Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching

Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching is a book, authored by Jeff Stanford, that I've been slowly working my way through since the beginning of the year. Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching could really be described as two books in one. Because of the extensive directions provided throughout the book, even if you've never used Moodle, you can utilize the strategies described in the book. As a case in point, the second chapter of the book is 72 pages long and is dedicated to teaching teachers everything they need to know in order to create a quality online learning environment for their second language students.

Chapters three through eight of Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching offer a combined fifty-five concrete examples of activities for teaching second language skills through a Moodle environment. Each of these teaching activities is outlined with detailed directions for making them work in Moodle. Directions are easily identified in each chapter by the heading "here's how to do it." Attention is given in the directions to pointing out common pit-falls and how to avoid them. I was really impressed by chapter 8 of Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching. Chapter 8 offers seven listening activities that can be done in Moodle. It may be because I've never taught second language learners, but I had never thought of creating listening activities in Moodle.

Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching wraps up with a chapter on assessment and a chapter on extended activities. Included in these chapters are directions for creating assessments in Moodle and record-keeping in Moodle. Also included in the final chapter are ideas for student e-portfolios in Moodle.

Overall, Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teachingis a very good resource for second language teachers who are looking to build an online learning environments for their students. The "here's how to do it" section included with each activity make it possible for new Moodle users to confidently try online teaching activities.

One last note before you run out and buy this book, it's important to note that the book assumes that you already have Moodle installed on a network that you can access. The book shows end-users (classroom teachers) how to use Moodle, but does not give directions for installing Moodle on a network. If you're in need of Moodle hosting, Global Classroom is one of many good Moodle hosting services. If you're not sure if Moodle is going to be "your thing" or not Global Classroom offers a free plan that will accommodate up to 50 students. I have a free account that I use for testing out different Moodle tools.

FTC Disclosure: I did receive a free review copy of Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Learning.