I am going to make an experiment. I do not have Moodle and do not feel like going into the trouble of installing and learning how to operate one now, first because I do not like it and second because it would take a whole semester for me to train my stds to use it. I took the decision to use WordPress as a personal learning space where my students will include their own personal posts and also the work developed in class. I am also planning to use Flickr, social sites, podcasts and videocasts and bring them all together using an aggregator.
On the post pages of WordPress, we will have the personal sharing items, which will then appear in the Orchard whereas on the WordPress static pages, we will have more structured homework pieces, like presenting an article or an item done in class in a more controlled way. These will be also published on the web so that students not only keep a record of their work but also practise to sum up a piece of reading by connecting it to other related Web content, embed links to extend the meaning, find photos to illustrate it, produce little videos… We will try to make these page posts as open to comments as possible as well but they will not clutter the Orchard with repetitive class content.
On the blog pages of my own class blog, I will try to model while on the static pages I will list the classes that are participating in the Exchange , post the instructions given in class for them to accomplish this work and their own class work. The idea again is to keep a record of the progression and to make ther colleagues aware of what is happening in the backstage. It is also a way to check how much of this is being incorporated to the students' personal posts in the blogs.
My students are not at university level yet. They are from 13-17, are still learning the language and their parents have paid their bus fare to arrive at an expected destination (the baccalaureat) at a certain time. They can get there as well by riding their own bikes, but inside the system we are today, many fear this may take much longer and will need a discipline and involvement they are not prepared to engage in.
I will try combine both the bus ride and stops for some exercise. Hopefully, I can convey the idea that riding a bike is not only enjoyable and safe but will keep them fit and give them insights that would not be revealed if driven all the time. The new perspectives can be shared and further explored by contact with other people they will meet along the way.