As an EFL language teacher, and particularly an exam-preparation class teacher, sometimes I feel like I am contributing to the destruction of a small forest with the amount of photocopying I might do in a week.
To counter this, I set myself a goal to go as paperless as possible using Moodlecloud to help me achieve this goal.
Students either bring and use their own devices, or, at the school I am currently teaching at, students have access to a class set of Google Chromebooks, which I take to the classroom for them to use. These are preferable to the tiny screens of their own mobile phones, and I would recommend a similar device, tablet or laptop where possible.
I set up a Moodlecloud site with the free version and went from there. Initially I tried to set up a different course per week, but in the end I went with topics within one course, and hid the topics that were no longer relevant. This saved time as I didn’t have to enrol students on a regular basis. With the possibility of new students entering the class every week, this made sense.
I didn’t use Moodlecloud every day, mainly because each activity took a little more time to set up than photocopying would have. However, I will easily be able to use the activities and resources again and I don’t have to worry about storing and filing papers, as it’s all on the (Moodle) cloud.
I used the Moodlecloud site for the following:
- communicating via Messaging (in class) and Forum (outside of class time) – this was great because it meant we didn’t have to share our private mobile numbers nor worry about downloading an App that might not be supported by our device or restricted by our country’s mobile number. It also is a great way of getting away from other social media platforms that not everyone likes or wants to be part of.
- setting homework tasks that wouldn’t get lost, using Quiz
- sharing resources using URL and (when I didn’t have time to create separate URLs) Page
- using Page to set up prompts for speaking tasks
- submitting writing tasks using Assignment with simple rubrics for marking
- creating a self-marking test ‘answer-sheet’ using Quiz
- sharing answers for in-class or homework tasks by taking a photo of the answer section in the teacher’s book and putting it in a Page
I was also able to use Backup and Restore to copy courses, activities, and resources from my other Moodle site(s), which was very handy for last-minute activities.
Observations & Results
We didn’t use the site every day, as I had hoped, but we did use it at least once a week for self-study when I took students out of the classroom for individual consultations or practice speaking tests
My current course is definitely set up to be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching and is not designed to stand alone.
I didn’t go as paperless as I would have liked, but it’s definitely a start and something I intend to continue to do.
One important consideration is that the free version allows up to 50 users only.
Have a go!
If you would like to have a look at the course, I’ve made a duplicate copy of it without students:
Course Tish’s IELTS class (demo)
Guest: demo-guest; Teacher: demo-teacher; Student: demo-student
NB Teacher and Student will need to create an account and have a 2-hour enrolment access period. You can re-enrol if your enrolment period expires before you have finished perusing the course. Guests do not need to create an account and can view the course, resources, and most of the activities, but cannot fully access some of the activities.
Please let me know what you think, or add your own ideas and experiences, using the comments below.