16 Jan 2009

MOODLE, WIZIQ and more- new ways of expanding your physical classroom boundaries

Nowadays, we are exposed to a wide range of Information Technology in our homes. Citizens of the future who lack technology skills will be at a severe disadvantage since confidence with Information and Communication Technology is part of the New Literacy for the 21st century. Teenagers spend more time surfing on the net and are fond of it. Therefore, teachers has to rethink their ways of teaching and adapt to the new social changes because Internet has brought a revolution to teaching and learning.

But, how can technology help in the learning process?

One of the possible answers is through Moodle. Moodle is one of the most used "virtual learning environments" to teach online courses or as part of on-site education all over the world by 1.851.889 and 26.745.838 users. It was developed by Martin Dougiamas to help to create a social constructionist approach in education and a new way of learning. This platform, which has be
en used since 1999 can be useful to interact with your students who live in the same place or who live in different countries. Besides, Moodle is an open source course management package that is free.

What are the advantages of using Moodle?

I have not used Moodle as a teacher but I discovered its advantages as a student, in one of my literature subjects at the University last year, and it helped me a lot in my learning process.

1. The teacher can enroll all here/his students.

2. He/She can upload tasks to develop in groups or individually at any time and in any place. You can choose the last date to upload the task to the platform. For example, in my class, the teacher uploaded some poems and the students had to write a literary essay about it. I think it is very comfortable since when you have finished it you can send it to the teacher in just one click. Besides, students can access safe materials in a personalised environment.

3. He/She can include a chat to discuss some topics explained in the class, wikis, podcasts or group discussions for collaborative activities.

4. He/She can upload documents or videos to help students in their learning process.

5. A forum can be also included for different questions. The whole class had to create a glosary with 18th century literary terms.

6. Students do not feel so shy, at least in Spain, to contact the teacher as they do in class.
7. Students can contribute to whole class initiatives.

8. Teachers can also include news about interesting topics related to the school, high-school, university or to the subject.

9. Teachers can follow their students' progress, how much time do they spend on the platform, what places have they visited in the platform, when they upload an assignment or post a comment on the forum.

10. Moodle offers
students the opportunity to instant message other friends in the class, edit their own profile, add their photos, create their blog.

In this
link you will find moodle tutorials to learn how to use it and a book called Using Moodle written by Jason Cole and Helen Foster.

what else can Moodle offer to teachers?

As Manish Verma said "Moodle is an asynchronous tool", I mean, Moodle is a platform where the teacher can u
pload Word, PDFs documents or online learning resources to make easier to the students the information access. However, there are many other tools, like Wiziq (free software), which allow synchronours cooperation, that is, which allow teachers to share text, audio and video with the students in the virtual classroom and viceversa.
These tools provide integration with moodle and this is what makes moodle to be a real VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). One of the advantages which Wiziq provides to Moodle is that you can "use features like live audio and video communication, text messaging, whiteboard with drawing and writing tools, PowerPoint, PDF and Flash file sharing and privileges to transfer control to any participant independently"(1) what can be more interesting for younger students. Learn how to do it!

What are the advantages of using Wiziq in the Moodle platform?

1. You can use it to view public sessions given by experienced teachers on a great amount of topics or interact with other teachers or students in a live discussions via online conference.

2. You can upload your own Power Point presentations.

3. The sessions are recorded, therefore if you cannot be on time you can follow them later.

4. Teachers can view other teachers lessons to know what other teachers are doing and take ideas to improve their own ones.

But there is also one
disadvantage since using just the Moodle platform you do not need to be on the computer at a particular moment but with the Wiziq tool you have to be there. Besides, it is only in the beta version.

For more information about Wiziq you can visit its
blog or watch this video:

As for Moodle, there are also tutorials for learning to use Wiziq. Another live e-learning software is Elluminate which was created in 2000. Here you will find information about how integrate it into the Moodle platform .

But there are more tools like
DimDim (free web meeting service based on the open software platform is another web 2.0 launched one year ago). Here is the guide to integrate it with Moodle.

If you are interested in similar tools:
tutorom, iknow (for languages) or Yugma (not free).
Some teachers are still reluctant to integrate new technologies in their classrooms? Why is so difficult for some teachers to accept this change?


Excelent information, thanks to shared this with us.

Rene Torres Visso.

P.D: Congratulations, yu'have a excelent Blog.

Hi, I could not stop myself from commenting reading, "But there are other similar platforms with more tools than Moodle, like WiZiQ...". Moodle in fact has so many tools than the latter that the latter does not even come close to it (refer http://docs.moodle.org/en/Features ). Moodle is primarily asynchronous learning platform but considering many synchronous providers like Elluminate, DimDim and even WiZiQ themselves providing integrations with Moodle makes Moodle complete VLE. DimDim provides a very quick and free way to add synchronous component to Moodle.

Hi Manish,
Thanks a lot for sharing this information and leaving your interesting comment!!! I have been searching on the net for information about it, therefore I'll change the post as soon as possible!!!

Hi Inma. As I said, I have used Moodle both as a student and as a teacher. I am teaching two English courses using Moodle at the moment. I use it as a form of blended learning. I teach English at Bachillerato level and for me VLEs are a great way to have extra activities available for students once the class is over. I don't know Wiziq but my experience with Moodle is highly positive. It also allows you to track down student's progress and its many modules give it a lot of flexibility. You can practise all four skills, and even past PAU exams (a very interesting possibility in my case)

Thanks for this article!! I've been looking for virtual classrooms to give better ways to offer material to my students. I've found some. Wiziq is fantastic, but my school students are spanish speakers (I live in Uruguay). I'm testing Dokeos right now, but it's a pity Wiziq has special features!!!
I will follow this blog to know more. Thanks again!!!

Hello Pablo,
I know what you mean, language is sometimes a problem to use some great tool from the net. However, there is a similar online learning platform to Wiziq in Spanish. Its name is Sclipo http://sclipo.com/frontpage which includes a plugin for Moodle as well. I hope this information helps.

I was wondering is there any free online-tutoring tool (audio-video) i can integrate with Moodle? Can I integrate these two to my tutoring website.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More