ULearn 10

After a very busy week, followed by a very sick week, I have finally gotten around to doing something about a few site pages about HRDNZ's representation at the ULearn conference in Christchurch this year. I hope Stuart doesn't mind my blatantly copying and pasting from the HRDNZ site for various sections. ;-)

Just need to sort out a gallery for all our fantastic pictures that we're going to take while there (and pictures from last year), then work a little on my actual presentation, too. I will be doing Top Tips for Lessons in Moodle, and I'm excited about it, because I'm a real convert to the lessons module in Moodle. But I think I need to look and see how (if at all) it has changed in Moodle 2.0 from 1.9 so that I can prepare people for both versions.

I am still scared of even glancing at the files section. I hope that they have sorted something out for the not-so-technical teachers by the time ULearn rolls around... otherwise I may just have to try and avoid the files system completely in my presentation! Haha.

Moodle 2.0 files system

I have been reading some threads on Moodle.org and the bug tracker about the 2.0 files system. There are quite a few people who think the same as me - that it may be better from a developer's point of view, because it means less headaches for backups/security etc... but from a usability point of view? Forget it. If I show a teacher the current files system and try explaining where their files are and how they work... it actually fills me with dread. Because I can see the light disappearing from their eyes already, and Moodle being filed in a "too hard basket". I'm nearly at that point myself with 2.0, and I'm a user who is technologically literate, adaptable, and an avid supporter of Moodle.

I don't want to reply on the threads myself because I'm just gonna end up swearing at someone. Because the first person to reply to me who is obviously a developer, and not a teacher, will NOT put me in my happy place.


I have been playing with a program called inkscape, making vector images. I've played in the past with corel draw and adobe illustrator, but I found them rather difficult. That's not to say they're more difficult than inkscape, but at the time I just couldn't get my head around them. I picked up inkscape because I have to teach it for bubbledome. So I thought crap, better learn how to use this thing. A couple of youtube tutorials later and I was making a vector dog. I then tried tackling an eye, but that was way too complex for my little brain. So I looked up more tutorials and found one on people. Since last night I have "vectored" two of my friends and one of my sisters. I think I'm hooked.

I'm also very tired. I feel drained, unenergetic. I want to go sleep. zzzzzzzzzz

Examples of good e-Learning

I went with Stuart to St Cuthbert's College today and I am amazed. They have an awesome Moodle site up and running, and they're even using it along with Mahara (e-portfolio / social networking system). I'm buzzing. They seem like a really awesome, forward thinking school. They have made it compulsory for their teachers to use the e-Learning system, which I totally support. It's hard to move forward with things like this unless they are pushed down from management level. I should know...

I would include a link to their site, except that it is hosted internally, and for internal access only (as far as I could tell). I told them I wanted to steal their site and take it away, lol, because I wanted to really have a good look around and see what they're doing... but all I can say is... here is a school successfully using Moodle from Year 1 all the way through to Year 13. And yes, the Junior classes to have their Moodle pages, and there is stuff up on them. Proof positive that Moodle can be used for any age group.

Woot. I wanna play with Mahara now. I downloaded it, but the installation instructions bear closer scrutiny. Doesn't look as straight forward as Moodle to install, even though the code is based on the Moodle code. I think I will have to corner Duncan sometime to help me with that.

Moodle 2.0 files system... :s

I am excited about the prospect of Moodle 2.0, and I guess I see what they're trying to do with the files system... but all I can think is that they really want to make life difficult for teachers who already struggle with certain aspects of technology.

I work with teachers, some of whom are still on the cusp of understanding that files on their computer aren't automatically in Moodle, and when they update the files on their computer they must re-upload them to Moodle to make the changes. I have taught people how to save files into folders, and not just dump them into their My Documents folder, because that is an organisational nightmare.

Then I have a play with Moodle 2.0 and the files system nearly does MY head in. I dread having to take this to the poor teachers who are only just holding onto computer skills by the skin of their teeth. I really do. The total confusion of folders, sub-folders, Moodle-created paths to a file you're sure you uploaded some-damn-where... it gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach that those who I have tried to sell on Moodle because it's "not really that difficult, see..." are going to give up. I really do believe that.

Something needs to be done. Mark Dreschler wrote some suggestions in his blog that MIGHT just work... having a search function on the server files, AND being able to attach labels/tags to files, to make searching for them easier. Big thumbs up to those suggestions.

And I know there is a 'recent files' tab, but perhaps something that shows you all of YOUR own files that you uploaded? Without, that is, having to browse through a labyrinth of folders, sub folders, sub sub folders, and so forth.

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