Sunday, April 26, 2009

The amazing Eva Zeisel (TED Talks)

Watch as the amazing Eva Zeisel  ( now 102! )casts a spell over her audience as she describes her career as a ceramic designer (who likes curvy shapes see below her Schramberg tea set) starting in 1920's to the present. Eva plays with her audience in a truly amazing display. I just love the way she asks for some additional time in order to conclude her talk - watch and enjoy.

                                                       Eva Zeisel's Schramberg tea set

Friday, April 17, 2009

Check on your flock!

At you can input your twitter name and what you get back is a tag cloud which shows what your personal learning network have put in their Twitter Bio's. It is certainly a good way to check on the focus of your learning community.

If you want to vainly check out how you are getting on as a Twitterer don't forget to use Twittergrader which will give you a ranking out of 100 linked to followers and tweets.
And if you are really paranoid why not try Twitterholic just to see where you are in your own small pond :-)
The real reason for this quick dash around twitter is that one of our new Web2.0 participants is trying to insert a twitter feed directly into a wikispaces wiki..... without much luck! Is there anyone out there who can help..... maybe using a different wiki site?

Monday, April 13, 2009

VLE's in Education (Ofsted January 2009)

Following a tweet from Miles Berry (@mberry) on his post Ofsted and Open Source on the Open Source Schools website I was drawn to read further ( as should you dear reader!) in Miles' article which was a response to the recent (30th March) Oftsed report on ICT in Education - I would agree in large that looking at ICT in education to date it has followed the self fulfilling prophecy - if the curriculum is limited in scope what you will get out will be of limited in use, over emphasis on 'commercial software' ( I think that we all know who they are?) - I know that I certainly felt hemmed in in UK KeyStage 2 by the strictures of the UK national curriculum! We all sincerely hope that this is about to change and that creativity will be allowed to flourish and that this work will become the norm rather than the exception.

For me though the more interesting aspect of Miles' article was when he referenced an earlier Ofsted report Virtual learning environments: an evaluation of their development in a sample of educational settings (January 2009). This earlier report although it reports on a small research project it really does make for very disappointing reading showing the hugely disjointed and uneven usage of Virtual learning environments in UK education from Primary through to Tertiary colleges from 2005 to 2008 following the earlier Ofsted 'Harnessing Technology - transforming learning and children's services Dfes 2005
Following the success of the MoodleMootUK last week in Loughborough I would hope that we will soon be seeing more joined up thinking on VLE's - I know that this is a field which certainly interests me - find my Diigo links based around this VLE discussion below.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Diigo Tags - sources on Moodle, SLOODLE and OLPC

Following my recent Moodle post this autogenerated Diigo bookmarks list gives some of the main sources and areas of research into Moodle, VLE's and the OLPC..... there will be a future Diigo bookmark list purely on my further research into VLE's in general. The next edition was prompted by @mberry ( Miles Berry's post on the use of ICT in schools) in a blog post which is will be included in the list

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Moot points

For others like me reflecting on MoodleMootUK2009 (#mmuk09 tag for photos and tweets) could I remind them to visit the MoodleMoot home and complete the feedback survey.

The Moot at Loughborough University was the first for UK Moodle conference for my colleagues and I from the IB ( ), we run two major Moodle installations, one for the online training of our Diploma Programme examiners and the other for online CPD of IB teachers globally, as a result we were very keen to get insights into how the soon( by Christmas?) to be released Moodle 2.0 will look on release, and how this will impact and assist our operations.
It was interesting to hear from Martin Dougiamas about the reasons for some of the clunky operation of previous iterations of Moodle ( more like Muddle with different developers slotting in elements which were either slightly incomplete and often did not get tested interacting with others!)
However we now start with a clean state with Moodle 2.0 - a joined up roadmap of development will give you a 'real time' glimpse of how 2.0 is coming along as it approaches release.
** one note of caution - if you are using an installation pre 1.9 you will not be able to directly upgrade to 2.0 you will need to upgrade toward 1.9 first.**
There are some important improvements which will improve Moodle for its users :
1. File Handling
a)Repository - Moodle will be able to more easily bring in files from your computer and also multimedia files from other sources ( flickr, youtube, google docs) into your courses, much more like you would do now for example uploading into Blogger. This will be very useful in enabling our workshop leaders to be able to source their own material. There may be issues of the ownership of the imported material - however more open sources may be available once 2.0 goes live.
b) Portfolio - The introduction of the ability to export personal material from Moodle to an external space. This could be Google Docs or a host such as Mahara the new open source portfolio solution

