons to get the proper question syntax and you are well on your way.  I’m going to write a post  just on embedded cloze question soon, so watch for more detailed information.

The students started on the course today, submitting their first assignment and exploring the wikis they are going to build together about Ancient Rome and volcanoes.  No paper, but lots of learning, hopefully!

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