One of those posts

It seems that whenever I get a blog, I (eventually) fill it up with posts that start with, “Sorry I haven’t posted in a while…”

*sheepish*

So what have I been doing?

I presented at Wintec at their eLearning conference. I did two presentations, the first one was about the changes in Moodle 1.9 to 2.x, and was basically a condensed version of the MoodleBites 1.9 to 2.x course we run. The second was a brief slot during a wider presentation on PD opportunities, and I talked about what MoodleBites had to offer for lecturers and other staff at Wintec.

I have been working on the MoodleBites for Theme Designers course.

I currently have three courses on MoodleBites that I am facilitating, so that is keeping me busy, too. MaharaBites, MoodleBites for Theme Designers, and the Moodle 1.9 to 2.x Upgrade course.

My work at Unitec has also been keeping me busy with our pilot of Moodle 2.2 site launching just before Christmas, then right up to this week (the first week of Semester 1, 2012). The campus is teaming with students again and has really come to life after a quiet Christmas period where there was no one here but us chickens.

Cluck.

I have done some training here and there onsite, which is always great fun. I love going to different schools or tertiary institutes and working with their lecturers. It gives me a great buzz to show people new things about Moodle, especially if they’re keen to learn.

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Dave’s Moodle 2 File Adventures

Because I am getting questions a lot now that Unitec is going to upgrade to Moodle 2, and one of the questions I get is around the files area (or lack thereof).

Here are two little slideshows I think you should watch if you are struggling to understand the whys and wherefores of the behaviour of files in Moodle 2.

 

 

Thank you so much, Mark, for creating these!

Quiet on the western front

Yep, it’s been all quiet in here. I think I detect an echo, and maybe some tumble weeds. This is my usual thing where I only get around to posting if I’m really procrastinating doing something else (which at the moment is writing my NaNoWriMo novel, developing some themes for a Moodle client, mowing the lawns…).

I have been trying out some pretty neat Moodle stuff. Let’s see if I can find it all again.

Sloodle for Moodle 2 – I tried and broke the Sloodle Alpha for Moodle 2. Seems that the ports on my domain are locked down just a little too tight, but the Sloodle team were making noises that eventually they would look at a work-around for that. Otherwise, the Sloodle tools installed just fine on my Moodle 2.1 site, and the new Sloodle rezzer is just… brilliant. This is a definite MUST TRY!

Drag and Drop upload block – This looks and works so great, the only drawback is that when you drag and drop files into your course using this block, they don’t appear anywhere in the file viewer, and there was something else I couldn’t do with the files because they just didn’t seem to ‘be’ anywhere. Don’t remember what, though. But a definite time-saver for teachers to upload resources to a course.

Flexii_ii theme – I had a play with this on my Moodle 2.1 site, and it looks great. Does not seem to work too well on IE, but I haven’t had a proper play to see if it is specific to the version of IE or operating system or a combination of both.

MobileMoodle theme – Not much to say here except that it is great. Yep.

Moodle Mobile App – I managed to scrounge an iPad off work (borrowed, of course) to install the Moodle app and have a play. I got it all working with my Moodle 2.1 site and had a play. There’s not a lot to it yet, but I have hopes for the future of this app.

Grid format – a Moodle custom course format that hides all topics and creates a grid of images, which when you click on them it brings up a lightbox-style popup with the resources. I tried this out on my own Moodle site and I like it a lot. I can see how this can make a course page so much more appealing!

I think that’s all for now… so perhaps not so quiet on the western front, after all…

Themes, CSS and HTML5

Needing to get back into theme design for Moodle 2, and needed to update the look of my site at Dragonslair.co.nz to reflect a new logo and also abolish the use of tables in favour of divs. So, I sat down with the w3schools site and self-taught myself some HTML5 (which looks awesome, by the way) and played around with a lot of CSS. Dragonslair hasn’t been updated to the new theme yet, though, because I need to still rework a bit of code in the existing structure to match how I’ve rearranged some things.

But… it certainly gives me the confidence to now go and have a look at Moodle 2 theme layouts. Yes, layouts. I spoke with Julian Ridden during the NZ MoodleMoot 2011 and he told me some exciting things about layouts that I just can’t wait to go off and try. Then it’ll be time to keep working on MoodleBites for Theme Designers.

On a personal note – got the inlaws coming to visit this weekend, which will be good. πŸ™‚ I enjoy their company. Also, on the Saturday night I have a photography job (hence the sudden rush to get the Dragonslair site looking how I want it). Then the following weekend I’m going skiing! Woohooo! Hoping to be able to get up north and visit my parents the weekend after that. Been doing Zumba in an effort to get fit, but all I’ve managed to do so far is make myself feel very old and stiff. Ah well, I will persevere.

The eLearning Continuum… where do you sit?

There’s a tweet that, by the looks of the re-tweet trail has done quite the rounds (I see @kattekrab @vanweringh and @ictev) about an eLearning Continuum that has been published by the State of Victoria (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development) 2011. The lovely interactive site is here, but for a nice PDF see below.

So where do you sit on the scale?

I’d like to think that I sit mostly in the transformative, but I know that there are areas that could do with improving. Might be a good little chart to use for some self-evaluation, even if you never show it to anyone, so long as you are honest and use it to improve the areas you find are lacking.

