Recently, we talked about how Moodle brings great benefits to not just students, but teachers too. Implementing a VLE can bring massive advantages for both teacher and learner – but used to its full capacity, your learning platform can bring the wider school community together in one place too.
In a slightly sad, but ultimately fascinating and exciting way, Moodle makes a lot of traditional ways of bringing a school community together redundant.
Take, for example, the school newsletter. If your school has one of these, maybe it’s printed and posted to common rooms, displayed on notice boards or even e-mailed to students. With Moodle – it can all be in one place, that anyone can access from anywhere, at any time.
To give you an idea of how Moodle can transform a school, and bring everyone within the school community together like never before, we’ve looked at a number of areas of the wider school community – and how they can benefit from your VLE.
Parents of students
Years ago, to keep on top of what their son or daughter was doing at school, most parents had to either coax their child into telling them – or raid their homework diary while they were out with friends. Having any amount of distance between the parent and the student’s work ultimately made the parent feel less involved with the school and their child’s success.
Moodle strips away those barriers and that distance, and allows parents to see, in one place, everything that’s happening in the school – from their child’s work to forthcoming events.
Parents can see their child’s work, the homework they’ve been set, grades achieved and attendance and behaviour reports – all with a few clicks of the mouse (or a few taps of their touchscreen via the mobile app).
Being able to access their child’s work and learning content means they can better assist them with their homework. The parent then plays a more constructive role in their child’s education.
School governors and senior leadership team
One of Moodle’s real strengths as a tool within school is its ability to store large amounts of information – yet make it available to those people who need them, anytime, anywhere.
A school’s Moodle can be used as a portal for documents containing school governors’ minutes, agendas and other information for their meetings.
Real-time editing with collaborative documents also means that governors and the senior leadership team can create policy documents, budget plans and school strategies together. Governors and the leadership team can work more efficiently, creating documents and receiving approval from other members of the team faster.
Then, the leadership team can share information directly with parents.
The VLE can be used as a communication tool for governors and the leadership team, too. And with the right level of access, they can see everything from top-line information regarding the school’s grade and attendance levels, to individual pupils’ achievements and discussions.
School support staff
The support staff within any school community play a vital role; Moodle allows them to perform that role better.
With Moodle accessible anytime, anywhere by any of its users, the support team can reach out to the students better – being there to help not just during school time. They can also react to students’ needs quicker, rather than the student receiving a response a day later at school, if not longer.
Moodle benefits members of the school community, like the support staff, allowing them to break down barriers, and create an online area where students feel they can learn and at the same time have the support they need.
Moodle can also be used to store records of each student, making it a useful administrative tool.
Other local schools
It’s not unknown for partnership schools to connect via their Moodles, or even share a VLE.
Moodle allows cross-school communication to blossom; for the teachers and leadership teams, this can be sharing ideas and plans that benefit the pupils and other members of the school community. Additionally, Moodle can then become a portal for sharing resources between schools, creating a central repository for both schools to access.
For students, this can be building social skills and understanding how another school works.
Cross-school projects for students, where collaborative documents are worked on by students via their Moodle system, is a great way to build confidence, share ideas and meet new people.
Giving local primary schools access to the Moodle VLE is useful too. For a start, Year 6 children can be given their own log-in prior to starting at secondary school – meaning they can become familiar with their new school, communicate with their new classmates and even prepare for their first lessons before the September term has even started.
Using Moodle as a tool for bringing together the wider school community doesn’t stop there. Because Moodle is a bespoke VLE, and each school can have a Moodle system that fits their exact needs, how much the wider community is involved is completely up to them.
Local businesses, for example, may be able to play a more active role in their local school’s life by being part of the VLE community. Many schools now look to local businesses for support and funding. Moodle can be an integral part of this relationship, either as just a communication tool or by helping local businesses to have a deeper involvement in school life.
With Moodle, there really is no limit to who becomes part of the wider school community. The further it reaches, the more potential there is for school life to be a rich, varied and fulfilling one – not just for the students and the teachers, but for parents, governors, businesses and more.