Technology (for Cows)

Posted: September 8, 2008 in Moodle, technology, Theory
Tags: , ,

 I recently had the distinct pleasure of touring a brand new major dairy barn that is being built in the family. Since everything is new, they are switching over to RFID tags for the cattle. It all begins as they put a little round piece of plastic in the cow’s ear. From that point, the cow is a pawn in a fantastic tracking system.

As they enter the milk parlor, they walk to their place and the RFID chip is recognized.


The cow’s information comes up in the technology. The farmer can choose to milk/no milk along with other things.

As the cow is milked, the technology monitors the flow and amount of milk. This information is tied to the cow via the number on the RFID chip. Once the cow is done being milked, it’s time for the exit strategy.

As the cow leaves the parlor, she walks down the ramp and can be automatically separated by an electronic gate. The farmer (herd manager at this point, in my mind) sets up that certain cows need their hooves clipped or vaccines and enters those RFID numbers into the system. As that cow leaves, she gets separated via electronics into the area where she can be helped.

SOOO… What is the application? (AKA Why are you reading this?)

With the legitimate movement toward more and more formative assessment, we are empowered with information.  Through our empowerment, students are able to achieve at higher levels and it makes other things, like differentiation (for even more success), easier.

Technology can make our job easier, just as it does the herd manager. Maintaining and managing information about student ability through technology becomes easier and easier. The ability to aggregate and disaggregate this data can be almost fluid (after, of course, you learn how).

The technology I’m excited about for all of this, and plan on working with even more this year, is Moodle. Moodle has the ability to set up groups in your classes (separated and maintained by anything you think is meaningful) that can be visible or invisible to your students. You can then customize any assignment to certain groups.  You type in their number (add them to a group) and they can be separated for the help they need… online… (almost) effortlessly… seamlessly… and invisibly. Invisibility and seamlessness: the keys to meaningful technology.

  1. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

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