TeachMeet Moodle presentation

Many thanks to the legendary Leon Cych (@eyebeams) without whom this would not be a video. PS there was no camel so it goes on longer than the usual 7 minutes.

The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.

Using technology in the classroom, using it for learning, is an endeavour that engages some teachers. Others do not find it particularly enlightening – they don’t get bitten.

I remember training a music teacher in the ways of Moodle over two years ago. Since then he has not used it for anything other than revision lists and other three line whip orders from above.

Two weeks ago he came to me with a dilemma. The new Music GCSE requires pupils to identify different sections of 12 pieces of music, most of them classical. A recent internal assessment revealed that his class of non-classical musicians were struggling with the basic identification: e.g. they had to listen to 10 second bursts of a Mozart Symphony and place in a certain section of the whole symphony (e.g. exposition subject 1). Not easy for an unfamiliar ear. So, he asked me what we could do to help them. His solution had been to write a booklet and put the music files on a CD.

This is how we rolled:

  1. Split the audio into the ‘identification’ items using audacity.
  2. Upload the audio files into a folder in a GCSE Music Moodle course.
  3. Build multiple-choice quiz questions with the choices being each of the identification categories for that symphony.
  4. Access the audio file URL. Course files >> right click audio file >> properties >> highlight >> copy.
  5. Paste the URL into the question HTML box
  6. Edit the HTML code to make the URL text white so it will not display
  7. Edit the feedback text and set which answer is correct
  8. Save question

This gave us a multiple choice question with the audio automatically embedded as a mini MP3 player and the seven answers underneath with radio buttons next to each possible answer.

The teacher then was able to create new questions:

  1. Open (edit) the existing question
  2. Edit the title
  3. Change the link to the next audio file
  4. Amend which answer was correct
  5. Amend the feedback accordingly
  6. Click ‘save as new question’.

He did this with no further support from me.

The result of all this was a Moodle course whereby he could easily create quizzes for the pupils to do every week, and repeat and repeat. Moodle keeps an eye on progress and even tells you which question each pupil got wrong. There is a progress bar (3rd party block) so pupils can see if they have not done something. There is a quiz block that displays who is doing best on the quizzes. The teacher has also displayed the directories to the audio file folders enabling pupils to go and listen to the pieces without doing the quiz. Equally he created directories for the presentation files he had used with them in class.

The reason this was such a win for me is because the teacher already had the ICT skills to do this stuff. I showed him how to do everything once and he picked it up. His motivation was a genuine desire to help his pupils learn. We couldn’t come up with any other potent solutions.

The last thought that springs to mind is about Moodle itself. Could any other VLE do this? The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind. When a teacher needs something and technology provides the solution… hey presto!

Next up he wanted to be able to use music notation as the answers to multiple-choice questions. I showed to print screen, edit in a graphics application and upload to Moodle in a table. We were not able to display the text next to the radio buttons so we created a table with each image labelled. The pupil would then choose the correct label from the answers displayed.

One thing leads to another…

‘How many years can a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea?

How many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free?

How many times can a man turn his head pretending he just doesn’t see?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind

The answer is blowing in the wind.’

Bob Dylan Blowin’ in the Wind 1963