Technology In Education Online

Integrating Technology - It's Not About Using, It's About Infusing

Google Classroom - Still in its infancy

Every conference that I've attended this fall has been focused on Google. The big thing has been the move towards Google Classroom. I've been using a Moodle for around 10 years. I've seen Moodle change over the years.
I can recall early on when any installation of a module was quite an ordeal. When you had to take a .zip file and unzip it. Then I would have to move each part into the correct folder. Today, Moodle is a simple installation. The number of add-on modules have grown. The additional features have expanded the capability of Moodle. But how does it compare to Google Classroom?
There has been a big push to move towards Google Classroom, so I thought I'd look at transferring everything over from Moodle. Especially since I've been hosting my own Moodle over the years and thought I would save the money I pay for hosting. Currently, my Moodle site course is broken down into topics that I cover throughout the year.

moodle_course
Course Topics on Moodle

What I like about this setup is that it is easy for students to locate the topic we are currently on. It was also very easy to setup the various topics. As you might notice, not only are the topics displayed here, but other features are easily viewable. The calendar and upcoming events are right there for students to see what is coming up in the days/weeks ahead. Once I go into a specific topic, it easy for me to add a variety of items to that topic. Once added, I can move an item, edit an item, or a label.

topic_edit
Viewing a specific topic on Moodle

In Google Classroom, the capabilities are limited. There is no drag and drop feature, editing is limited, and moving things around is difficult. The only thing I can do is select an item and move it to the top. It makes it rather cumbersome to have to move assignments around into the order that you want. It reminds me a little like one of those puzzles where one puzzle piece space is left open and you have to shuffle around pieces of the puzzle.

puzzle_shuffle
Reordering assignments in Google Classroom is a little like these puzzles

I find that when you are first getting started, it is the time you need things to be as simple and efficient as possible. I don't like the idea of having to spend a bulk of my time just arranging things. I want to be able to get things loaded whether it is an assignment, a video, a discussion forum, or questionnaire, in a user friendly way. I consider myself a pretty tech savvy person. I can't imagine how someone new would find this experience. Another nice feature with one of the free Moodle plugins is a module called Mass Action. This block allows an educator to perform actions on multiple resources instead of one at a time.

mass_action
Mass Action Block in Moodle

I guess if I were to think of it developmentally, Google Classroom is that infant that has just learned to begin to walk, on occasion tripping and falling down. Whereas, Moodle seems like an young adult, fairly stable but still growing. In the next blog, I'll look at a comparison between Moodle and Google Classroom when it comes to adding a test or quiz.

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