Learning Management Systems
Moodle Releases K-12 Edition of LMS
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Moodle has introduced new fee-based packaging versions of its cloud-based learning management system intended specifically for K-12 schools. Moodle for School comes in three plans, with basic variations on the number of users licensed to access the cloud service and the amount of file upload space.
Moodle is an open source learning platform with functionality that can be developed with "plug-ins." These are used like blocks that work together to create a custom version of the application. For example, a school might use a plug-in that allows students to perform peer assessment or add specific plug-ins for various types of reporting. Although the "core" of Moodle is managed by Moodle HQ, based in Australia, community members from around the world contribute to its ecosystem. Funding is provided by a network of certified Moodle partners that provide consulting, installation and related services.
The new school packages are available alongside the organization's "Moodle for Free" cloud offering, which was announced last July. That free edition works for classes with up to 50 users and provides for a maximum of 200 megabytes of file uploads. The newest formats come in three flavors: "Tiny," "Small" and "Medium." User counts are 100, 200 and 500, respectively. File upload limitations are 200 megabytes, 400 megabytes and one gigabyte. Annual pricing runs from about $180 to about $722.
All four versions of the cloud edition of Moodle include software that's always kept up to date (currently, version 3.1), offers a personalized site name, includes video and screen-sharing and is mobile enabled. The paid versions include additional modules for a school environment:
- Attendance, for enabling a teacher to track and provide a grade for student attendance;
- BigBlueButton, which allows up to six users to do online collaboration with video, audio, whiteboards and desktop sharing;
- Checklist, which lets the teacher create a to-do list for students to use. Students can also add their own tasks and due dates;
- Chemistry editor, to provide a periodic table of the elements, as well as science symbols;
- Group choice, to allow students to enroll in groups within a course;
- Level Up!, to add gamification features, such as scoring, to class activities;
- Quizventure, a game that takes quiz questions from a course and turns them into space ships for students to shoot; and
- Word count, which displays the word count for documents to help students monitor progress and stay within limits.
It also offers a new, configurable theme that allows the school to set colors, styles and logo.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.