Note: This is a follow up on questions that came up during Classroom 2.0 LIVE! I’ve organized them into broad categories/themes, and responding to them over time. I encourage those of you who are knowledgeable (or have an opinion/angle) to speak up in the comments. In this entry, I respond to some of the issues mentioned in the LEADERSHIP theme. Thanks to the Classroom 2.0 LIVE Folks!


  1. Braddo: My big question re Moodle and like systems: Why use a closed tool like these when they seem to run counter to the whole move to more openness?
  2. Braddo: I’m more interested in “Why?” questions then “How?” questions: It seems to me that Moodle is “old school”, that is it’s built and run by teachers. Is this just another iteration of pedagogy as knowledge transfer vs. socially constructed knowledge. Not that old school is necessarily wrong, and socially-constructed learning inherently superior, but does Moodle really change the game?
  3. Braddo: But MG, doesn’t “Moodle as scaffold” that only defer the decision?
  4. Braddo: So, the reason for taking on Moddle is “to keep the district out of the news”??
  5. Braddo: Have to disagree MG. Aprreciate issues of protection, but I don’t beleive that innovation in web 2.0 world can come from top down. The web moves too fast. The whole point of web 2.0 is to access the long tail etc.
  6. Marty Caise to how do you address the issues regarding student safety and potential risk of compromising of sensitive data with your moodle system – Coming from a fellow SA district (NEISD) – I would love to hear how you are doing this

There are two topics represented by the questions above, some of which has already been addressed in previous entries I’ve written. The two topics are:

  1. Is Moodle open and flexible enough to serve as a Web 2.0 tool that is controlled by end-users (students) rather than top-down?
  2. How do you address student safety and potential risk of compromising sensitive data?

These are awesome questions and I really appreciate Braddo taking the time to crystalize the discussion Dan Rezac and I have been having. Dan and I have been mucking around in the bushes but Braddo hit the nail on the head. When we talk about disintermediating influences, this means that the teacher is taken out of the picture as the mediator of learning. Instead, learners-K-12 and adult–have direct access to the content and learning they want and need.

While the disruption caused by unfettered access to learning sources is powerful and is significantly remolding our concept of various institutions–newspapers, higher ed–the change is moving much more slowly in K-12 schools. This may be as a result of a variety of factors, but I’d guess that our “younglings” must be protected from the evil world that threatens to confound their senses and lure them to the dark side. Our strict father, to use Lakoff’s frames, perspective kicks in.

Other factors may also include the simple fact that schools have limited resources, access to Internet and teacher time (which is still at a premium because of high stakes testing demands), information and Moodle use provides a way to ration out these resources. Teachers also have the opportunity to be introduced to Moodle as a tool for facilitating learning in a way that is wildly radical to what they currently do now, yet aligned to “old school” values of top-down control. Is compromise a bad thing here?

I don’t know if these factors will fly and I hope someone tears them up. More could probably be written and I don’t pretend to have the final word. There is a clear expectation that Braddo wants teachers and admin and parents to be held accountable for learning MORE, for creating and collaborating more…yet, as someone who worked to accomplish that, I see this shift as more of a continuum. That said, this is a fight that has to be won ONE PERSON at a time…we have to erode the strangle hold top-down models and approaches have on teaching and learning.

As an advocate of PBL, I haven’t seen significant adoption of that approach. We know its better so why don’t we do it? What we do know is technology that is adopted in schools is the technology that supports the status quo. That’s why electronic gradebooks work well, as do “clickers” (student response systems) and interactive whiteboards that the teacher controls.

Moodle, again, serves as a trojan horse to reinforce how educators work but also introduces new approaches, albeit imperfectly (e.g. blogs/wikis). Thoughts?

In regards to Marty’s question, How do you address student safety and potential risk of compromising sensitive data?

We have no sensitive data stored in District moodles…we’re in the process of creating an external database for authentication (I detail the process in this Moodle Tip) for student accounts. The information stored therein isn’t confidential.

If this isn’t what you were asking, I encourage you to revise the original question and post it in the comments. My apologies if I missed the intent of your question.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure