I am about to board a plane on my way home after the annual Moodle Conference in Melbourne. The many words I have heard and spoken over the last week are floating around in my head and the one I keep repeating is “Bricoleur”. A bricoleur is a tinkerer who constructs and sculpts using whatever comes to hand.
The term Bricoleur was used by Don Hinkleman to describe the way teachers are using technology in classrooms. The ability to adjust on the fly, assess, analyze, and rebuild result in some great discoveries and leaps in innovation.
The Bricoleur award for this year goes to Scott Huntley who lives on the edge of chaos surrounded by Arduino devices, flashing ties, beacons and thoughts of IFTTT and Moodle integration possibilities. He was asking the right audience for advice as all of the Moodle HQ team were present and spent a day in a hackfest to discuss questions such as these.
There was a shift in this Moot away from Moodle as a tool for online study with many references to how teachers are using Moodle in their face to face classrooms.
Dan Haesler and Adam Spencer acknowledged how highly valued teachers are in our society. The fresh brains of our children start out full of curiosity and questions yet face a lot of discouragement along the way. Adam Spencer told the story of how explaining to his teacher that a square peg would fit through a round hole resulted in his mate punching him in the head. At that point he had to decide where he wanted to sit in life: with the cool kids or with ‘them’? We have all faced these forks in the road of life.
The Open Badges panel by Katharina Freud, Joyce Seitzinger and myself discussed a flexible way to build up credentials which encourages learners to paint their own career path. Resilience is linked to a Growth Mindset that re-frames failure; forks in the road become scenic drives rather than dead ends. Dan Haesler’s opening slide showed the proportion of kids who report they don’t feel they belong at school and made the point that a student’s well being is a higher priority than pure academic achievement.
Martin Dougiamas explained that Moodle was built with Teachers as the number one priority.
Moodle LMS is a tool for teachers to be more flexible and effective in their mission to engage kids in their life, the world around them and their future, as described by Dan Haesler. As Adam Spencer said: “We can harness digital capacity to do the things our minds want to do”. Dan Haesler explained it this way: “One teacher can not develop personalised learning pathways for every student but they can set up a tool kit that allows each student to build their own pathways”. Joanne Newbury used the analogy that a FitBit will track your steps only if you turn it on in the first place.
Many sessions at the Moodle Moot gave us inspiration on how to make more use of Moodle activities to create FitBit style automatic tracking and reporting of the many small steps learners take: Conditional activities, progress bars, badges, choice activity, workshop for peer assessment and more. Explore the resources on the conference site to get inspiration.
The most exciting part of the conference was the launch of MoodleCloud and watching the first Moodle Cloud course being created by Martin. Now every teacher in the world who has Internet access can have their own free Moodle course. Wow. Just wow. Adam Spencer asked us to imagine the future and how technology will exponentially improve. I think I will look back on this moment as one of those turning points in time. Great job Moodle HQ for developing MoodleCloud and leading the way in Education with the Open Source spirit. Try it yourself now: Moodle.com.
Another exciting part of the conference for me was meeting, eating and dancing with so many amazing people. The conference started with a Flashmob dance to get us “in the Mood ” and it worked! #mootlove to everyone involved in the organising of the #mootau15 event – mission achieved 🙂 I hope you can join in the fun with us next year!