Many times it seems that due to the fact I reside outside of the core academic areas people do not understand the structure of my classroom. As an instructor of Technical Drafting in a vocational setting I am presented with some fairly unique instructional challenges. These issues are exacerbated further by the fact that unlike many vocational centers that only deal with 11th and 12th grade students we provide instruction to 9th through 12th grades. While this is beneficial in making sure that students are able to achieve the state required segments for instruction it has some major draw backs as well. Let us look further into the issues that arise due to these facts. First let us look at some issues relating to how class schedules affect the class. As a vocational center we have 12 sending schools, one that is directly attached to the facility. With this in mind we need to look at students arriving and departing at different times during the “2 hour” block that the traditional vocational students are in. Due to the distances some of the sending schools students have to travel I have students who either show up half way through a class period or have to leave over a half hour before the end of a period. This does not lend itself very well to a traditional teacher lead classroom. Further issues arise when considering scheduling of the sending school directly attached to our facility, as they allow students to take a “1 hour” block of the class. Unlike other sending schools that require a student to devote an entire year to the class these students have the ability to take only a single trimester or any combination of trimesters throughout the year. Another of the major issues that arises with this type of classroom structure is that it creates an environment much like a one room school house. As such I have students that are at the intro level intermingled with my fourth year co-op students. This has some pretty major drawbacks because many of the beginning students are very “needy” for information and the advanced students questions can take up to a half hour or more to fully explain and answer. With all of these factors in mind it has become a personal quest to discover a means to help disseminate information through a very effective and efficient medium, thus increasing my overall classroom efficiency. I believe I may come across exactly what I am looking for in Moodle!

I feel that Moodle would offer me the opportunity to improve my instructional efficiency in several different ways, this is echoed in the following statement “Moodle can be used as a tool for delivering content to students and assess learning using assignments or quizzes and, more interestingly, it can be used to build rich collaborative learning communities”( http://www.informatica.si/PDF/35-1/12_Sumak-Factors%20affecting%20acceptance%20and%20use%20of%20Moodle.pdf). The first of which would be its ability to help students keep organized. I believe this would be accomplished by its ability to display a trimester’s worth of assignments and projects, while allowing students to keep a running check list of items that have been submitted. This would reduce class time spent on tracking student’s progress and questions pertaining to the topics. The next item that really excites me about Moodle is its ability to allow students to view tutorial videos that I can create for the portions of course work involving hand drafting as well as video’s I can create while using the classes CAD software through the use of Camtasia’s excellent screen capture software. This would free up an unbelievable amount of time as it would allow me to develop a complete set of instructional videos for the beginning students. This would provide students who have either missed a day or students who did not fully understand the concept during my initial demonstration to revisit the concept at any given time. The third and final benefit that I can currently see that would help me to reach my goal of a more efficient classroom would be based upon Moodle ability to capture the students attention as it breaks from the tradition of paper and pencil typically found in most classrooms and allows the students to experience something unique an interesting. My hope is that this uniqueness will help the student to better retain the information as they will be more interested it a new experience. This seems to be the case with Justin Hyde, Winner of the CORE Foundation Professional Learning Award (Secondary) 2010 who states “But what stood out was in the mixed-ability Year 9 class. Over the year, they increased their participation and use of the tools in Moodle, so much so, that their exam results were amongst the highest in that year-level” (http://www.core-ed.org/lab/moodle-lms-and-teaching).

As far as the logistics for the implementation of this technology into my classroom it should be very non problematic as our district has already begun to implement this software in some of the other classrooms. My classroom is currently outfitted with 21 workstations and 3 laptops all with internet connectivity so there is no cost associated with purchasing new hardware. I plan on integrating this technology into all of my class periods for an indefinite amount of time or until such time as the service becomes obsolete.

My plan for implementing this technology throughout this course will involve the construction of a trimesters worth of lesson plan material and projects list. I will also supply several tutorial videos for beginning students. That will range from simple lettering and line type projects to introductory CAD projects. Once this portion has been completed during the time frame allotted by CEP812 time frame I plan on continuing to build lesson plans and tutorials for all of the state required segments so that my students have a greater opportunity of completing them so that they may articulate to the institutions we currently have agreements with.

I believe that success shall be measured by tracking the increase in speed at which the students complete their segments. This should be easily tracked and give me a very measurable and tangible account of the improved efficiency of my classroom environment.