Feb 07 2010

Adventures with Moodle

Published by under Uncategorized

I started the Moodle toolkit assignment last night.  Actually, I logged into the Moodle site and created a course.  Then this morning, I read the actual instructions (I had forgotten about the Moodle toolkit) and realized I hadn’t named my course properly.  A little searching later, I managed to make the necessary changes.

I did the rest of the assignment, created a welcome page and a discussion forum.  I even added a reply.

So far, I can contrast Moodle to Blackboard in that it has a lot more icons  than Blackboard did when I was using it about 8 yrs ago.  The WYSIWYG editor is more sophisticated by far.  I don’t think Blackboard really had an editor.  If we wanted coloured text, we had to create it in MSWord and copy and paste it into Blackboard.

Moodle has a complicated display page so far.  Maybe once I’ve had a chance to create more content, it will start to look familiar.  I like simplicity and an appearance that is intuitive.  I want to explore how to insert slide shows, images and include a wiki next.  So far, it took less than an hour to follow the assignment as described.

No responses yet

Feb 03 2010

Creating a DVD

Published by under Uncategorized

Last week I tried the dvd toolkit and recorded my first dvd using the burning software that came with MSVista.  It was a very easy task to accomplish.  It was done in minutes.  I didn’t have a video on hand, so I just used a sample video that came with the operating system combined with a few pictures I took along the same theme.

I didn’t manage to follow all the instructions from the toolkit, namely in the naming for the files and folders.  I would hope there are more options available to me with this software but I haven’t found many so far.

This takes me to the case study for the Diabetes DVD.  As the friend/teacher I would certainly suggest using a dvd as a teaching tool.  Essentially, in this case, the dvd will be used to reinforce the lessons taught face to face.  The main need identified in this case is that of second language learners who have not mastered English in its written form.

Firstly, burning the dvd will be the easiest task.  I see the recording and mostly the editing of the video footage as the more challenging task.  I would suggest that Anju use many versions of the video to produce the final product (she needs to record 2-3 presentations).  That way, she will be able to choose the best lessons for the final video.  When we teach, we have a way of explaining things in a slightly different way each time, as we adapt our explanations to the audience.  Such is the nature of oral communication.  In terms of time, it will take maybe 2 to 3 hours of teaching to get the required footage.

Editing the footage down to manageable segments should take about 30 hours.  I’ve based my estimate on learning how to use a basic software such as Movie Player, which comes with her Vista operating system.  There are more sophisticated applications, but let’s assume she doesn’t want to invest time and money in learning video editing.  It should take her roughly 10 hours to learn Movie Player and then another 20 to produce a good quality video.

This part is important – in order to make the video easier to navigate, I would suggest chucking the various parts of the lesson into short segments that can be called up through the dvd menu.  That way the audience can watch the parts that they need to reinforce rather than watch the whole lesson, over and over.  I see navigation as a key component in this video.  And the menu items should be clearly labelled, with simple titles, for easy access.

In addition, I would add still shots that can be either photos of a demonstration, such as how to test for blood sugar, or text based slides for further reinforcement.  She can also use Movie Player to create text slides and titles.

The final step will be the distribution of the dvd.  It can be given out after training sessions or distributed to community centers, doctor’s offices or even through libraries.  This could help her increase her client base and possibly help cover the cost of production and distribution of the dvds.

I estimated the time needed to complete this project based on my experience with the dvd burning software on my own computer, my own experiences with using Movie Player and a conversation with our school tech teacher.  I have never used or edited video, so I tried to approach this case from the point of view of a novice.  Anju should be able to cope easily with her project, as long as she gives herself the benefit of trial and error.  The fun is in the experimenting.  Later on, she might even try adding subtitles in the language of her clients…

No responses yet

Jan 27 2010

Pro-D case

Published by under Uncategorized

Professional Development or PD as  Ontario teachers call it.

The elements that seem important in this case is that a place to upload information and discussion is required.  The teacher has minimal resources and not much training in web design.  Connectivity is also an issue.  Dial up is slow.

This brings to mind my daughter’s problems with uploading information and photos to the internet while she was in Nicaragua.  The connection was way too slow to upload more than text.  Images, slide shows and videos were just not possible.  The one thing she could do was update her blog regularly and respond to comments.  She could also use MSN.

