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New Zealand early adopter of Moodle

13 February 2005

New Zealand early adopter of Moodle

“New Zealand has taken the lead internationally in adopting Moodle software”, said Dr Reynold Macpherson, CEO of Waiariki.

“The February 3 and 4 conference at Waiariki was the largest ever to date with over 170 participants, with many more participating through the net”, he said. “Spending on site licenses is apparently switching into support for elearning design”.

Moodle is a learning management software replacing local and propriety software because it is free, uses open source code, employs constructivist pedagogies and can help boost access by remote communities.

The conference organisers, Gary Benner at Waiariki and Dr Stanley Frielick at Northland Polytechnic, report that people attended from all New Zealand universities, polytechnics and wananga, as well as representatives from many PTEs and government departments, such as the defence forces. The conference focussed on practical problem solving in system management and flexible delivery design.

“This conference showed early adopters that it is crucial to get a sponsor, surround yourself with professionals, get buy-in from teachers and IT, plan the implementation, employ elearning facilitators, use a reliable platform, encourage collaboration, encourage feedback and use games to make learning fun,“ Gary Benner said.

“New Zealanders lived up to their reputation of being early adoptors”, said Dr Frielick. “The edge cutters in Maori elearning, the national trials underway, the innovations in mixed mode delivery in institutions, the creation of international learning communities and the rapid growth of applied pedagogical research projects were amazing”.

The founder and lead developer of Moodle, Martin Dougiamas, was stunned by the enthusiasm and encouraged everyone to keep chipping in with bright ideas. “Moodle is like Linux” he said. “The developments at Waiariki, Northland, the Open Poly and many other institutions, along with the OSCINZ project, will be appreciated by other Moodlers around the world. It really puts New Zealanders up there at the forefront of international developments, as Chris Ainsworth from Adelaide will confirm.”

The location of the next conference is yet to be decided. Wherever held, it will have to be larger to cope and more interactive to address the interests of three distinct groups; the ‘nerds’, the ‘chalkies’ and the ‘critical scholars’. Ideas are welcomed by Gary Benner.

ENDS


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