Today, I visited Fairfield-Suisun Adult School where I met with TIMAC mentor Diane Wilson, Principal Kay Hartley, and mentee-teachers Michelle and Yvonne. We met in Diane’s classroom and discussed her TIMAC project which aims to improve and expand the more than 20 courses that she and Yvonne developed and posted on OTAN’s Moodle site this past summer. Diane’s project goal for this year is to refine a few of the courses and make them more engaging and interactive through the use of online videos, discussion boards, and web-based curriculum by Shmoop and Aztec Learning.
The initial interest in Moodle came from Principal Kay Hartley’s desire to have quizzes for the various High School subjects available online. Her vision grew to include complete Moodle courses as she realized the tremendous potential the technology offered for students' academic progress as well as the development of their technology and workforce readiness skills. While she has embraced the use of technology in the classroom, Principal Hartley values direct instruction and requires that her teachers continue to provide it in each of their courses. Mentee-teacher Michelle allocates one half of each class period to teacher-led instruction and the other half to individual computer-based study.
The move to Moodle did not happen without its challenges. A district-wide network change from Novell to Linux this year caused a number of headaches and issues with blocked websites continue to plague the school. Fortunately, with her background in systems administration, Diane has been able to find ways to work around these problems and continue to improve the Moodle courses.
It was apparent that Diane and her colleagues have worked tremendously hard in the development of these Moodle courses. I'm excited to follow Diane's progress in TIMAC this year!