Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Getting to know Moodle 2

    Since my Moodle host, GlobalClassroom, has just moved to Moodle 2 from 1.9, I'm doing it, too.

    GlobalClassroom nicely upgraded my existing courses into a new URL, so I can have both old and new courses to compare (and can do some strategic copy and paste).

    Since all the nice blocks I created disappeared during the conversion (almost the only thing I lost), having both old and new open at the same time has been a good thing.

    And I lost some of my images, but not all.  I'm happy about that, because I use a lot of images.  My students are very visual and really don't respond very well to lots of unadorned text.  I'm getting better and better at original images (screen shots, Wordles/Tagxedos, my own photographs...), as well at resizing images so the pages will load more quickly.

    Since I'm scrutinizing everything, I'm switching embedded videos to links.  The videos converted well, but they make the courses take forever to load in 1.9 and 2.x).  Embedded looks snazzy, but a speedy course is easier to use.   

    Have found some really nice features of Moodle 2.  For example,

  • It's much easier to move individual resources and activities.  Drag the 4-pointed arrow for the item around.
  • It's much easier to move a topic.  Just drag the 4-pointed arrow for the topic/week around.
  • It's much easier to move a block.  Just edit the block and set its relative location.  0 is top, 1 under that and so on.  (Don't forget to set relative location in both "this page" and all pages.)  It's easy to move a block left or right while in edit, too.  One can even pick whether the block is on all pages (example: a help block), or just some.
  • Topics can have names instead of numbers!  This especially makes sense if you  move topics around. 
  • The new blog-like forum type shows exactly what I've been looking for (see example).  Instead of lists of threads, you can see what each student has written without first having to click on each thread.  This is much friendlier when you want to have multiple threads, but also let students see what's in each thread.  This will be much more engaging and should encourage interaction.  

    Still exploring.  Such fun to have a new toy.  ;-P   

Monday, June 18, 2012

Moodle Resources (especially 2.x)

Decided this information needed updating.

Moodle Community
·    Moodle.org forums  http://moodle.org/forums/
·    Moodle.org documentation http://docs.moodle.org/

Sample courses:   (sample courses to see how they’re put together)
·    Moodleshare http://courses.moodleshare.com/
·    Moodle Commons  http://www.moodlecommons.org/
·    Mt. Orange School Demo (example of 2.x course)  http://school.demo.moodle.net/

Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers: (marvelous summary of functions, ease of use, relation to Bloom’s Taxonomy, from Joyce Seitzinger)
·    1.9  http://www.cats-pyjamas.net/2010/05/moodle-tool-guide-for-teachers/
·    2.0  http://www.somerandomthoughts.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/AMoodle2ToolGuideforTeachers.pdf

Blogs include:
·    Moodle News – regular updates and news about Moodle.  Very helpful.  http://www.moodlenews.com

Hosting – some possibilities
·    http://globalclassroom.us/
·    http://www.moodlerooms.com/markets/k-12/ 
·    Free:  http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=146897
·    Free – collection of free hosting possibilities  http://www.moodlenews.com/collections/hosting/

Tutorial resources include:
·    http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2012/05/moodle-tutorial-videos.html
·    http://jasonrenshaw.typepad.com/jason_renshaws_web_log/moodle-tutorials-from-english-raven.html
.    New!   http://www.youtube.com/user/Gr8TechTools

Books about Moodle include:

Moodle 2.x
·    Moodle 2.0 First Look, Mary Cooch
·    Moodle 2 Administration, Alex B├╝chner

Moodle 1.9
·    Moodle 1.9 for Teaching 7-14 year olds, Mary Cooch
·    Moodle for Dummies, Radana Dvorak
·    William Rice
·    Administration – Using Moodle,     Moodle Administration