Archive for June, 2009

Engaging learners in Moodle – part 1

June 15th, 2009 jhagen Comments off

I recently joined a colleague and her Year 7 students during a lunchtime detention that she imposed to make up for a lesson ‘lost’ in her absence. While she was away, she had expected her students to access the well-documented instructions and excellent resources that she had posted to her Moodle course. Instead they complained to the substitute teacher that they didn’t know what to do. There are, no doubt, a number of factors contributing to the students’ helplessness. The question I’d like to explore here is; why hadn’t her students explored the contents of her Moodle course and how could we redesign it to make this more likely? Read more…

Infuse it!

June 2nd, 2009 jhagen Comments off

In the posting titled “I don’t want to integrate it, I want to embed it!“, Jeff Utecht wrote that the word ‘integrate’ gets on his nerves. I’ve also pondered this for some time because it gets on my nerves too. But I’ve come to the conclusion that the word ‘embed’ is also inappropriate. To embed is to fix (an object) firmly and deeply in a surrounding mass. The image that accompanied Jeff’s posting was perfect it must be said. What I don’t like about the analogy is that the technology remains a separate (and in the image, an immutable) ‘thing’, an opinion shared by other commenters. I agree with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (and others) that technology ideally should be like heat or air. That’s why my word of choice is to ‘infuse’, which means ‘to fill or pervade’, whilst ‘fusion’ means ‘the merging of different elements into a union’. Isn’t the fusion of Learning and Technology what we’re striving for? Which makes me wonder: if mass and energy are equivalent (E = MC2), are understanding and learning also (U = LT2), where T = Technology?


Cyber Safety

June 1st, 2009 jhagen Comments off

Even before the recent cyber bullying bruhaha at another Sydney girls school, we’ve been taking cyber safety pretty seriously at Kambala. Initiatives have included presentations by Greg Gebhart to staff and parents and Tom Woods to Year 10 students. In pastoral care we are endeavouring to raise student awareness of cyber safety issues, such as the importance of keeping personal information private, especially when using social networking services like Facebook. The problem with such initiatives is that they tend to be sporadic whilst students are online daily. In an effort to keep these issues ‘in their faces’ we’ve set up a ‘Cyber Safety’ course space on our Moodle site with a prominent link on the site’s front page. More importantly, we’ve begun to embed topical videos using the News Forum on the site’s Front Page where it is virtually impossible for students not to see them. Besides the ‘Wise Up to IT‘ series produced by the ACMA, we’ll be using videos such as the one embedded below. Any recommendations of other quality videos on the topic of cyber safety would be gratefully received.



Embed RSS feeds into a Web page

June 1st, 2009 jhagen Comments off

In the March/April 2009 (not May as stated in the screen cast below) issue of Learning & Leading with Technology is an article explaining how to create custom RSS feeds using a tool called Feed2JS. This screen cast demonstrates how to use Feed2JS to create a ‘library’ of RSS feeds using the Moodle Book (non-standard) module.