When I mean cross country Im not talking the U.S. Im talking across multiple countries. Yesterday, I stared a Professional Development course training teachers how to implement Moodle into their classroom. There are 27 teachers taking the course from 3 different countries. These teachers work at American international schools in China, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E.
Im excited for this class as the true power of distance learning hits professional development in the international school arena. I have two co-instructors that are helping to facilitate the course on their respected campuses. I started the course yesterday by introducing the educators to the connectivism theory of learning. Using George Siemans Connectivism Theory and research on student use of technology, I put together a simple little PowerPoint to demonstrate where todays kids are coming from. You can download the PowerPoint here. It was great to see teachers from grades 5-12 getting together and talking about education and the impact technology can have in the classroom.
I did have an interesting conversation with one of the 5th grade teachers who is using blogs in her classroom. She asked me So where does this fit in with blogging? I had to think about this one for awhile. The power of blogging is quiet amazing, as I am reminded every morning while Im checking 40+ blog entries from the night before. The more my students use their blogs the more powerful of a learning tool they become, and the more I myself get into the blogosphere the more powerful I see them becoming. So where does this leave online learning and course ware such as Moodle? The things that you can do with Moodle are amazing. From private journals to forums to surveys to quizzes, Moodle does it all. So, taking that into consideration, I think as a teacher you have to see what part of Moodle fits into your teaching and learning. You dont have to use all the components of Moodle. Just the forum feature alone is a powerful enough tool to learn to run Moodle. There is a place for all this technology in the classroom just how it all fits together is going to depend on the teacher.
I am not pushing blogs yet, but mention them every change I get. I plan in the coming weeks to introduce them to John Pedersons wiki on setting up a bloglines account. This way they get introduced to wikies and bloglines at the same time.
I love teaching Professional Development course. Like blogs I learn so much from the people I interact with. They ask questions that make me stretch my own understanding and rethink just what needs to happen in education in the 21st Century. Im sure this wont be the last post about the class.