I’ve known for a couple of days now that the new version of Moodle comes with a blogging tool. I’m very interested in trying it out with the teachers and students who will be coming into our research lab, the AT&T Classroom, in the fall.
We started using Moodle for a while as a sharing component of our Ubiquitous Computing in Education project. So far, participation has been less than I’d like it to be, and am trying to figure out how to make the site more visible and attractive to visitors, so that they will make the effort to participate. Many people should know the site exists, as we have mailed out and given away about 2,000 DVDs, the main component of our Ubicomp project.
Anyway, we then started using Moodle with the teachers that will bring classes to our lab in the fall, and they were very excited about using it with kids (and they just saw the discussion boards and wikis).
What I like about Moodle is that I can set up blogging for kids in a safe way, because the blogs can be password protected, that is, only the teacher and kids in the classroom (and parents) can access the individual blogs for a particular class). This should take care of a lot of the concerns regarding bullying, predators, etc.).
We’ll see how this works out in the fall and how many teachers and kids will actually use the tools (in combination with this portfolio tool). I’ll keep you posted.
Afterthought: I was kind of in a hurry when I wrote this last night, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’m falling in the same trap here as many schools. Setting up a blogging site that’s password protected kind of defeats the purpose of having a blog, i.e. a wide audience. Granted, a group of blogs set up within the same site will most likely get more readers than, let’s say, an essay or report written on paper, but it doesn’t get the potential larger audience that’s out there on the Internet. So … the answer wasn’t as easy as I thought initially.