Blog? Moodle? or Wiki?

How to organise ICT into your teaching programme? Which of these tools is best? Or, more likely, what is the best way to utilise all three in twenty-first century education?

This site will look at each of the three tools and give some pointers as to how they might be used in your classroom. For the most part, I have focused on the use of blogs, wikis and Moodle from a teacher's perspective (how can I set up my online course?) but I have also tried to include some ways that students can also use these applications.

Check out the Other Resources sidebar for a range of other online tools I use, have seen used, or need to learn how to use!

The Bottom Line

I think that the best online curriculum delivery and organisation is a combination of Moodle and wiki.

I like the unit structure of Moodle, with the ability to set assignments, quizzes etc, but prefer the layout features of a wiki that allows the embedding of video, pictures and other 'widgets'. The true 'wiki' feature is rarely used in educational wikis, but (like blogs) they tend to be used by teachers as simple-to-construct webpages. Interestingly, at this stage most wikis and blogs I saw did not use the school's domain name, which suggests that many teachers are creating Web 2.0 pages with little or no support from their schools, or that the schools do not see it as a priority for these pages to be within its domain.

I suggest that Moodle be used to outline the syllabus, with each unit remaining hidden until it is needed. Within the Moodle page, a link to the home page of the subject wiki, and specific page links at appropriate times could be given. I would envisage the wiki having a page that corresponds to each key point of the syllabus, with a combination of teacher input/introduction, links to resources (these could be annotated much more easily than in Moodle) and embedded video. Any discussion, student upload of resources etc would be conducted through the Moodle Forum. With Moodle 2.1, students will be able to access Moodle through their smartphones, so some key links and resources could be posted on both, although Wikispaces loads quickly and easily on an iPhone so this is unnecessary.

As with anything new, the use of Moodle and a class wiki requires introduction and reiteration with the students until they become used to it. Ideally, a school-wide approach to ICT and Web 2.0 would be consistently implemented across year levels and faculties to give students the same expectations and conditions in all of their classes. In a few short years, I would envisage that after the initial use in Year 7, at the start of subsequent years most high school teachers would be able to post on the Moodle forum the link to the class wiki, students would receive this by email, and the teaching and learning would begin without the need for introductions to these.

I can see that blogs are useful for some aspects, such as keeping a journal or a process log, but as an online curriculum management system, it was never designed to be one, and has too many shortcomings. It could be useful for frequent, short posts, but I would limit the number of separate sites that students need to visit for my subject.

My ideal would be to use Moodle, organised by unit, with a link to the class wiki at the very top of the page.

I'm interested in the ways others use these tools. Please leave a comment in the discussion forum, particularly if you use other resources I haven't linked to, or wish to link to your blog or wiki.

Brendan Toohey