Posts Tagged ‘VLEs’
We are about to launch the MUVEnation programme to help teachers to acquire the necessary competences to integrate MUVEs into their teaching practice. We have had, since the beginning, several discussions related to the platform(s) for delivering this programme. And we have been delaying the final decisions till the last minute. Our different backgrounds, uses and experiences of technology didn’t help. On the contrary, during our last meeting in Valencia, consensus building was a painful process.
So painful, that I reacted badly when the choice emerging was against my vision for the programme. Fast forwarding memories : I called for a vote. Things went completely out of my hands: a VLE !, a VLE ! a VLE ! Wrong, wrong, wrong ! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh ! In my despair, I insisted to record in the minutes that I, the coordinator, was against the choice of Moodle as the central technological environment for MUVEnation. Pitiful and useless ! Me, nor Moodle !
Afterwards, I asked for written explanation of partners ideas in our wiki. I wanted to understand (sort of revenge : ‘now explain yourself !’), and also analyse the reasons for their technological choice. To make something coherent from it, to make it work.
To my surprise, I was hit back by simplicity, coherence and harmony of visions. Here I deliver my conclusions and open the discussion about some pending issues.
I decided to make this document public, because I feel that it can help other people trying to find a way to teach “à la” Web2.0 and to negotiate the move from VLEs to social technologies in education. And also, because the recent launch of the MOOC about Connectivism and connective knowledge, and its technological deployment, made me realise, although obvious, that many of us struggle with issues about centralisation versus dispersion of information. And try to find original ways to make co-exist old and new tools : newsletters and mashups, centralised forums in Moodle and PLEs deployed in blogs, wikis, twitter feeds, Elluminate, all together ! For more about this see Matthias Melcher diagram in his First impressions about CCK08.
For the MUVEnation programme, we envisage the use of four basic components, in purple in the map :
- Blog, our central hub for information. In our blog, we will post updates, news and any kind of information about the follow up and progress of the programme and also information about related areas of interest.
- Moodle, a central space for the community of participants to communicate and receive information about activities. In Moodle, participants will build their profile with photo and personal description, access to the forum for having centralised discussions with peers and tutors, access to the weekly activities, participate in synchronous informal discussions thanks to the status indicator and the IMS functionality.
- Wiki, our space for cooperation. This is our space to do things and will be used to develop cooperative activities in three stake areas : analysis needs of teachers teaching in MUVEs, collection of good practices, design of learning patterns.
- MUVEnation island in SL for virtual activities such as meetings, building of educational tools, harvesting good practices, etc.
All participants in the programme will use their own blog, tagging the pertinent content with the tag : MUVEnation. In their blog, used as a blogfolio, the participants will gather their evidence of performance and record weekly reflections on their progress and achievements.
- For those who are comfortable with aggregation, a MUVEnation PageFlakes.
- For those who are comfortable with social media, tagging with MUVEnation all related resources in Flickr, del.icio.us, youtube, and others.
- For those adepts of microbloging, a Twitter profile to follow. But also a Twitter feed for comments about the programme by all the participants, using MUVEnation preceded by a hash (#).
- Other tools may be introduced like VoIP via Skype and Elluminate.
Finally, some comments and replies to interesting issues raised by Pier Giuseppe, Laura, Melanie, Nick, Louise, Erena, Shirley and Karsten :
- One single loging ! Enable a single loging across all environments or limiting the number of loggins is an important issue. The team of the University of Reading, has enabled a kind of single loging feature across WP and Moodle. So once participants register into WP, they are also automatically registered into Moodle, sharing username and password in the two environments. However useful, this feature is not a SSO across all the environments used in the programme. See for example the extra loging required for Pbwiki, for personal blogs, for SL, for Twitter, for Flickr, for Del.icio.us, and so on. We are still technologically far from a SSO for all the electronic environments we use. And, as a personal note, when I use MyOpenID, although useful, it increases the number of clics to loging in the application.
- One place for everything ? Well, this would be the ideal and would resolve somehow the SSO issue. However this is not compatible with the use of the tools we have already deployed : Moodle, blog and wiki. A solution for this was to concentrate everything in Moodle or so set up a new environment where we concentrate all our tools, like Ning or Mixxt. I started to explore this last solution, but I was discouraged by the amount of work to be provided, reproducing somehow all what I have already done, mainly CSS and structure.
- Participants need to own and create their personal learning environment. At the beginning of the project, I thought the participants will have their blog under the MUVEnation WPmu. But, finally I think is better to encourage them to create or to develop a personal space they can use as a learning device and that will exist after the programme finishes.
- We don’t want the participants to get lost or dispersed. Indeed this is the n°1 concern. We are all afraid that teachers, who are not literate in the use of social media, don’t find their way among so many tools. That’s why I proposed, by the way copying CCK08, the use of a (daily) newsletter delivered to the participants’ email. Other tools are, for the most advanced users, the MUVEnation PageFlakes and the twitter feed.
- We need a one stop shop ! Yes, and this will be the MUVEnation website, with links to Moodle, Wiki, SL and Aggregation devices. Here, news will be sent with updates about the activities to carry out and advancement reports. There are, however, two questions here. The first is who post these updates, as we are 23 persons involved in the programme delivering. How not to overlap and repeat posts about the same subjects. Is the project coordinator the programme coordinator, and therefore main writer of news in the blog about the subject ? If not, who does ? We need to clarify our policy for writing here. The second is related to the blog itself. Are we mixing in the same feed our usual posts about MUVEs and education and the posts about the programme Do we need, another blog for this or to create a page where only the posts inside the ‘programme’ category are displayed ?
- Storage, storage ? Where to upload, share and retrieve common resources ? Good unsolved question. Moodle ? Is yes, will participants have the right to upload content to a central resources folder shared by all. Do we need another tool here ?
- Managing identities. The solution provided by the majority consists in using the profile functionality of Moodle and encourage participants to use it : filling with a short bio, putting a photo, and also links to personal resources like a blog. Also some information about the virtual self would be appreciated.
- National and European communities : How to ? There are two major visions about the implementation of the national communities. On one side, use our WPmu and create a blog for each national community. On the other side, create a thematic forum per community. For me these two are compatible and I would go for their integration.
- If we use a given tool (i.e. Moodle), do we have to use all its functionalities ? Some advocate for dropping all what we already have, for instance the wiki, and using only Moodle tools and functionalities, wiki included. Wikis in Moodle have proven to be unusable, they act as silos, information-tight between them. Let’s use the best of Moodle and drop what isn’t working as we need.
- Moodle is old-fashioned, yecch! Indeed, So we need a new skin, and it it is in the MUVEnation colour chart better. Please co to the Moodle themes database.
- Do we need to move to ELGG ? Help ! Nooooooooooooooo !
- MUVEnation, MLIN4 or MLIN408 ? Karsten, where are you ? OK, I thought that returning to the principles of our tagging handbook would be a good idea. But after I recalled that we are all using MUVEnation. Let’s keep it then, despite its 10 characters (which leaves only 130 for twittering). Personally, I don’t mind having 5 characters less in my tweets.
Shirley, my choice goes also for simplicity. Is that possible ?