Moodle, if you do not know, is a course management system or CMS (Joomla is a CMS too, but in Joomla’s case CMS stands for Content Management System). Moodle basically allows people to develop and run just about any course for just about any subject on-line. It’s open source and its free. The Open University in the UK is working on a Moodle based e-learning set-up for its students. If it is good enough for the Open University, then it is more than good enough for me. I intend to use Moodle to develop and manage learning materials.
At present, I link to various on-line exercises from my website, but, although these on-line exercises are OK, being a picky type of soul, I like the idea of being able to develop excercises myself and aim them at the specific needs of my students. I’ve yet to decide just how I shall exploit Moodle, in fact, I’ve yet to install Moodle on my webserver due to the MySQL version not being the one I need. I have spoken to my very efficient hosting service, HostingPlan who are willing to move my site over to a server which has an acceptable version of MySQL. Thanks HostingPlan!
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
Once I have the right dbase stuff, I can proceed to install Moodle, which is not difficult if you have some familiarity with the web server administration system CPanel, which I do, luckily. While I’m waiting for things to be transferred, I can install Moodle locally on my laptop and have a play to get myself familiar with what it can do and what you need to do to make it do what you want. Once I know a little more, I can have a think about how to set things up and start creating courses and adding content.
My only gripe with on-line solutions for language learning is that it is not yet easy to practice that most essential of skills, speaking. However, this is coming and with PHP5, CSS3 and Moodle 2.0, something called “VoiceXML” will start to be implemented and developed and voice based interaction will become possible. Yes, I know that this is not real conversation, but with a little imagination prompted conversations can be developed and should help non-native speakers of a language to deal with real-life situations more confidently. The potential of this technology is without bounds in my opinion. I find it fascinating.
I shall report on my progress.