MoodleCloud is a free version of Moodle (an online learning platform). It is designed for educators and targeted “towards small users of Moodle: very small schools or companies, or lone teachers with a few classes..”(Read more here). In other words, MoodleCloud is a perfect fit for music studios, like Poco Piano Studio!
MoodleCloud is a highly customisable system. You can create courses structured around anything you want for your students. You can create assignments, quizzes, upload and link students on to great resources among other things. After much fiddling around I discovered the best way to use MoodleCloud for my studio, here is a quick peek!
Poco Piano Studio & MoodleCloud:
I wanted to create courses that would be relevant for most of my students. Courses centred around the AMEB series seemed like a no brainer as many of my students are currently working through these. Most of my students also have a copy of Elena Cobb’s ‘Higgledy Piggledy Jazz’. As this is a resource I plan to continue using with students in the years to come it also seemed like a no brainer to create a course around. The idea is that when a student starts a new music book (whether it is an AMEB grade book or not) they are enrolled in the corresponding MoodleCloud course. Of course you may not be able to build courses around all of the books you use in your studio, a good place to start is picking out the most popular ones.
A students homepage will look a little something like this. It will contain a list of courses that they are enrolled in. The student simply clicks on the course and it takes them to that courses page and content.
Each course contains a variety of resources and activities for the students to complete as learn each piece. I try to select/create between 5-10 items as I want the courses to be flexible and not hugely time consuming, so as not to take the student away from the keyboard for too long.
Firstly students are linked to a recording of the piece (in this case, Elena Cobb’s YouTube channel). There are also links to video lessons I have created for the students and even links to video lessons from the composer herself! I try keep each of my video lessons a max of 5 minutes long. I made them using educreations or making a video to upload to the studio’s YouTube channel. While the videos are time consuming to make, once they are done they are done for every student! This is one of the things I love most about MoodleCloud. The time commitment can be primarily one off (although you can structure this however you want). The quizzes even grade themselves automatically! The only thing you need to worry about once the courses are set up is enrolling students. I like to include the occasional assignment, you can see one in the picture above (Composition: 12 bar blues). Students are able to upload a variety of files for submission (audio recording of their playing, pdf score, picture of a score ect.) or simply play their compositions for me in the lessons. I’ve also added a variety of pdf worksheets students can complete. I had a lot of fun creating a ‘drag and drop’ quiz where students get to practice building chords!
I could go on and on about the benefits of using MoodleCloud for mixed mode learning and students musical development and showing you how I’ve decided to use it. But you really just have to try it out and see for yourself. Mind you the use of this platform isn’t limited to piano lessons and definately would be appropriate to use in other studio settings! Please let me know if/how you’re using MoodleCloud, I for one am extremely excited about this!