Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Moodlemoot IE and UK - my summary!

Day 1

I had an excellent first day at the Moodlemoot in Dublin with loads of new ideas learnt and ready to apply, lots of tweets sent and read, and lots of networking!

The day started with Martin Dougiamas telling us about developments for the future. This is always a really good session to get the latest information hot off the press and some direction for the next releases! See my previous blog post for notes from this.

Following the keynote it was onto workshops where many moodle users (including myself) presented how they use Moodle, case studies or how to's. There are too many things shared during the day to write about here but I have recorded some of the most interesting things (from my point of view) below.

Davo Smith shared some plugins that he has created which sound really useful!

Real time quiz: A live quiz that can work a bit like voting pads but via moodle screens. The teacher sets up the quiz. Students in the class login to Moodle (via own device / PC / shared netbook or iPad per group?) and the teacher controls the quiz to work through one question at a time and work with the class to discuss the answers after answering. Within the quiz you can have questions and polls. I think it would be worth a try!!

Checklist: I really like this! It enables teachers to create a list of tasks to complete. These could just be a list OR could be activities or resources from within the course. It can go into the gradebook and we can also use it with activity completion. The teacher can view the checklist, tick things of take full control over it. My initial thought is that it could be used for assignments or NVQ criteria for students to record how they are getting on with some tasks. It could contain all the criteria for an NVQ unit. The students use it to say when they have achieved each element and put all the portfolio information into an assignment or Mahara (or within the specific task list activities). It could also be used for students to make sure they have covered all elements in the assignment. Could even use with restricted access. The students need to check the assignment against the checklist. When they say it is complete, the assignment upload area becomes available.

Drop and drop upload: WOW! Allows you to drag a file from the computer onto the course page and it uploads it! This is definitely something to try out! I think this was the plugin of the event!!

Davo also talked about the lesson objectives and upload PDF (which we already use at SDC). A quick tip from Davo is that use the keyboard keys N (next) & P (previous) to move though each page quickly. Also, uploading response files might be looked at within 2.3 as the way assignments and files will be stored will be different.

Another excellent session was with Michelle Moore (@michelledmoore) where she outlined a range of moodle resources and activities. There wasn't much new for me here but it was still really interesting. She also spoke on day 2 about the glossaries and workshops. The main things from the two days from Michelle that I want to use are auto-linking and the games plugin for the glossary.

We need to turn on autolinking! It will link resources and activities automatically (if you haven't already guessed!) You just need to type the exact name of a resource / activity for the course into a book / page or in any moodle resource or activity (eg: read the "course handbook") and it will create a link straight to it!

Within the glossary use the ratings and comments options. You can take entries from secondary glossaries and put them into the main course glossary.
There is also a games module plugin for use with the glossary which will enable games based on glossary entries (such as hangman, snakes and ladders).
Some new uses for the glossary includes video collections (students to add). We could also use the glossary for news / objectives (one entry put in per week). Set random glossary entry onto course page and set for 1 per week. Put glossary into an orphaned section. Learner projects - for group work.

Also, i need totake a look at the blogs again in M2 - can they be course based?

My final session of the day was on the Big blue button. This is an open source web conferencing solution for distance education that can be integrated as a moodle activity. It can be used as a virtual office (1-1), small group collaboration, remote teaching (1 to many (c.25) rather than hundreds).
In can be used to share slides, desktop sharing, chat, whiteboard, video and audio. When integrated with Moodle it uses the course roles to assign students as viewers and teachers as moderators. It can also be recorded and shared as a video.
You need a server (conferencing capacity would be based on the server capacity). Big Blue Button say it can be set up within 30 minutes. I am really keen to try it so I might have the beg Paul to give it a go. I tried to capture all the technical information for Paul but it was too much for me. Thankfully they have a very good website with all the information needed ( They also have a demo site which can be used as well. I need a real time virtual space for an LSIS project so I would like to try it out for this (if it is possible in the timeframes of the project).

There was a pecha kucha session at the end of the day which I didn't have the energy to attend but it is definitely a concept I want to try out in college. The idea is that presenters share a topic but are only allowed 20 slides which are set to automatically move on after 20 seconds (google it to find put more). This keeps the presentation focused. It could be used with staff for sharing good practice or students for assessed presentations showing how topics or concepts can be summarised. Definitely worth a try!

Day 2

It took a while to get started on day 2 following the gala dinner the night before. The day started with a panel about moving to Moodle 2 (of which I was one of the panel). A few questions asked but it was a much smaller group of people than the previous morning!
Following the panel, Helen Foster (@moodlehelen) told us about a range of Moodle sites from The one that teachers might be particularly interested in is the Mooch ( to find shared Moodle courses, activities or resources that could be downloaded and uploaded to our own site. We can also enrol into communities of practice. Worth a look!

The rest of the day was filled with more workshops.

I presented about conditional activities and this was followed by Pieter about how he is using this and groupings to create individual learning pathways. He referred to digital didactics to enable studying, working individually & together, and assessment. Some nice ways to engage learners but too much to explain here. There is presentation (I don't think you will be able to access this. I will update when I can get to a real computer

There were also sessions on the workshop and glossary activities which were useful and also a demonstration of the University of Sussex's page course format which looks very good. I don't think we can download this yet but there is a possibility that it could be part of 2.3.

I learnt loads more but these are the main things and the ones I will make sure I apply.
I now follow lots more moodlers to enable me to carry on learning and sharing ideas from others. I will also try and capture all the #mootieuk12 tweets to collate all the other useful content that was shared from other sessions. I also really need to go through the other presentations that I couldn't get to (I am not sure when though!).

It really has been a fantastic, if tiring, few days with lots I can apply straightaway. I was really chuffed to have both a retweet and tweet from @moodler (Mr Moodle himself). I have blogged, tweeted, competed in quizzes and presented. I wonder if that will be enough to win a prize from the event (fingers crossed for the iPad3)!

Thank you everyone from the moodlemoot for a great event and Gavin for organising it (@ghenrick). See you all at #mootuk13!!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

My notes on Mr Moodle's keynote!!

Martin firstly spoke about the Blackboard takeover of 2 Moodle partners
The staff in the 2 companies are very committed in Moodle.  There are two ways of looking at it.  We can see it from the point of view that Blackboard has taken some of the market OR that there are now moodle people within Blackboard.  We will wait to see what happens!  Moodle remains independent and does not rely on anything in blackboard's control.

Then he moved onto developments!!
There are 68000+ installations around the world.
Martin can see that there is a move from traditional teaching to open web.  There is still a need to be online spaces for school / work / college.  "There is no one tool that suits everyones's needs" but moodle tries to be a "Swiss army knife"!  Moodle started is a revolution but it is now in a evolution stage.
Martin believes that these need to be a flexible and customisable environment (rather than open / social web).  For what it's worth - I agree!  

For developments there is a focus on: 


Usability: Including solving user frustrations, some scroll of death solutions to hopefully be in place for 2.3 (course setting option: course sections on one page or one per page).  Every release from now on will have some focus on usability)

Integration. Some work on repositories for the future.  It will be possible to select a file to be chosen from a private repository (such as alfresco) and it will be linked to but not copied (live updating - yey).  It could also be possible to put a file in private files and put into 3 courses.  When you update in private files it will also update the other files!
Portfolios, especially Mahara integration, will continue development.
Open badges - enable certification (where validity can be checked) is something being looked at.

Book going into core in 2.3! 

Possibly the option to backup and restore user data from 1.9 to 2.x in 2.4 but it is a lot of work and would have to be the sole development. A quick poll in the room suggested this is needed by many.

Some good stuff to look forward to!!