By Jeff Stanford
Moodle is the world’s most popular and widely used open source learning management system (LMS) in the world today with over 45,000 registered sites, 32 million users, 3 million courses in over 200 countries in 75 languages. In his book, Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching, Jeff Stanford introduces Moodle as an easy to use, highly adaptable and very effective platform for teaching second languages.
What is it?
First an foremost, Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching is an instruction manual and whether you’re new to Moodle or not, in my opinion, Jeff Stanford has done an excellent job with it. It cuts right to the chase with plenty of examples, scenarios, clear, concise explanations and step by step instructions and illustrations. It’s laid out in practical mini tutorials, organised into the following chapters:
- What does Moodle offer language teachers?
- Getting started with Moodle
- Vocabulary Activities
- Speaking Activities
- Grammar Activities
- Reading Activities
- Writing Activities
- Listening Activities
- Extended Activities
The book faithfully follows the recommendations outlined by Professor Jack C. Richards in his paper, Communicative Language Teaching Today [pdf]. Most of the activities are learner centred and designed to develop learner autonomy. It leans heavily towards collaborative and project based learning, for example, using the Glossary module for learners to create their own class dictionaries and using the Wiki module for similar formal group learning activities. He also describes techniques to encourage self and peer assessment to further increase learner independence and a stronger sense of participation, ownership and belonging. In other words, the techniques described in this manual are highly motivating. To quote Barbara Gross Davis in her book, Tools for Teaching (Jossey Bass 2009);
“Researchers report that, regardless of the subject matter, students working in small groups tend to learn more and demonstrate better retention than students taught in other instructional formats. Students who work in groups also appear more satisfied with their classes, and group work provides a sense of shared purpose that can increase morale and motivation. In addition, group work introduces students to the insights, values, and world views of their peers, and it prepares students for life after school, when many will be working in teams.”
Who is it aimed at?
If you are a DoS, Academic Director, Head of Faculty or a teacher who is interested in learning how to leverage the powerful tools for learning available in the Web 2.0 environment, this book is an excellent starting point. It gets you up and running in no time, whatever your previous experience of using web based learning tools might be. The format is open and modular so that you can adopt Moodle 1.9 as a platform for your elearning requirements in steps and at a pace that is comfortable and practical for your organisation and your learners.
About Jeff Stanford
Jeff Stanford is an Associate tutor in Applied Linguistics for the University of Leicester and a teacher trainer on Cambridge ESOL courses. He also does training consultancy work for organizations such as Anglia Assessment, Fintra, Pearson, and the British Council.
His website: http://moodleflair.com/