Between 1998-1999, Cuban, Kirkpatrick and Peck conducted research on computer use at two high schools in Silicone Valley.  Both were well equipped with computers, and had a budget to cover technological needs.  Cuban et al’s. published work of 2001 noted that despite all the promises of educational technology to revolutionize education, and accessibility to teachers and students, the few teachers who used technology in their classrooms used them to advance a traditional, teacher-centered transmission approach to teaching.

Perkins’s and Pfaffman’s (2006) article “Using a Course Management System to Improve Classroom Communication,” focuses on using Moodle in the very way in which Kirkpatrick et al. criticize.  Their article is so blatantly teacher-centric.  The article suggests a one-way communication from teacher to students, parents, and the community, but between teacher/teacher, and administrator /teacher.  The article’s final paragraph sums up the message succinctly:

It [Moodle] provides principals, administrators, and the community a window into the proceedings of the classroom.  It provides teachers with a simple- to-edit-and-update way to organize a class web page and communicate with colleagues. (Perkins and Pfaffman, 2006, p. 37)

But Moodle’s affordances go way beyond merely allowing teachers to park course materials for students to access.  It is more than a way to prevent “the usual misunderstandings about assignments, due dates, and other course requirements” (Perkins and Pfaffman, 2006, p. 36).  Moodle is a dynamic Course Management System that promotes and supports 21st-century constructivist learning and teaching methods through its affordances for interactivity, support of diverse learning styles through multimedia, and collaborative learning.  In a constructivist paradigm, interactivity goes in three directions:  between students and teachers, between students and students, and between students and learning materials.

Perhaps now is the time, as we begin the second decade of the 21st century, to consistently explore and exploit Moodle’s many affordances to effectively support active learning among students in ways that engage their creativity and intellect, while at the same time bring the “fun” back into learning.

References:

Cuban, L., Kirkpatrick, H., & Peck, C. (2001).  Cuban, L., Kirkpatrick, H., & Peck, C. (2001).  High access and low use of technologies in high school classrooms:  Explaining an apparent paradox.  American Educational Research Journal 38(4), 813-834.  DOI: 10.3102/000283128004813

Perkins, M. and Pfaffman, J. (2006).   “Using a Course Management System to Improve Classroom Communication. ”  The Science Teacher, 73(7), 33-37.

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