So here we enter the realm of social networking.  Discussions are important in advancing ideas.  They get the creative juices flowing.  So Lenora would like to not only share her ideas with colleagues near and far, but also gather new information from an exchange of ideas.  Buffy Ste Marie, author of the Cradleboard Project, seems to expose the problem of distribution of resources:

“Even with regard to local tribal curriculum, teachers in a faraway state can’t find the best of the best in a concise and usable form.”

The nature of the information is an important aspect here.  Lenora can share many ideas without having to use multimedia such as slide shows or videos.  I see her site as mostly text driven.  But of course, she most likely wants to make it more visual than that, recognizing that visual literacy is now included in the definition of literacy (Biebrich, p. 27).

She can certainly address all these needs with a wiki.  Creating a wiki is a small matter.  It costs nothing, it can be created in a short amount of time, especially with good instructions (available online as part of the help function) and it addresses all her needs, including the need for a collaborative space.  She can also set permissions to allow only certain people to collaborate (through a membership she approves).

Not only are the pages collaborative, she can also make use of the discussion function that is integrated in each page.

If she is concerned about commercials on the site, she can ask for a site that is used for education and have no ads show up at all.  Wiki sites can be shared with the world or kept private for members only if she is concerned about confidentiality.

As for formatting pages, this is very similar to a simple wordprocessor.  She can use templates to choose the look and feel of the wiki.

I have used wikis in my classes for over a year now and highly recommend them for their simplicity and ease of use.  You can view one of my class sites at bmi3c.wikispaces.com.  It took very little time to create the wiki, maybe 2-3 hours to start the initial pages (1 or 2 pages) and make design choices.  I used a model from another course I saw when I attended a workshop.  The workshop was definitely useful for advanced functions such as inserting a video file.  If Lenora can access a workshop on wikis through her school system or her professional organization, she might find it helps her get a head start.  If that is not possible, she can easily find a tutorial on the web or even go to the help function on the wiki site.  She can justify the cost of training to her administrators as a way to integrate further technology into her classroom.  For example, a wiki would be a wonderful way to preserve cultural information by creating a class project where her students are invited to interview their parents and grand-parents and then post the results (it could be something like the adult’s favourite anecdote from their childhood or bedtime story or family recipe).  The Cradleboard project has ideas that could certainly be adapted to a wiki space.

Once the wiki is up, she will be able to add content as easily as saving a file into this new space (uploading).  With text based files, she should not be impeded by the slow connection.  Adding slideshows or videos will also be quick as she can simply post a link on the wiki page.  There are more sophisticated ways to show multimedia, like embedding the files, but she can do quite well without those functions for now.  From then on, it’s a question of maintaining, adding to and administering the wiki (memberships and permissions).  She can spend as little as 2 hours a week on these tasks or more depending on the membership demands and how much discussion happens in the discussion area.

And of great importance, she must make people aware of her wiki.  She can simply announce its purpose and provide a link within her teaching circle or other social network areas she participates in.  Word of mouth is accomplished in many forms.

Lenora is best advised not to use a website at this time unless her school provides a place to host the site.  For example, my board has created a license to use google sites for all its teachers.  Google sites is very easy to use and I would certainly recommend it for its ease of use.  Google docs is another application that might suit Lenora.  The major reason I would recommend a wiki over a website is that she will not be required to learn html.  Having to learn a programming language would substantially add to her time investment in this project, keeping her from her true purpose.


Beibrich, J. L. (2006). Comics & graphic novels: seeing the meeting (Master’s thesis). Retrieved November 11, 2009, from http://www.informationgoddess.ca/MEdCappingPaper/LiteracyComics&GNJLBiebrich.pdf

Capriccioso, R. (n.d.). Cradleboard Curricula | Connect for Kids / Child Advocacy 360 / Youth Policy Action Center. Welcome to Connect for Kids. Retrieved January 26, 2010, from http://www.connectforkids.org/node/501

Marie, B. S. (n.d.). Cradleboard Project. AIPC Homepage. Retrieved January 27, 2010, from http://www.aipc.osmre.gov/Notes%20from%20Native%20America/99note7.htm

One America – Cradleboard Teaching Project. (n.d.). Welcome To The White House. Retrieved January 26, 2010, from http://clinton3.nara.gov/Initiatives/OneAmerica/Practices/pp_19980729.6548.html#operations

No responses yet

Spam prevention powered by Akismet