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Czeching in on learning technology

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SoundCloud embedding test

Pasting in
[ soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/63390958" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

should get you:

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Moving to own domain

With the release of the amazing WordPress 3.0 and its multisite features, this blog is now moving to its own domain: http://techczech.net.

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Presentation on the internet from 1999

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BETT2010: What the teachers can do and did

Here’s a great example of an experimenting teacher talking about creative use of cheap and available technologies to solve real educational problems:

Filed under: eguides, Using ICT,

Starting the inhouse eGuides training process with a crash course in technobabble

Here’s a wonderful slideshow on some of the key Web2.0 terms:

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MoodleMoot Lessons Learned

07/04/2009
Image by dominiklukes via Flickr

UK MoodleMoot of 2009 was provided lots of insights that will be taken up on this blog in more detail as time goes on. Here are some of the key lessons learned:

  • Moodle 2.0 will be able to use external repositories and share data with online services
  • Moodle 2.0 is expected to be code complete by summer 09 but final version probably won’t be released until Chrismas (this is fairly optimistic but hopefully the increased use of unit testing will speed bug fixes up)
  • MrCute (an repository) would be very useful tool to implement until Moodle 2.0 comes out
  • SecondLife can be introduced into Moodle using the Sloodle plug-in but for our purposes it would be better as a marketing, recruitment and awareness-raising tool
  • Xerte would be a great course development tool
  • Sadly, Moodle 1.x doesn’t allow for password-protected RSS feeds; but luckily Moodle 2.0 will
  • Building themes in Moodle is largely a matter of CSS and is very simple with the occasional bit of PHP thrown in among the HTML template (Moodle 2.0 will make theming more Drupal-like)
  • Most people don’t use the full potential of Moodle for course layout and interaction
  • Moodleman’s playpen is a great source of ideas for theming, modules and course formats
  • Mahara (which has pretty much replaced Elgg for community building) integrates nicely with Moodle now and will be able to pull data in directly in all sorts of exciting ways in Moodle 2.0
  • There are many links to follow up and explore; and thanks to the Open Web (Web2.0), everybody can share in this joy: http://delicious.com/tag/mmuk09
  • Implementing Open Source in schools and local authorities is a challenge that should be recognised as a priority for policy makers (http://opensourceschools.org.uk)

Here are some lessons learned from the conference format:

  • Twitter can magnify the utility of any conference provided a sufficient number of participants use it (try Twitter search #mmuk09)
  • Keeping track of link ideas on delicious as the conference goes on was very helpful; particularly since I could see what other people were bookmarking at the same time (of course it would be nice if services like delicious, diigo, reddit and connotea could be brought into a single stream without much coding – perhaps I should look into Yahoo Pipes for that)
  • Flickr is great for quick note taking of slides and recording things as they go: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/mmuk09
  • In short, all conferences in the future should start with the announcement of a tag that will be used on all data sharing services;  now we know that anywhere where such a thing is possible, the tag mmuk09 (or #mmuk09) will get us a record of MoodleMoot UK 09 both as it was unfolding and in its aftermath.
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A Mindset, Not A Skillset

via A Mindset, Not A Skillset on Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

What more is there to add?

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Software vs. Users

via It’s Not What the Software Does | Smarterware.

This cartoon by Hugh MacLeod (that is now my desktop background) captures the divide this blog will try to straddle. It applies to all technology but in particular to learning technology. Software solutions often try to predict every possible thing that a user could do and provide a check box or a button for it. But users are unpredictable (as a group and individually) and they will often make unexpected use of simple software and ignore the advanced features of complex software. Twitter is a great example of this. It has almost no features but it has been used for many things unimagined by its creators. Similarly, many VLEs that have very complex features are often used just as a simple forum with good results. But after a while users start asking for features that would have initially discouraged them from using the software in the first place. They can do everything they want with the simple tools but would like to make things easier, more straightforward, and automated. So what is the learning technologist to do? Ultimately, even more important than technological nous is willingness to listen to the users. REALLY listen not just hear. Am I up to the challenge? Lets see.

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