Old Dog, New Tricks? - Moodle, Edmodo, or Google Classroom

The old saying is, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" in some cases may be true, but another cliche could be true in this case, "why fix it if isn't broke." Why do I mention these sayings? I have to back track a little to see the whole picture. Three or four years ago, people were jumping on the Edmodo bandwagon. Going to various conferences the big talk was Edmodo. There would be numerous presentations or sessions talking up the virtues of Edmodo. I would explain to people that I used a Moodle. The conversation would turn to attempting to convince me why Edmodo was a better choice. Often times, people knew very little about Moodle but were convinced Edmodo was a better online alternative. It felt a little like somehow they had a personal stake in my decision. I setup several classes in Edmodo and experimented with its features. However, I felt that Moodle offered options that Edmodo didn't include within its structure.
The old saying is, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" in some cases may be true, but another cliche could be true in this case, "why fix it if isn't broke." Why do I mention these sayings? I have to back track a little to see the whole picture. Three or four years ago, people were jumping on the Edmodo bandwagon. Going to various conferences the big talk was Edmodo. There would be numerous presentations or sessions talking up the virtues of Edmodo. I would explain to people that I used a Moodle. The conversation would turn to attempting to convince me why Edmodo was a better choice. Often times, people knew very little about Moodle but were convinced Edmodo was a better online alternative. It felt a little like somehow they had a personal stake in my decision. I setup several classes in Edmodo and experimented with its features. However, I felt that Moodle offered options that Edmodo didn't include within its structure.

This past summer I was presenting at a conference and attended a session on Google Classroom. The presenter approached me, during the hands-on portion of the session. I informed her that I don't use Google Classroom and instead I use a Moodle. She said she wasn't familiar with Moodle. I mentioned there were additional modules that Moodle offered that weren't available in Google Classroom. I then began to feel grilled on what was it that Moodle had that Google Classroom couldn't do. I began to wonder, "was she taking this as a personal insult?'" It felt a little like I had to make the switch over to Google Classroom to make amends.

This fall at several conferences I've presented at, the big focus has been on Google Classroom. It is a familiar feeling I had going back to those conferences focused on Edmodo. The enthusiasm for Google Classroom was evident by the number of sessions focusing on Google Classroom. That is fine with me. However, if it is simply used as a repository for information and not as a tool for student interaction, then the idea of an online classroom is missing.

I want to be clear, I'm not saying that Moodle is a better choice. If you are comfortable with using Edmodo or Google Classroom, great! At this stage, I believe that isn't what tools you choose to use, but what you do with those tools. This is true whether you're talking about a LMS, an app to tell stories, or an app to do an assortment of tasks. The key is to take a student-centered, project-based learning, approach to education and the technology tools you use.
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