Friday, September 16, 2011

Moodle: export to portfolio

As online learning platforms mature and develop, interoperability and mash-ups become increasingly important. As LMSs (learning management systems) develop areas of strength, no one single system will be able to do everything an organisation wants it to. A good example is Moodle: excellent as a teacher-directed, assessment for learning tool that allows students to collaborate on a task and demonstrate to their teacher what they do and don't know about a topic. But the e-portfolio features of Moodle are not as well-developed as something like Mahara, so when a student finishes a piece of work inside Moodle, they should be able to easily and quickly push that evidence of learning through to an e-portfolio (which, of course, they can).
Moodle 2.0 offers site admins the ability to connect portfolios to their Moodle site so that users can push content through. We've got our one set up for Mahara ( and this video shows you how easy it is for students to push content through.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Moodle and the pedagogical progression

At the NZ Moodlemoot recently, Martin Dougiamas used a slide in his presentation that was entitled 'Pedagogical Progression' It's a list of online/blended learning activities in the form of a progression or taxonomy, but it's also a really good checklist for the way we use online learning environments. How much time do you spend on the first three activities? Martin estimates about 90%.
  1. Publish content (pages, SCORM, video, audio)
  2. Assess via quizzes and assignments
  3. Provide a passive forum
  4. Wikis, glossaries, databases (collaboration/media)
  5. Facilitate discussions in the forum. Questions!
  6. Combine activities into sequences
  7. Introduce external sites, activities, games, networks.
  8. Use survey tools and log to study/reflect
  9. Give students more power (structure/grades)
  10. Research, custom code, communities of practice.

Also at the Moodlemoot, Stuart Mealor announced the launch of , a site that hosts (free of charge) teachers and learners using Moodle courses. The one catch is that the course must be free for anyone to enrol in and use. Sound like a good deal to me, and I'm going to be uploading some of my courses over the coming weeks.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

SlowMo Video

Saw this over at OMG! Ubuntu:
SlowMoVideo might just be my favourite video-manipulation tool available for Linux: the effects it can create from even the simplest of footage is amazing.
Hyperbole over, on to the facts.
SlowMoVideo is a Qt4 application designed for intelligently slowing down video clips.
Rather than achieve this by ’time stretching’ your footage, as most video editors do, SlowMoVideo allows you to “smoothly slow down and speed up your footage” with the option to apply motion blur for an added fluidity of image.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Layar AR gets a re-vamp

Layar has provided users with a very usable augmented reality platform, but its recent re-vamp offers some really nice new features. One of the most interesting is the ability to use AR to share real-world content like magazine articles with Twitter or Facebook followers. Another (less earnest but still just as much fun) application is to interact with things like cafe menus and wine lists. The only difficult part of using it seems to be choosing between the strawberry and lemon margarita during happy hour.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Zappar: augmented reality app

Here are two examples of the augmented reality app 'Zappar': one where a 2D poster for a film turns into a 3D animated advertisement for a film:

...and another one that could get a bit out of control (if you're prone to hearing voices)...

Zappar Sign Monsters from Fraser Davidson on Vimeo.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Virtual Moon Atlas

Google Moon is a great tool for exploring our closest celestial neighbour but there are a few shortcomings with it. Like anything to do with Google, it will only exist as long as Google has the energy and inclination to continue with it. One of the reasons I like to use free software is that under the GPL all the code is released to the world and can never be rescinded. Even if a project is abandoned, it won't ever disappear because hundreds, thousands or millions of people will have the source code. So I'm always looking to alternatives to products like Google Earth (Worldwind for instance) and Google Moon, which is where Virtual Moon Atlas comes in. It's available for Windows, Mac and Linux and is open source. You can use it to explore and discover, but also to say 'take me to the Sea of Tranquility." The other great thing about free software is that anyone (particularly students) can screen capture the software without breaching copyright. Wouldn't it be great for students to use something like RecordMyDesktop to film a virtual tour of the Apollo missions using software like this.