Fairbanks Technology Coordinator BJ Thaman posted this message to the Tech Coordinators’ listserv this week:
We are in the beginning stages of creating a Moodle site for our district. We hope to use this site for both classroom enrichment and professional development. I noticed that the official Moodle homepage has a Moodle Xxchange where people contribute lessons for all to use and modify. It sounds like a great idea but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of content / activity. Does anyone know if there is a similar Moodle exchange for Ohio Schools? If not, would anyone like to start one? I hope to have a few courses finished by the end of the summer for digital photography (student) and OSX (staff) that I would be willing to share.
Moodle is a free online courseware package. It includes discussion forums, wikis, chats, assignments, assessments, and other tools for teaching online. We’ve had it installed for several years, but it hasn’t received the kind of attention it really deserves.
Within two days, dozens of people responded t0 BJ’s message indicating their interest. I contacted him privately, and suggested that we create a Moodle course somewhere that would allow us to all share ideas and resources for using this tool in the K-12 environment. He asked me if I’d be willing to host it, which shouldn’t be a problem.
The more I thought about it, the more this begged for a separate installation. We’re going to have a lot of adults, a lot of tech people, who will be using this. They’re not on my network, so they don’t have user accounts already. They do all have email accounts, though. This makes it a different type of audience from our students, all of whom authenticate with their network accounts. I also would like to give some people greater access to the system, and I wouldn’t want to do that on an installation with real students in it.
So, I created the Moodle Sandbox today. It’s a place for teachers and system administrators to collaborate on strategies and resources for using Moodle in the schools. While I set it up for the schools in Ohio to use, there’s no reason why others couldn’t join us as well. We’re just getting started with it, but hopefully we’ll be able to pool our resources to keep from having to reinvent the wheel.