Moodle Moot!

Those of you who have known me or been following this blog for any length of time will not be surprised to hear that I believe Moodle is one of single best tools available that can improve teaching. Moodle is not a panacea for education, but it does increase collaboration, communication, productivity, and accountability when it is used well. I have written several times about Moodle on this site and http://moodle.org can also provide more information.
For the last several years, I have desperately wanted to go to a Moodle Moot. You may understandably be wondering what on Earth a Moodle Moot is. If you have read Lord of the Rings, you probably already realize that it is a gathering of Moodlers, the same way that an Ent Moot was a gathering of Ents (tall, living tree-like creatures) in the books. Unfortunately, the Moodle Moots have mostly been held in cool, exotic (to me) locales that I can not afford to travel to, such as New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and California, USA. This year, however, there is a Mid-West Moodle Moot in Goshen, Inadiana in July, which is a doable drive from TN.
There are going to be some great workshops there. You can read more about the itinerary and workshops on http://www.goshen.edu/moodle/index.html. The workshops are geared towards everyone: teachers new to Moodle, system administrators, school administrators… Regardless of expertise with Moodle, I feel like anyone who attends would walk away enriched.
I actually offered to lead a workshop on effective online professional development with Moodle and corresponded with the coordinator. The final decision on which workshops will be chosen is not going to be made until the end of March, but I am still excited. It is not that I believe myself to be more qualified than others. I have some experience in this area and hope that I would be able to help more students by helping others to train their teachers. Here is the abstract:

Session summary: This hands-on workshop will help participants to understand, based on both research and experience, what works for effective online professional development and how it differs from face-to-pace professional. Numerous examples and best practices will be shown and an emphasis will be placed on the social nature of effective professional development and how that works with the social constructivist pedagogy of Moodle. After working through some examples of actual online professional development, discussion will revolve around what works, what does not, and what teachers actually want. Finally, participants will walk away having created at least the shell of an online professional development course that can be used with their faculty. Courses created will be both hosted and shared at the discretion of the participants.

As a bonus to all Moodlers, Martin Dougiamas, the founder and lead developer of Moodle, will be attending the Moodle Moot. I encourage everyone who can to attend the conference. I don’t think anyone will be leaving disappointed. If you have any suggestions on what to add to improve the (hopeful) workshop, please leave them in the comments.

  • http://moodlemonthly.com Joseph Thibault

    The only thing I would add is highlighting where teachers can get free moodle sites (there are a ton out there) because if their own districts don’t offer it, they might not see how they could use it (however, at a Moot, my guess is that they’ll know where to find access/classrooms). Just a thought

  • http://jasontbedell.com Jason Bedell

    Joseph,
    Thanks for the comment. I’ve looked at http://ninehub.com for free Moodle hosting and heard good reviews. Can you recommend any? I’ve always had my own server, so I’ve never had to use those types of sites. Also, I wouldn’t mind hosting a few classes for a teacher if they need something more flexible than why those sites provide. I tend to have quite a few plugins installed on my servers.

    Jason Bedell.