HOW CAN MOODLE HELP STRUGGLING STUDENTS?
University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:Students who do not perform well at school are often referred to as struggling students. They struggle because of one or more disadvantages, such as lack of motivation, learning difficulties, problems of all sort at home, not knowing the language of instruction, and many others. How can we deal with this kind of students? Traditionally, they have been given remedial instruction in small pullout groups, but this strategy is offering very poor results. In contrast, we are convinced that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can play an important role in helping struggling students. Beyond the obvious importance of receiving personal and affective attention from teachers, it is also vital to provide struggling students with an opportunity to learn how to use a computer and ensure they are not left behind in the digital race. In our opinion, interactive tasks (integrated in a Learning Management System LMS such as Moodle) can be a successful solution to many of the problems raised by struggling students for a number of reasons. First, these tasks are less boring, more engaging, more motivating, and often more demanding than traditional tasks. Second, besides conveying some factual information, they are also useful in teaching techniques with a great value beyond school walls. Next, interactive tasks within an LMS can be done outside the limited framework of school time because they are open and ready to be used 24/365 days a year, thus multiplying the opportunities for learning. Finally, these tasks can be designed to suit the singular needs of each child or group of children, which make them more effective and precise than general tasks.
We review some of the main advantages of Learning Management Systems, and give an account of a project being carried out at the moment. An LMS was established in a secondary school with a high proportion of struggling students. Throughout this year 37 students have so far been engaged in different experimental tasks offered to them, some of which they loved and some they simply didn’t care about. We comment on their opinions and also on their teachers´ opinions. Although the project is still being developed, their feedback leads us to believe that we are along the right path: teachers feel that the long hours devoted to establishing the learning platform are really paying off; and thus they find themselves rewarded by the warm response obtained from the students, while the latter are happy with a new model of teaching which gives them a leading role.
Keywords: technology in education, blended learning.