I've noticed a few differences in how our teachers and students
use Moodle. The details may vary, but in general a teacher will log
in, maybe upload a PowerPoint document, and if they're adventurous
they'll set up an online quiz, and possibly a forum.
A student, on the other hand, logs in, and explores everything.
One of the first things they'll notice is their Profile page.
They'll edit their profile, upload a photo of themselves, and may
even get creative and embed a cool Flash widget they like. Then
they'll pop into the class forum and post a message. They will
return to this forum a few times throughout the day to continue
talking to their classmates. They will then download the teacher's
course material, study it, and take the teacher's quiz that's been
set up. They may then return to the forum to see if anyone
responded to their messages, and maybe post another message to
someone else, before uploading their daily homework assignment.
See a pattern here?
Students are the power users. The technology is familiar to our
natives," and they enjoy using it. Some of our students
have even panicked when the technology wasn't available. Once our
Moodle server went down for a reboot, and was offline only about 2
minutes when I received an IM from a teacher. She said the students
were freaking out and asking "When will Moodle be back up?"
So I had a thought the other day:
Teachers can manage classes in Moodle, but why not students?
People often learn best when they teach, and it seems like we're
only targeting half our potential audience here. We could turn the
students into teachers, and let them teach their classmates. It
would be a great way to create effective learners.
A teacher could use this as a classroom activity. They could
assign students to "teach" a particular topic they're studying in
class, and the student could create video presentations, quizzes,
wikis, and other course material in their own Moodle course. They
will become better learners through teaching, and we will be
preparing them for college by introducing them to their online
Not Just for In-Class
But online student-teaching
could extend beyond the classroom as well. Under the sponsorship
and mentoring of a teacher, a student could teach about any subject
that interests them, whether it be athletics, books, auto repair,
video games, woodworking, painting, animation, music, and more.
Imagine a whole network of students teaching about a diverse range
of topics. Other students could browse the available courses their
peers are instructing, enroll, and contribute to a system where
student interests and knowledge are shared in a constructive,
educational manner. Moodle could become the focal point of a
vibrant student learning network.
A rewards system may provide an added incentive to this "Young
Teachers" program. Example: for every student that signs up for a
course, the student-teacher earns points. If enrollees pass the
course by taking an exam, the student-teacher earns even more
points. Those who pass a student-made course could earn "attendee
points" and receive certificates for passing. At the end of the
year, we could give out prizes for those who've earned the most
points, or hold an awards ceremony to recognize the best
With the right motivation, we would have no problem finding
students interested in teaching their own classes.
Is This Really "Educational?"
The very nature of having students teaching courses is
educational, because we'd be placing them in managerial roles as
they organize their online classrooms. They would set up their
course how they want, determine the best method of teaching and
presenting the material, and create quizzes to make sure the other
students understand what they are teaching. They could even
organize activities through their online classroom. For example, a
student teaching a class on theatre arts could set up a date to
have everyone attend a local play. A student teaching a class on
poetry could set up an online chat session with an English
professor his family knows. There are numerous possibilities
At the same time, some questions need to be asked. Since this
may be extracurricular for students, do we need to worry about
keeping all student-taught courses within the state core
curriculum? Also, it might not really be considered "educational"
to let students teach a class on, e.g., video games, and just
discuss strategies for Halo 3, when they could be teaching concepts
of video game design and providing helpful tutorials and tools for
independent game development. Clear goals should be outlined and
standards set forth, so the teacher mentors can guide the students
toward education-appropriate courses.
Students would become more actively involved in the educational
process, both on the receiving and giving end.
We would be preparing students for college by promoting
self-directed learning, and introducing them to the online class
Studies have shown that online learning opportunities can
encourage even the normally reticent students to participate in
The beginnings of a student learning network would be
Students would develop organizational leadership skills.
Students would earn the recognition of their teachers, parents,
Students would find it motivating and empowering to maintain
their own online classroom about a subject that interests
Students would have a valuable portfolio of their work.
Parents could visit their student's course and follow the
Each school could have one or two teacher mentors for these
student-created courses. They would be responsible for the
Hearing and approving student course requests.
Creating the student course in Moodle.
Making sure students understand the rules for their course,
such as appropriate behavior (no offensive material or language)
and resources they can use, breadth requirements for the "passing"
Being available for questions about appropriate course material
and helping students with extracurricular activity planning if
Periodically checking up on the students' courses.
THE GREENEVILLE CITY SCHOOL SYSTEM does not discriminate in employment or admission on the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, or handicap. THE GREENEVILLE CITY SCHOOL SYSTEM complies with the provisions of Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.