Someone asked me about it and so I thought I would share. I have no idea how long it will remain up, since I’m not under contract there any more. But it IS a resource that can still be used by those in the distract or anyone else. But I have to warn you that this is not a very flashy or polished site. It was designed to be a work-in-progress and it STILL is!
I’ve been involved in the internet and bulletin boards and usenet for over 2 decades. I was SO happy when it looked like our district has something where teachers could build and collaborate together. That tool was Sharepoint. Each school had its own site and each department eventually had its own site within the school’s site. I was excited about the ability to have discussions and share things with colleagues within the school, as well as possibly with teachers from other schools in the discussion forums. But as it turns out, the discussion forums were the least-used areas of all. No one posted anything except me. To my knowledge, Sharepoint is still not a place where teachers share thoughts and idea, as they seem to still prefer and rely upon email.
So I began using it to store documents and anytime someone needed a form I gave them the url for sharepoint. It was the perfect place to store forms or anything else that needed to be shared with everyone, but again, email is still the primary vehicle that is used for this. Today, the school is beginning to use it as a repository for lesson plans, thanks to a technologically savvy assistant principal who makes the teachers put their plans there.
After about 5 years of being “the Sharepoint guy”, the one who was always trying to get teachers to use this tool provided by the district, I finally managed to make it the tool of choice for our special education department. The killer app was not the discussion forums or even the file sharing. It was the calendar. Anyone could go in and edit that calendar, so that is how we began collaborating on an IEP schedule. Each teacher could input their name, time and place and then another teacher who needed a meeting for that day could look at the calendar and schedule around what was already there. As cancellations happened, it became easy to change and adapt the schedule. Withing the department, it became a very important tool and I feel pretty good about helping them take advantage of it.
There are many better and more advanced Moodle sites than mine. Anyone with any degree of creativity could make one more appealing, but mine was designed to do several tasks in one place, which is what makes this such a powerful tool. In our district it is called eLearn, but you can clearly see the Moodle icon when you open up a tab to visit my site. I also have other courses, but this is my main page and one that I still occasionally work and fiddle with.
I originally was going to make this a real course that new SID/PID teachers could take to orient themselves with the field. Most of the course elements remain from when I took a staff development class on making the site. I quickly realized that this was a much more robust platform than Sharepoint was for sharing and collaborating. However the learning curve here was much steeper, so I still tried to get others into Sharepoint while I worked on my owm eLearn.
In the center is all the course materals. Sorry if sone of the Teachertube links are broken but they are all still on my channel. And the server does house a few videos not shown anywhere else.
On the right side, there is a calendar that is linked to my Google calendar. The main use of this was to share with my paras, and anyone else who needed to know, my schedule for the coming week as well as the scedule for any outings that we had coming up. Again, the calendar is what drove most people to my site as it also had the school holidays and other events built into it.
Below that is just a few links that I would use most frequently as well as my mug shot. HTML blocks are extremely versatile for customizing content even if you don’t know html natively…which would be me. I also have a box for behavior terms which shows a random word out of a list of maybe 10. But some teachers have “Video of the day” or “Word of the day” included on theirs. On the left side I have an html block with resources that I, or other teachers, frequently use. I just updated this last week as the paras wanted a way to get to resources for their brand new active board. Since my site is open to anyone, they could go their regardless of whoever logged into the computer it was connected to. Thus is was a way to preserve bookmarks.
Moodle is an amazing tool for teachers, students and parents. My wife and I have often consulted the sites of our children’s teachers in order to see if there was homework, or if they forgot the worksheet atschool we could print it from the site. But alas, most teachers still do not have their own site or do not update and use it. At some point, it would be nice if they could all collaborate and pool their mental energy to create a grade and subject specific site. But alas, despite a lot of lip service to the concept of “learning communities”, true collaboration becomes an afterthought if it appears on the radar screen at all.