Guest Post – E-learning: What you can do if you’re not going to University

University Student

Our friends over at The Opinion Panel have some great advice for what to do if you don’t plan on going to university, but still want to use elearning.

Don’t want to go to university?

If you’re in school thinking about how you really don’t want to go on to higher education, have you ever thought about e-learning? It’s an easy, accessible way to get the skills you need from the comfort of your own home. Here is a super quick guide by The OpinionPanel Community to help you make the right decision for your future.

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Homework Month – How to Mark Homework

Teacher marking homework

So you’ve set a great homework task, you’ve got everyone to do it and now… well, now you’ve got to mark it. It’s a bit of a tedious task, no doubt about that; in fact you could argue that homework set for students is merely homework delayed for teachers (it might be a good idea to apply some of the same techniques for handling homework stress to your own marking). The way you mark a student’s homework can affect how productive the work is, as homework is by no means the end of a student’s learning. We took a look at the research of Dr. Rod Ellis, and determined the following methods, advantages and disadvantages:

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Homework Month – Getting Homework Done

Student doing their homeowrk wearing glasses and a green top

One of the the biggest problems that teachers face when it comes to homework is when students simply don’t get it done. This can have a negative impact not only on a student’s personal knowledge but also on plans for the lesson it was due in for. There are ways of making homework hand-in rates increase, however, so we’re going to share our top tips to help you get students to hand in their work.

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How Cleveland College of Art & Design saved time, money and made their VLE work for them

Cleveland College of Art & Design

I was recently fortunate enough to travel up to Hartlepool to meet up with one of Webanywhere’s most enthusiastic customers, Paul Fletcher of Cleveland College of Art & Design. Pulling into the car park with Divyesh, CCAD’s Account Manager, Paul greeted us with a warm smile and firm handshake. He was clearly pleased to see us, and seemed more than ready to jump into discussions about his plans for Moodle this year at CCAD.

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Homework Month – How teachers can help to handle homework stress

Student stress

This October we’ve decided to try and help teachers deal with a the problems and highlight the benefits of Homework. Come back every Thursday for a new blog!

It’s not an uncommon sight – a student paralysed into inaction by the overwhelming amount of homework that’s been dropped on them. It’s dispiriting to see – often students just give up trying to do homework and resign themselves to a term of detentions and faint excuses.

Encouraging students to do homework is far easier, however, if you give them a guide to handling it. Here are our top tips for coping with homework stress.

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Paradigm Lift: How a VLE Can Change Your School’s Culture for the better.

eBook design

The relationship between a school and a VLE has always been fraught with ambiguity. To some, the thought of digitising the classroom and bringing resources online inspires them to get online, to others it inspires a cold sweat. There’s no denying that the VLE is only as useful as its users allow it to be, or rather, as the users know how to make it.

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Using Moodle as a resource library

moodle-iconIn this post, we are looking at an alternative use for a Moodle LMS. This shouldn’t be seen as a sole use for an LMS but like any truly effective tool, Moodle’s strength is in its flexibility and ability to serve in multiple roles.

The function we want to look at today is using Moodle as a resource library. A few tools in Moodle make this possible, and we’ll look at each of these in turn.

“File” resource and “Folder” resource
Documents can be uploaded to any Moodle course and most tutors will be used to uploading these. You can also upload folders and data so there are several categories for the course files, this will make it easy for the student to find their content. However, this isn’t very easy to search, so isn’t great for a large number of files, the other tools are better for this.

Forum activity
The forum activity has a big advantage over normal documents in that it is searchable. This makes it much easier to retrieve files and information back out. One way you could use this is a repository of Q&A style answers, making it easier to get related questions to load and answer your questions.
Equally, it is easy for you to post your own questions. You can even attach files to a post to show what issue you are having. Anyone can then reply answering your question if they know the answer, expanding your knowledge base.

