“Union is strength”: Moodle & Genially, the perfect tandem
A few years ago I started using Moodle as an essential tool for the classes I teach for high school seniors: Electrical Engineering and Information and Comunication Technology (or ICT). Moodle has turned to be the perfect ally when it comes to organizing resources and links, creating contents, arranging homework deadlines, sharing schedules and giving my students some feedback about their progress. Moodle also makes it easier for me to explain individually how they can improve. Thanks to this tool I no longer use text books, and I can give individual monitoring to each student and keep track of everything that happens in each lesson.
However, although I really like this tool, I have to say it isn’t flawless. One of its major weakness is the fact that it’s very unattractive, visually speaking. No matter how much I compliment Moodle’s bounties, we must face the obvious: Moodle’s interface is extremely linear and, above all, it’s awfully boring.
In this world we’re living in, user interfaces are truly important, especially when the audience is formed by young students: they are experts in this field and, therefore, very demanding. If we also take into account the new educational trends that talk about introducing gamification and customized learning, Moodle definitely runs short.
This is where Genial.ly has been such a discovery. It has turned to be the ideal tool to overcome all those difficulties and struggles and provide some freshness, a more attractive aspect and new possibilities to my Moodle courses because these two tools blend perfectly. Actually, they are the perfect tandem! 🙂
Thanks to Genial.ly I’ve been able to break that linearity we mentioned before and introduce almost naturally some gaming elements in the classroom. Now my students can pick their own path or sequence of activities.
This means that when my students log in the course, they find a board where they have to play in order to discover what they have to do and the necessary instructions or clues to do it.
Each pin in Genial.ly carries a link, and any mobile element contains a resource, link or extra information, so the student knows where they have to start investigating. When they click in a pin, it takes them to an activity or resource in Moodle, and there they get a more detailed explanation of the activity and the score they will get once they’re done.
Thanks to Moodle’s setting choices and the simplicity to include different kinds of resources in Genially, I was able to create diverse learning paths or sequences, include voluntary activities and even some surprises and special tasks to get some extra points. I have to admit that designing the whole thing was quite laborious, but once it all was ready and set, the workflow has been really comfortable and has made possible for each student to pick their own calendar, activities and order to complete them.
Furthermore, it was quite easy to duplicate the first board and create several levels of difficulty with more activities and resources organized in different pages. Once the level is completed, the students can get a “prize”: a second chance in a test, listening to music in class, winning a medal… This prizes turned to be an aid to catch the general attention and maintain a sense of game during the activity and throughout the sessions.
The first term is already over and the results of the satisfaction survey done by the students have been frankly positive. They have also given me some good ideas and clues to improve this learning method, and I’m definitely giving them a try. Thus, we can firmly say that we’ve passed the litmus test: this method has been a real success and, as we said in the title: union is strength!