What's an Educational MOO?
You all know that most students, if not all, are very good in the ins and outs of internet use. There are grade school and high school students who know internet applications that some teachers do not even know about. Sadly, some students are actually more interested in what they can do and get on the internet than what they usually experience in the regular classroom. As a teacher, you must really equip yourself to keep up with your students in terms of technology particularly about using the internet. And you must exert great efforts to tap into this field that they are very much interested in to get them interested again in formal education. If you want to really give your students a good way to learn, one of the things that you must learn to use is an educational MOO. What is an educational MOO?
The term itself has probably caused you to raise your eyebrows because you do not know what it is and how it can be used in teaching. Hold your horses teachers, because it is something you can effectively use in making some of your lessons interesting.
MOO stands for "Multi-user domain, Object-oriented". It is an online social community where you can interact with other users in a text-based virtual reality. You can meet new people, chat and discuss issues in a MOO. A MOO is built on a certain theme. An educational MOO, therefore, is MOO built on an educational theme.
Now that you have answered the question what is an educational MOO, your next question is probably how you can use it in the teaching and learning process. First, there is an internal email system that you can use to exchange messages. There is also a chat room where you can converse with your students wherever they may be in real-time. You can also create a virtual classroom where student-centered discussions can be done. Projects can also be discussed here. You can even have your students learn with students from other countries. Through this, your students, for example, can learn about certain lessons from a different perspective if they study alongside students in Asia or Africa. They can see similarities and differences about a certain issue as affected by ones culture.
But before you introduce MOO into your class, you must be familiar with it first. You must have the necessary know-how to successfully use it in class. You should also learn to troubleshoot because students will run to you for answers should they encounter technical problems. Aside from the technical knowledge, you must also learn the social dynamics of MOO. You need to learn MOO Netiquette because you are expected to teach them to your students. Then find a MOO that is appropriate to the level of your students.
Once you have done all those things, you can already present it to your students. Make sure that you carefully plot your schedule. Include in the schedule enough time for training sessions before actually starting on a project to avoid frustrations on their end. Make clear to them your expectations.
As you start using MOO, be prepared for some difficulties that you may encounter. One of these is the possible loss of control on what the students will do in the virtual classroom you have created. Since they can do a lot of extra things inside this classroom, they may go beyond their usual behavior in class. To remedy this, make sure to be very specific with the tasks that they are expected to do. Since they can meet people from other places, they could also show different emotional reactions. Be sure to schedule regular classroom discussions to have proper check and balance. Lastly, some students may eventually teach you other things that you can do inside MOO. Expect this because students can be really good using technology. Approach this with an open mind at all times.
If somebody asks you the question what is an educational MOO, you can now confidently say that it is a teaching strategy that you can effectively use to get your students more interested in learning. You can suggest it to them too.