which has been in discussion with Moodle over its seamless plugin to come in 2.0. This will enable our participant teachers to move their workshop record for their own CPD and will give us impetus to encouraging teachers to keep their own e-portfolios.

2. Course organisation
a) Navigational improvements ( which will hopefully mean that we can customise Moodle to look less like it has been developed by geeks!!)
b) Conditionality - Martin is less happy with this as it is restrictive, however the option of having elements conditional on others being viewed or attempted is very useful. In our situation we have the need to ensure that teachers are exposed to the learning that they have paid for, secondly though we firmly believe that engagement with the whole online learning process is a huge part of the online learning experience - if we are able to make some fairly simple activities 'must do' in order to proceed this will certainly help us.
c) Completion - the ability for participants to mark an activity as 'completed' is a good one agin from our viewpoint, teachers often ask us if there is any way of proving that they have completed an activity ( add b,c and d will be powerful for our adult learners).
d)Progress tracking - speaks for itself and will form a powerful suite of tools for Moodle administrators ( however care will be needed for admins not to go overboard with lockdowns)

Other improvements to the wiki and blog ( either make it a true blog which is difficult in an enclosed space!!! or re-name it as a reflection tool) will answer many issues that have caused Moodle to appear difficult to use.... roll on Moodle 2.0 ( Christmas 2009 ????)

Much of this information was delivered by Martin and fleshed out by Julian Ridden in his additional sessions ( many thanks to Julian on overcoming the 'buggy 2.0 for showing these). You can play with some elements of Moodle 2.0 at the Moodle Playpen do go and have a go at the new elements....... yes it is ALPHA so beware.

* Listening to Martin Langhoff and his work with OLPCs School Server Moodle sounds really interesting as they look at making Moodle less text reliant and to become a tool which Primary (K12) schools and pupils may be able to use he is currently looking for partners to test these and provide good bug reports, if you want to be involved go to email Martin directly at

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Daniel Livingstone on SLOODLE

(meeting up in SL during Daniel's presentation)

Daniel giving us an exposition on education in Second Life and how aspects can be directly used in Moodle.
SLOODLE0.4 released with new functionality, SLOODLE is being used widely by educational groups around the world on both full SL but also on OpenSim ( open source grids) OS Grid and ReactionGrid.
It was great to meet Daniel in SL and RL


'Version 0.4 integrates Second Life 3D classrooms with Moodle, the world’s most popular open source e-learning system with over 30 million users ( This latest release allows teachers and students to prepare materials in an easy-to-use, web-based environment and then log into Second Life to put on lectures and student presentations using their avatars.

The new tools also let students send images from inside Second Life directly to their classroom blog. Students are finding this very useful during scavenger hunt exercises where teachers send them to find interesting content and bring it back to report to their classmates.

Tools that cross the web/3D divide are becoming more popular as institutions want to focus on the learning content rather than the technical overhead involved in orienting students into 3D settings and avatars.'

You can install the SLOODLE module onto your Moodle server from here

Martín Langhoff's key note at MoodleMootUk

From Ddraig Goch Blog - The Musings of a Welsh Dragon!

Martin gave an excellent exposition on some of the thinking behind the OLPC. He gave those present an insight into how he has been attempting to simplify systems to run on the OLPC, the main one was how Moodle needs to become more user friendly for 6 and 7 years olds.Martin is actively looking for schools and teachers in the K12 (Primary) sector to let him know if they are using Moodle with primary aged kids.If you are or would like to bug test OLPC contact -

A dear friend

It seems very apt to be writing this blog post in tribute to a dear, dear friend. The world has lost a true global educational  IT innovator...