An online, collaborative teaching and learning environment can be a boon to students and teachers alike, furthering education goals across the curriculum. But collaborative efforts are necessarily complicated and expensive to set up, right?
Not necessarily. Consider … Moodle!
Moodle is a free, open source course management system software package that is designed to help educators create quality online content and a collaborative, interactive environment to support their classroom courses. We have been using it at my school, the National Cathedral School (NCS) in Washington, D.C., for 3 years and have seen tremendous growth in its use over those years. At NCS, we serve 580 girls in grades 4-12. We are fortunate in that we can expect students to have home computers with Internet access. However, we also provide open labs at school for students who may not have a computer or access to one.
In the 2004-2005 school year, we had five distinct academic classes in grades 4-12 using Moodle. This year, we have seen more than a 150-percent increase in its use, with 16 new academic classes joining the online community. In November 2005, we started taking advantage of the free Google Analytics service and began monitoring the activity on the school server that hosts Moodle. Using this service, we learned that from December 2005 through February of this year, Moodle had about 100 visitors per day. At its peak, Moodle saw 300 unique visitors per day during that time period. Given holidays and weekends, I estimate that most middle school and upper school students visit Moodle about once a day during the school week.
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