Resources and Reflections

Thursday, December 13, 2007

An LMS will help teaching and learning

Reflection on my Moodle LMS training Dec 13, 2007

A Learning Management System (LMS) harnesses the learning environment and enables the creation of a personal learning environment (PLE) - essentially, a virtual teaching and learning space for students. An LMS is about creating collaborative learning environments as well. It's all about organizing and optimizing teaching and learning.

How does a tech integrator present this to teachers and ask them to use a tool the tech integrator knows little about? How does one ask them to use a tool barely test-driven by the tech integrator? With all the tech fads and all the untested Web apps, how does one bring yet another tool to teachers and say this is the one tool you'd be a fool not to use? At this point the tool can only be judged by its potential.

One could ask how this 'tool' might aid the teaching and learning process. And just because it is a technology tool doesn't mean you would not apply the pedagogical decison-making you would apply to any teaching practice nor would you neglect your students' learning styles and potentials: Why would you lecture? Why show a movie? Why do a lab? Why give a worksheet? Why do a research paper? In sum, the decsion you make should be backed by managing and optimizing the learning sytematically.

Perhaps to ensure the learning you used all the aforementioned -thus incorporating many learning modalities. You also need to commandeer all these tools to a central location.

If you're imparting learning, then you're managing it. Enter LMS, a learning management system. Imagine then if all this teaching and learning could be managed in a systematic way. Using an LMS a teacher doesn't have to go to the file cabinet to retrieve overused worksheets from years past; the teacher doesn't have to reserve the tv/vcr; the teacher doesn't have to worry if students take notes and bring them to subsequent classes; the teachers doesn't have to worry about students participating in discussions; and a teacher doesn't have to worry about the members' contribution to group projects or labs. Finally, a teacher doesn't have to worry about missed work from an absent student. Since all of these activities are managed in one place much like a woodcarvers workbench - or a teacher's office, the teacher has a constant peek of the students progress and learning -anytime, anyplace - and the teacher can keep lines of communication and feedback open -any time, any place.

So I decide to use an LMS to work with my unit titled Internet Safety. I will break my unit down into weekly increments. The weeks lessons will consist of students reading an online survey on cyber bullying; students will contribute to a classroom forum online on three internet safety topics; the students will view 2-2minute video clips of real stories of kids involved in cyber bullying and share a 150 reaction with the class online (and in the physical classroom); the students will search the WWW for a newstory on convicted cyber bullies and share the links with the class in an olnine folder called "Cyberbully Convicts"; Finally, students will collaborate using an online classroom wiki to develop an Internet Safety program for their school. All of this will be monitored, shared, and managed in one clutter free online space.


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