Moodle, Moodle, Moodle. It is just fun to say. Try it.
What we are talking about, of course, is Moodle, a free Course Management System (CMS). What is a CMS you say? Well, they are a place to help organize your classes online. You can upload, store, and link materials. You can give online quizzes and tests. Have a discussion board for class members to discuss ideas and assignments. You can post grades if your school doesn't already have an electronic grade book. This is the first in a four part series on different CMS products. First up is Moodle. Here is a quick video on Moodle and some of the features:
Here is my history with Moodle. I started using it last year in my Programming class. I already had a Website, but was looking for a way to give some online tests and quizzes. Our intermediate school district hosts Moodle for member school districts, so I signed up for a user account and created my classes. Moodle was easy to use and my students were able to sign in without a problem. The test feature is very good. I can give practice tests, tests, and retests. My daughter's chemistry teacher also uses Moodle for his classes and has it set up so students must complete a reteaching loop before taking a retest. Pretty nice. My one complaint with Moodle (and it is a small one) is that is is not very nice looking. The interface is pretty utilitarian. But, what does one want for free? Here is another video that I though was good. A take-off on Lee Lefever's videos.
I think that having your classroom materials will be standard in the next few years. I have had mine up for a several years now, but I teach computers. More and more schools are moving to one to one computing with students having laptops or tablets. It is the way education is moving. If you are thinking about using Moodle, here are some helpful links. More videos can be found here. If you are interested in moving your class online or simply looking for a convenient storage place that offers some organization, you may want to look into Moodle