Monday, September 16, 2013

Moodle for K-12 Teachers: What is it? And how to get it?


What is Moodle?
Moodle! Moodle! Moodle! You’ve heard about it. You may have even seen it, but you may be unsure of what it is or how it can help you with your students. Take a moment to watch the video below to hear how Moodle can change the way you teach. It will be well worth the one minute and fourteen seconds to find out what everyone is talking about.

I Want to use Moodle. What now?
Remember when the video mentioned “Ask a Moodle partner to set up a site for you?” AEA K-12 Online is that partner. AEA K-12 Online will host a free Moodle server for districts participating in the district opt-in.  This server will be hosted at, and it includes our free e-curriculum for districts as well.  Plus, we will be creating customized Moodle themes for your school at no charge.

If you are interested in a) having a blank course shell on the new Moodle server, b) a copy of one of our blended learning courses, or c) content from the old server ( moved over to the new server, please let us know via this form found here.

Okay, you’ve convinced me...but I need more...where can I learn more?
AEA K-12 Online and AEA PD Online provides educators with lots of different opportunities to learn more about Moodle.
  • The Online Learning for Iowa Educators (OLLIE) and More Iowa Learning for Iowa Educators (MOLLIE) courses are fully facilitated courses that will introduce educators to online learning, help them build online learning environments, and teach them the skills they need to facilitate online learning. AEA PD Online’s full professional development catalog can be found here.
  • AEA PD Online: Live! Creates and curates videos that will help educators learn how to maximize student learning in online environments. To view AEA PD Online events go here.
  • The Blended Learning community in the Agora ( is a place where Iowa educators can share and exchange ideas and resources related to blended learning.
Monthly blog posts on AEA K-12 Online and AEA PD Online highlight news related to online learning in Iowa, across the country, and around the globe.

View from the Field: Janet Wills

The 2013-2014 school year is Janet’s 19th year of teaching. This year she is teaching 7th and 8th grade social studies, 7th and 8th grade computer applications and Western Civilization at Southeast Webster Grand Community School District in Burnside, Iowa.

Janet integrates technology into all of her courses. When planning her instruction, online or offline, she keeps the learning goal(s) at the center. She carefully considers which format will work the best in helping students meeting the learning goals.

Online instruction in her room consists of a variety of components. With the myriad of online resources available there is greater room for differentiation. Lower level readers might watch a YouTube video while higher level readers might read something from the Library of Congress. Games, especially for U.S. history, are increasing in quality and quantity.  She specifically likes websites that take the students on different paths. Students don't all have to be on the same page/site in order to meet the learning goal.

Some of Janet’s favorite resources include:

Edsitement (Lesson plans)

PBS (Videos, games, audio clips, photos, lesson plans, and more!)

iCivics (Government and civic games that are accompanied by lesson plans)

Mission US (Games that put students into historical situations)

Janet sees many advantages to blended instruction. Students are more engaged and interactive features complements the learning styles of kids who have been connected online since they were born. Students have stated:

"Online resources make learning more interesting."
"You can't lose your homework as easily when it's on Google Docs."
"Computers are faster and more efficient than books."

Janet recommends that if you are thinking of introducing blended learning in your classroom remember that you don't have to do everything at once. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the resources available. Take it one lesson at a time.