The glossary activity is quite an interesting activity within Moodle. It is one of these activities that was designed for one specific purpose but turns out to be very applicable to many others with a bit of tweaking. Especially when combined with the Random Glossary Entry Block. Let’s have a look at some of these.
We’re going to consider two similar ways we can use the glossary in conjunction with the Random entry block to get the students involved and interested. The students will generate the material and largely be responsible for it’s direction. The first is to use the glossary for revision notes and the second is to use it for interesting points.
The basic premise is that students will create entries with pieces of information that are relevant for revision. Allow discussions of these by the students and allow ratings but only by teachers (this is for the purpose of the teacher indicating which ones are more important for students than others). Depending on how much material there is to cover, set a limit on the minimum entries that students must create. All entries must be in their own words (apart from quotes, formulas etc) and duplicates are allowed but must be written in a different enough way. If the students have to write it in their own words they have to understand it better. If duplicates are allowed and must be different then students will see the same pieces of information in several different ways and this will help enforce it in their memory.
People learn and retain information best when they are interested in the subject. So if we can increase the students interest in the subject, we can increase their potential to learn. So let’s get the students to go out and find interesting aspects of the subject and then share them with the others. The idea is that each student must find an interesting aspect of the suject (a fact, theory or such) and enter it as an entry. This allows them the freedom to explore but also fuel each others exploration. As they get to see the points of interest that others have found it provides the opportunity to stimulate further exploration in ways they may not have found otherwise. All this extra reading and interest will help to reinforce the main content.
Both of these activities benefit greatly from the use of the Random Entry block which allows students to see these useful pieces of information as they are going about doing their normal work. The benefits are indirect and serve to support your normal activities.