This afternoon a staff member walked up to me and said: “Tomaz, I have been meaning to see you about Moodle. You really need to teach me about how to use it.”
This of course is music to my ears as the resident moodler. But then I returned what is now becoming a standard line and a sure tickler: “I couldn’t possibly!”
She stood there stunned but polite. Huh, did I get her attention.
I did continue:”I would love to have a chat with you about Moodle and show you around but first – have a look in our Sandpit what Moodle is [the "Moodle explained with Lego" clip] and then the sort of things you can do with it [the 'How can Moodle change a school] clip(s)]. This will give you a broad idea about Moodle before starting to poke around. When done, come up to me with a classroom problem and we’ll solve it together, step by step. How does that sound to you?”
“See you on Monday at the workshop!” was the immediate and enthusiastic reply.
Too often we approach teaching of things like software applications with a “these are the features, click here, click there…” and then leave it to people’s imagination how they are going to use it. Doing so, we tend to break one of the most important rules of communication – we make it about the software not about the people. We own the information, they merely borrow it.
By turning things around and solving a real-life classroom scenario, challenge, problem, idea people suddenly own the solution. They recognise themselves in the picture – “Hey, that’s me”!
Teachers are a very pragmatic lot and love to borrow good stuff. Give’em a good one in Moodle and they will come! If a science teacher has a great solution using Moodle for a problem or idea her class and say, an English teacher sees it and ‘gets it’ – you can bet the English teacher will at least try or ask how to go about it. And coming from a colleague and a fellow ‘struggler’ is a much more powerful thing than coming from the school’s main Moodle peddler like me. The bigger the struggler the more potent the message, even at the subconscious level (“If she can do that I reckon I can do that too!”).
‘Classroom solutions (with software)’ versus ‘Software solutions (in classroom)’. I know which one a regular chalkie would go for and why. Do you?