Amy Perrey's Blog

Moodle Day 1
May 3, 2011, 4:53 pm
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Moodlemoot – 2011 – May 2nd – Edmonton

Soft is Hard, Hard is Easy: Getting the Right Balance – Jon Dron, Terry Anderson,  – 9am – 12


Finding the best teaching tool for Web 2.0 and using Moodle. A discussion on what is the best options of being online. Looking at pedagogies that we have and how we use them.

What is a pedagogy using Moodle? – Teaching online is different than teaching in the classroom, you have to think outside the box. Text on a screen doesn’t necessarily translate well. You have to use the tools that you are given.  Moodle is a suitcase for content, feedback. Looking at assessment – more project based assignments, need really good questions for forums (how to craft a good question). Needs to be interactive, not just using forums but more online interactive activities. Need to keep students engaged through a distance, being organized is very important, students can use chats discussions.  Participation is keep for online learning.

What is a technology?

  • Orchestration of phenomena to our use
  • A combination of artifacts and what you do with them
  • When you look at a stick, what can it be used for? There are many uses for an ordinary stick. Technology is an action potential tool, there are certain things you can do with it, but it is the actions you use with the tool that allow students to learn. What you want to do with and how you approach this is important. Open Courses…at each stage we learn something different,
  • Pedagogies are technologies – a field involved in the facilitation of human learning through the systematic identification, development, organization, and utilization of learning resources and through the management of these process” (AECT, 1972)
  • If the tool changes then the teaching should change- the use of the tool can change it into what it is.
  • Social Determinism – the way you use the tools it is the way everyone should use it, the use is conditioned by visibility.
  • Technological Determinism – a negative way – which the tools turn you into what it is and how you teach. That online learning can be evil, trying to get rid of teachers.


William Rosen – technology Assemblies – thousands of innovations that have come together. (Great article by William)

Pedagogy First? Or does technology drive the pedagogy? Moodle 2.0 might not look like others, it is how you set it up and explore and use the tools. If you have a system, (Moodle), you have to think about how you are going to use the tools, you have to learn the whole technology system before you can start building. This can be challenge. This can be hard or soft depending how your administration system has set up the Moodle System. When using one system you can see how the Moodle Effect worked with teachers, everyone is using the same technologies. The system of Moodle can be soft and easy, a hard system is when you have to think like the designers, but an easy system is when you can think for yourself and the system works for you (example Google).

Implementation of Moodle can be hard when working with IT department because they want a plan but Moodle system doesn’t work like that, it is designed to work for you and be set up for individual use. Adding tools, Moodle installation plug ins. Teachers need to pick the tools they want to use.  IT can dictated what Moodle has to be set up, but the teachers need to be the designers. Some teachers have the entire plug ins, learn them and see if they will work for the learners. Have to take what is available and see if it works, this will help the teachers. If there is a request for Archentilia or other plug in then who is in charge of supporting plug ins? Have to have a system set up with your IT department for support and to make sure teachers have access to the plug in with support.  You have to be clear with what you want and who is the best person to make the decision of what is best for the learners?

A soft system globalizes the teaching and can change the OS. An IPad can be a hard system because it is what it is and you can’t go in and change the OS system. IPad can be a soft tool because the options have been made for you, you will use these APPS and everything is set up and done for you.

Pedagogical Patterns – Instructvist, Constructivist, Connectivist, Holist  – Looking at the generations of distance education. Bring connections to student’s skills by a connectivist approach.

Types of Moodle – Easy and Hard – this is an overlay/interface for Moodle called ELGG Landing?

ELGG – install – Open Source from Scotland – this is the most popular of the facebook look.  Similar to WordPress has a good Educational background. This would only be for staff and alumni for Athabasca University – they did this to get rid of spam and a special safe place for students and staff. It is harder to get critical mass.

  • They give media – they have a blog posts that interface with twitter, get the same 140 characters, standard reply – it is an internal twitter you are only talking to staff and students from your division.
  • The blog post – standard blogging – you can follow people – just like facebook, but you don’t collect friends (more like twitters, change the plugs in to followers and following instead of friends)
  • The control of permission is very soft – you can edit your profile easy. Customize so you know what courses others students are in to discuss assignments or if they have taken the course to discuss assignments
  • Students and teachers and decided who sees your posts and blogs
  • At the end of semester the blogs and posts are taken off by the administration
  • Blog – draft (private), public to the world, different groups that can be made through course administrator. You can upload videos, you can comment on other teachers information, learn what other teachers are doing in the classroom,
  • Anybody can create a group – comments can be private or public
  • Activity – you can see who posts or blogs, can see who has updated profile, can see other comments if public as an administrator. Activity in Moodle can be linear – Activity stream can help teachers and students to find the links and information that might be alternative to the linear approach
  • Pages – wikis – you can pick up RSS feeds from different outside sources, book sharing
  • Google Gadgets can be brought into the Landing
  • If you use tags in your blogs, wikis or twitter then you can find information on different lessons other instructors are using
  • Discussion group – use this in ET – teachers can post questions that they need to find out, other teachers can post what they did to solve the problem or different ideas about technology that they are doing in the classroom
  • Students can do this and upload their assignments to show other students, work together in collaboration – in Forum topics and group activities, discussions
  • This would be used for more collaboration and housing of information not necessarily for online courses for information – Moodle has that set up better. This is a stream of information sharing for educators and students, Athabasca uses Moodle for course content and assessment, and they turn off the collaboration and discussion forums and only use the LANDING for discussions and collaboration parts of the course. Students can blog in Landing or in a outside source if they tag properly, this sometimes doesn’t happen so doing it in a controlled environment can be made easier to follow others and keep up with discussions, so they can learn everything they need to learn.
  • Importing and Exporting – in Landing – you can export of your comment but is there a point if you don’t have the question or answer?
  • Users have more control – but Moodle 2.0 is going to copy some of the widgets of Landing set up. Every tools wants to be the be and end of all of everything you are using but you need to find different options like the Landing that can help make more Moodle more user friendly for discussions.
  • For any social networking to work properly they need lots of users, and if they are split up over a bunch of different social network sites, then it makes it difficult for the students in your class to discuss with one another.
  • We have to solve the identity problem, why can’t I have an open identity instead of social networks owing a bunch of different identities of yourself
  •  – is where you can download this interface – there are different widgets, such as web conference room.
  • They do not allow students to download their own widgets.
  • Moodle you have to have a course key to have discussion with other teachers or students the landing you can start different discussion without a key

Moodle – Soft for whom?

Soft for developers and system administrators but can start to become hard for teachers and students. There are different forms of design for control, there needs to be collective control, learn control, negotiated control, teacher control. There needs to be a dialogue around who has what control in Moodle.



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