Note: These are my reflections on Packt Publishing’s Science Teaching with Moodle 2.0 by Vincent Lee Stocker. In the interests of full disclosure, please be aware Packt Publishing has provided ample no-cost access to their ebook titles. That said, my reflections are my own and I share what I think about the books (as any blogger should).
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Goals of the Book
- “Being able to give students access to course materials 24/7 in a controlled environment, so that learning can take place anywhere.”
- “Monitor the progress and keep records of your students learning.”
- “Extending the classroom by providing online discussion, testing, activities, and…allowing collaboration and communication….”
- “Make use of exciting multimedia, 3D interactive molecules, and web-based content, allowing pupils with different learning styles to access the curriculum”
- “Helping science teachers collaborate, share, and store teaching resources….”
As you might guess from my suggested adjustment to the book title, there is a lot to like in this book if you are a person in the “Teacher” role and new to using Moodle. Stocker spends a significant amount of time going through the Moodle how-to–which isn’t too unexpected since this is, after all, a Moodle 2.0 focused book–and providing flashes of science and learning theory. Don’t get this reviewer wrong; Stocker’s book is eminently readable and worthy of finding a place on your bookshelf, whether it’s a digital shelf or not. I just don’t think that one chapter focused on Science add-ons is enough to say this book is about science teaching with Moodle.
- Wiki activity sequencing jumbled up instructions for doing an experiment
- Mix-and-match information, for example, results of chemical reagents to reactions
- Have pupils watch a video and convert the information into a wiki
- Build a wiki page about flame tests including embedded video.
One thing about wikis is that any change goes live immediately. What if you want to approve something before everyone can view it? This is where glossaries come in useful.
|Image Source: http://www.energeticforum.com/renewable-energy/5952-capacitive-sink-hole.html|
Yet, if I may be blunt, I wanted to get a charge about using Moodle by “idea induction” and less hands-on with Moodle, as evidenced by screenshots and technical writing. That expectation was set by the title, and less so by the goals of the book.
Just as I was ready to split and invest my energy elsewhere at the detailed, illustrated explanations of setting quizzes, gradebooks, workshops, embedding images into labels, using tables to organize content so it’s more appealing, Chapter 7: Using Mathematical Equations, Animated Molecules, and Creating ‘Live’ Graphs established an agostic interaction.
When you consider the power of this particular chapter alone, you realize everything else was just a pre-quel. I so wish we didn’t have to cover the same ground time and again in Chapters 1-6, instead go straight to the meat of Chapter 7. Consider the objectives for Chapter 7:
- Embed 3D molecular structures using Jmol (a filter you can add to Moodle) that your users can zoom in on and rotate. How’s that for interactive science?
- Create a page of equations using TeX notation.
- Build equations using the DragMath equation editor (the author, by the way, can be found on MoodleMayhem.org email list).
- Display “live” graphs that auto-update
|Image Source: http://kcmblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/buy-or-not.jpg|
So the question is, would I buy this book for science teachers? Yes. I’d buy it because it could double as a primer on Moodle and includes enough “science stuff” in Chapter 7 to get interesting.
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