Glossary
The most useful module for this purpose is the glossary. This is a core module of Moodle that allows a user to create “posts” of content. These have a name and description, and can include multimedia and static files. It is also searchable, making it very easy to find the information you are looking for. The default alphabetical view also makes finding items easy.

This activity is also equipped with tags allowing another way to get to your data.This can also make it much easier for users to find related information. One of the most useful features is the Glossary filter. This enables content in a course (e.g. forum posts) to be automatically linked to the explanation in the glossary, with pop up boxes appearing to explain the terms. This is great tool for explaining the technical terms being used.

Hopefully, this post has given you some ideas on how you can use Moodle as a resource library. If you have any questions or want further information on our Moodle services please get in touch.

 

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Your VLE is not (just) a box!

One of the most common complaints we get from network managers about their VLE is that teachers don’t know how to use it, are misusing it or simply don’t use it at all. Too often, it seems, people are using their VLE as nothing more than an online document storage service. And honestly, if that’s really what you want – tell us! Our School Jotter Resources App might be more up your street, but we know your VLE is a lot more powerful than you might think at first. Here’s some things you can use it for:

Quizzes

Amongst teachers who make great use of their Moodle, quizzes are one of the most popular ways to assess knowledge. They’re dead easy to create, just do it in the same way you’d create any other media object in a course. You can choose from various types of question to ask, such as multiple choice, free-text, choose from a list and more. It’s a really easy way to test your students’ knowledge on a topic. For more info on building a Moodle Quiz, check out this tutorial here.

Engage parents with your VLE

Parental engagement is a hot topic at the moment, with parents wanting to know what their children are up to at school and how they’re doing – not to mention it being a key Ofsted requirement. With MIS integration into your VLE, you can push any and all relevant information out to parents, teachers or students from within the VLE. From September, this will be getting even easier too, with the release of our Schoolanywhere Mobile App!

Receive written assessments

It’s not just quantitative data you can assess on – Moodle is capable of receiving written assessments as well. Rather than worrying about broken printers or lost papers, you can have your students hand in their work digitally. You can then track this and mark it, with the results being written back into your MIS, if you have integration with that. A little bit of time spent setting up the assignments can save you a huge deal of paperwork down the line, a common theme with VLEs in general!

The Homework Block

An extension of the assessments module, the Homework Block has been custom-designed by Webanywhere to help you manage students’ homework assignments. It can really help with engaging parents too, as it lets them log in and see grades. Teachers can set homework ahead of time – get an entire term’s worth of work out of the way early, then mark them online. Find out more or request a free demo at homeworkanywhere.co.uk.

Flip your classroom

The trick to any decent VLE is both creating a reason for people to go there, then making it the most comfortable option. A great way to do this is to flip the classroom, a technique that’s becoming increasingly popular. Essentially rather than having students study in lessons they do the theory work at home, so when they come in the lessons become discussion and debate. It’s a highly effective method, and more closely resembles the university model that many students will have to adapt to.

Document storage

This is something Moodle is actually very good at. You can provide documents, links and all sorts of rich media, all restricted based on access permissions. It can be very handy for uploading notes and powerpoints, especially in the event that a student is unable to make a lesson due to adverse weather or other scenarios.

Extend it

So your VLE is looking great, but feel there’s something missing? Here lies the beauty of Moodle – it’s open source, so development of new plugins is easy, and this is something we specialise in. Whether it’s a system to let you communicate with parents, MIS integration, parents’ evening management, a mobile app or a homework module, we can help you out.

If you’re using Moodle, you’ve got one of the most powerful learning systems in the world, the result of years of development and work. If all you’re doing is putting files in it, you’re missing out. For more information on what it can do, or to arrange some additional staff training in how Moodle genuinely can make teaching and learning easier, contact one of our dedicated Moodle experts at moodle@webanywhere.co.uk.

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Using Moodle With Modern Foreign Languages

NanoGong In this blog I’ll give some ideas about how Moodle can be used to support foreign language acquisition.

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