One of my summer goals was to become fluent in GAFE, which, as I learned, is pronounced with a long “a” sound. (Thus it is less of a gaffe…) I stumbled onto some board training and managed to get one of the last spots in an all day GAFE workshop. GAFE information is also freely available online; I started going through “GAFE” courses earlier in the summer, but got sidetracked. My plan is still to become Level 1 GAFE certified before school starts.
One of my first challenges occurred when I set up my Google Classroom site; I needed my IT support to enable some features for me. The site is easy enough to figure out; however, but it took some playing around before I could figure out how to add adult ESL learners.
GAFE vs ONENOTE vs MOODLE vs EDMODO
So my guiding question was – will accessing Google Apps effectively be able to replace my Moodle site? Moodle offers everything in one place, but students don’t have access once the course has finished. Also, I know my Moodle site well; I’m comfortable with the design and layout, but the students often complain about getting lost in the site. With Google Apps, the learners keep all of their tasks, sites, etc. All files/folders can be shared with the instructor, and copied for records. And is this fundamentally better than, say, Edmodo?
Now, as you know, I tried using OneNote with my learners last year. Personally, I love my OneNote, but it was problematic for the students. I still plan to use OneNote but won’t lead my students down that path again this year, even though it brilliantly displayed e-portfolios.
Google Sites can be set up in much the same manner; I’ve been playing with the creation of a skeleton file for the past few weeks. I’ve finally got a good Google Sites outline complete, and have uploaded the template so the learners can download it. I had a brief look at Svetlana Lupasco’s Google site template a few months ago, and also came across Bonnie Jean Nicholas’ PBLA template in the world-wide gallery.
I added a Needs Assessment Google form, embedded the Language Companion and added two Calendar pages (one for Class news, one for Student). So far, I’m happy with how it looks.
So, because my Google Classroom site will suit my, and my learners’ needs, I doubt I will open up an Edmodo LMS; that would be more tech than necessary. After all, it’s not about the tech, right? It’s what the students can do with it, how the tech can help drive their learning forward.
Thus, for the first time in about 5 years, I’m stepping outside of my Moodle comfort zone, and into the GAFE.