If you have a group which would benefit from using a shared workspace as a means of being collaborative and interconnected, there’s a great secure online space available.
Have a look at the number of groups available on EdNA, in the School Education category alone.Â EdNA has certainly grown since the late nineties and the groups are making use of some great FREE Open Source software developed in Australia.Â The software is Moodle, and is already used by a number of our schools.
You’ll see that the group sites offer a range of possibilities for groups to work online, share calendars, documents etc.Â Communication can very easily be two way.Â Have a look at some of the Public Groups.
Even if you don’t have time for that, have a quick look at the philosophy which sits behind Moodle, It’s a short piece which can be read in full here.Â For an excerpt which is deceptive in its simplicity, have a look below:
Connected and Separate
This idea looks deeper into the motivations of individuals within a discussion. Separate behaviour is when someone tries to remain ‘objective’ and ‘factual’, and tends to defend their own ideas using logic to find holes in their opponent’s ideas. Connected behaviour is a more empathic approach that accepts subjectivity, trying to listen and ask questions in an effort to understand the other point of view. Constructed behaviour is when a person is sensitive to both of these approaches and is able to choose either of them as appropriate to the current situation.
In general, a healthy amount of connected behaviour within a learning community is a very powerful stimulant for learning, not only bringing people closer together but promoting deeper reflection and re-examination of their existing beliefs.
Once you are thinking about all these issues, it helps you to focus on the experiences that would be best for learning from the learner’s point of view, rather than just publishing and assessing the information you think they need to know. It can also help you realise how each participant in a course can be a teacher as well as a learner. Your job as a ‘teacher’ can change from being ‘the source of knowledge’ to being an influencer and role model of class culture, connecting with students in a personal way that addresses their own learning needs, and moderating discussions and activities in a way that collectively leads students towards the learning goals of the class.
Obviously Moodle doesn’t force this style of behaviour, but this is what it is best at supporting. In future, as the technical infrastructure of Moodle stabilises, further improvements in pedagogical support will be a major direction for Moodle development.
Click here to find out more about Moodle
Click here to see a sample of how it looks when first installed
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