Background in 7-12 as a teacher, technology coordinator, and administrator.
M.Ed. in Ed. Leadership and Educational Technology
Currently manage the Information Systems Technology Training Team (ISTT) for Information Technology Services at Northern Arizona University.
Current interests include blended learning, workforce improvement/staff development, developing learning objects, and applying principles of cognitive psychology to computer-based instruction. http://inform.nu/Articles/Vol8/v8p263-279Sorden34.pdf
If you have the budget to hire a professional technical staff with expertise in educational technology, Open Source can save a school or district a lot of money – but significant costs will be incurred in human capital.
The money you save by not paying licensing fees can be used to increase staff and teacher salaries, and ultimately, increase technology options to your students.
Open Source is catching on in higher education. This means that K-12 can increasingly benefit from educational applications that trickle down.
Moodle is a “free” learning management system that enables you to create powerful, flexible, and engaging online learning experiences. - William Rice
It is a tool that can enhance your teaching – both online and as a supplement to the traditional classroom.
Moodle might be thought of as the open source competitor to Blackboard/WebCT.
It was created by Martin Dougiamas, an Australian doctoral student. Today Martin continues to direct the project, but it is supported and used by a large community of developers, educators, and organizations.
If you are considering an open source learning management system, you should also be aware of the Sakai Project - http://www.sakaiproject.org
Sakai is an online Collaboration and Learning Environment. Many users of Sakai deploy it to support teaching and learning, ad hoc group collaboration, support for portfolios and research collaboration.
Sakai seems to be oriented more toward higher education and appears to require more technical expertise to run than Moodle, but it is an option.
It is designed for the LAMP (Linux, Apache MySQL, PHP) environment, which is a common platform found in many school districts and hosting companies.
It is easy to learn to use and does not take a high level of technical experience to set up and administer. However administrators should have a good understanding of Web servers and Web pages if they are going to run it on their own server.
It is based on the PHP scripting (programming) language, which is relatively easy to learn and makes it easier to modify Moodle and understand how it works.
Download the latest version of Moodle from http://download.moodle.org
You'll need to set up a server running Apache, MySQL, and PHP. This can be done on a computer running Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.
Ubuntu Linux Server version can install a complete LAMP server in less than 20 minutes. Then install Moodle using apt-get or aptitude. “sudo apt-get install moodle”
Probably the easiest way to get started on your own computer is to download and install the Complete Install Packages (Moodle+Apache+MySQL+PHP) found at the bottom of the Moodle download page - http://download.moodle.org . There are versions for both Mac OS X and Windows.