I’m going to work on the last two – ICT Professional Learning and ICT Leadership. πŸ™‚

And on that note, I’m going to go and make sure I have things to model.

Viruses

For a week or two I haven’t been able to use the HTML editor on any Moodle site, using any browser, on this computer. Eliminated the possibility that it was my profile settings on the Moodle sites (Really? All of them? Unlikely…) because the HTML editor worked fine when I logged into them using my work computer. Also eliminated the possibility that our firewall on our home network was blocking something because a) it worked on my other computer and b) it didn’t work on this computer even when I was at the public library.

Then, it also occured to me that my computer was running a little slower than usual. And every time I tried to shut down or restart, it would say that background programs were running and it couldn’t perform that operation until they had been closed.

One would think, given my knowledge of computers, that alarm bells would be ringing by now. But it has been so long since I’ve had to seriously worry about viruses. I’m so careful with what I download…

… until my forays into OpenSim. I’ve been downloading resources for that from goodness knows what websites. Silly me.

So, two full system scans later and I’ve caught and purged over 40 viruses / trojans from my computer. I’m so embarrassed.

Because I should be blogging more…

… πŸ™‚

Updates on things I have been doing:

MoodleMoot

I have been organising things to do with the MoodleMoot, since I am the onsite coordinator at Unitec. Been making sure we have rooms, wireless, tables, catering, prodding people for submissions, providing maps, calling schools… MoodleMoot looks like it’ll be really interesting this year! If you haven’t heard about it, or are interested in attending, please visit the site (linked above).

SLOODLE

I have sucessfully managed to set up my very own OpenSim island (only locally on my machine) and after some experimentation even managed to get the SLOODLE tools rezzed and hooked up to my Moodle site. I will keep working on this, and when I have something to show I will link it here. I have also been working on the interface that I have in SecondLife in preparation for my presentation at the MoodleMoot.

MoodleBites

I’ve been co-facilitating courses on MoodleBites, specifically the MoodleBites for Teachers and MoodleBites for Administrators courses. I am hoping to really up my work on the MoodleBites for Theme Designers course soon, as well.

Moving house

On a personal level… I moved house a month ago. Moved into our very first own home! We’re having a house-warming party this Saturday. We’re getting our couch back tomorrow (it has been off to the manufacturer being repaired). That’ll be nice, actually having somewhere to sit again in the living room. We had even converted our Ottoman into a make-shift seat.

OpenSim stuff and SLOODLE

Ok, so someone on my Twitter radar posted something about Kitely, and so I went and created my own virtual world in OpenSim to play around in. It keeps crashing when I change textures at the moment, so I will keep playing later. But looks really really good!

So I thought I would also find some other resources to do with OpenSim, as when I arrived in my newly created world I had the scary white-eyed zombie look, so I quickly went in search of eyeball textures and then hair textures and got completely sidetracked… haha.

It’s time for me to head home, but I will be looking into linking this OpenSim environment with SLOODLE on my test Moodle site. Will see how we go.

Homework and thoughts

I remember doing homework – some I hated, some I actually enjoyed. The homework that I remember most fondly were some A-Z sheets that my Form 1/2 (that is Year 7 and 8) teacher made (or got from somewhere). They were fascinating, contained lots of little activities that extended my knowledge in unexpected and interesting ways. I learned new words, a little bit of history, famous people… good general knowledge. They didn’t necessarily have to do with what we were studying at school, but we were studying enough of that at school. It was fun to be given something different and eclectic to do at home.

Homework I remember despising included stuff that I saw as pointless. Colouring. Endless repetition of stuff I already knew.

So I don’t believe all homework is evil and pointless. But most does seem to be there merely… to fill time. As if children shouldn’t have time to be children. And not all teachers like homework, either. It means even more marking! So whose bright idea is this homework thing? Not sure, but they should be taken somewhere quiet and dealt to. πŸ˜‰

Some very interesting articles on homework lie within (hmmm hyperlink button isn’t working –> http://stager.tv/blog/?p=2112 ). Not all I agree with, but they do all give their valid viewpoints.

Today’s interesting blog posts – resistance to change and Twitter

These are the blog posts I have found interesting so far today…

Why Twitter is the Teacher’s Best Tool – though I agree that Twitter can be a great tool for teachers, I’m not sure that it quite deserves the superlative of best… I’m sure there are many better tools out there for teachers, including the one housed inside your skull.

What I found fascinating was one person’s reply to that post…

Is this article a joke? As a teacher, my stapler is more useful than twitter. And no, I’m not some tech-phobic dinosaur, I’m a 29 year old former engineer.”

To which my reply (on Twitter) was: “As a teacher, if your stapler is more useful than a form of communication, perhaps you are in the wrong job.”

The second article I have stumbled across was this one entitled 10 reasons your educators (or employees) are resisting your change initiative. I have worked in quite a few schools around New Zealand and I have seen many examples of this resistance, for many of the reasons listed in this article. I think it is important that people (especially employers and trainers) recognise that people rarely resist change for the sake of resisting change. There are underlying reasons, and these reasons are very valid! They must be addressed before forward progress can be achieved.

So how does one address these issues?

That is something I am still working on myself. πŸ™‚