28 Jul 2016

Moodle Mobile Update 3.1 Adds the Ability to Submit Assignments

 

Great news today for Moodle users, especially who love accessing their Moodle site using their mobile phones. Moodle mobile, though lagging behind in terms of interactivity with the course contents, is a work in progress. Today, Moodle announced a great update to its Moodle mobile app. Moodle students now are able to submit assignments, in-text and file submissions, using their Moodle Mobile app. Also, if using the wiki tool in Moodle, you can edit the wiki using the Moodle Mobile App. All you have to do it update your Moodle Mobile on your phone. Below is Moodle’s announcement of the update.

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23 Jul 2016

Student Competencies and Learning Plans in Moodle 3.1 that You Really Need to Harness

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The new trend of competency based education is taking the education institutions by storm. Personally, I do not think it is a fad and that it might wither away down the road. Competency based education advocates have been diligently at work for years to make it seep into the educational institutions’ culture. INACOL’s latest project  Competencyworks is one example. As defined by CompetencyWorks, competency education

refers to a systems model in which (1) teaching and learning are designed to ensure students are becoming proficient by advancing on demonstrated mastery and (2) schools are organized to provide timely and differentiated support to ensure equity. A competency-based structure enables personalized learning to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible. With clear and calibrated understanding of proficiency, learning can be tailored to each student’s strengths, needs, and interests and enable student voice and choice in what, how, when, and where they learn.

Some of the characteristics of CBE are, as defined by CompetencyWorks, ar =e

  • Students advance upon mastery.
  • Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students.
  • Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students.
  • Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.
  • Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.

 

Educational vendors, especially, educational technology vendors, have capitalized on CBE, sometimes renaming it as  mastery-based education, to bring in customers. Moodle, the open source learning management system, has added Competencies features for its new Moodle 3.1 release that administrators, teachers, and students, if using them right, will find them remarkably beneficial.

Competencies in Moodle 3.1

Competencies features are broken into three parts in Moodle, and each part is interacted differently by Moodle admins, Moodle course teachers, and Moodle students.

1. Competency Framework is where the Moodle administrator names the framework with which teachers and students will work on.

2. Competencies are the competencies that the Admin links to the competency Frameworks and then Moodle Admin or the teacher can link the competency to the course. Teachers can also link activities to competencies.

3. Student Learning Plan is where the student with the help of the teacher constructs a learning plan and links it to competencies that he or she needs to meet.

 

Below is a video playlist of three parts on how teachers, admin and students can use competencies in Moodle.

 

Moodle also has two plugins if you need to import or export competencies. This comes it really easy to transfer competencies in and out of Moodle instead of manually entering them.

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18 Jul 2016

Educators’ Online Professional Learning Practices and Experiences: An infographic

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More than ever, educators in k-12 schools and higher education are using online courses, communities, and resources for professional learning. Online professional learning is convenient in terms of time and place, two factors face-to-face workshops and conferences do not and cannot provide. This results in more ingrained and situated professional learning as educators get the time to experiment in their daily work, reflect on significance, and then re-iterate, amend, or quit an education method, technique, or approach. But, what is the nature of educators’ online professional learning practices and experiences? Why do educators choose online professional learning? What are the common topics they seek to develop? and via what means do they seek their online professional learning? To answer these questions, the Education Technology Industry Network of SIIA conducted a survey of world-wide k-20 educators. The Report summarizes the results from the 2016 Vision K-20 Professional Learning (PL) Survey. The Vision K-20 PL Survey asks K-20 education leaders around the globe to provide information about their online professional learning practices and experience. The results from this survey will help us and our partners better understand how K-20 educators are using online professional learning opportunities and what they hope to gain from them. The report includes an interesting infographic that mainly contrasts how k-12 and higher education educators experience and practice via their online professional learning.

 

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The report shows how education technology vendors might be spending more effort in developing to meet the needs and interests of educators. One questions still stands however, are vendors overselling their products to educators? and are educators in turn, as their schools are, falling into the trap of “wow” factor of technology?

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11 Jul 2016

New and Updated Google Sites for Early Adopters

What’s new: Google Sites is one of the most popular products among our enterprise customers, and we’ve been working on an update that makes it even easier for employees to share information within their company.

With the new Google Sites, you can build beautiful, functional pages to aggregate and distribute content across your enterprise, optimized for every screen. A new intuitive drag-and-drop design experience supports real-time collaboration by multiple editors, just like in Docs, and offers easy access to all your content from Calendar, Docs, Drive, Maps and more. The new Sites also includes themes and layouts designed to scale and flex to any screen size, so they’re as useful when you access them on the 30-inch monitor at your desk or your smartphone on your commute.

Additional information for Apps administrators:

  • The classic version of Google Sites will remain fully functional for at least one year.
  • In the future, we will provide options for moving content from classic Google Sites.

If you’re the admin of a company that runs on Google Apps for Work, you can express your interest in the Google Sites Early Adopter Program here

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11 Jul 2016

5 New and Updated Google Tools for Education That You Might’ve missed

 

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Most tech giants (Google, Microsoft, Intel, Apple, HP…) are racing to contribute to the education domain by providing powerful free, mostly cloud based,  tools and resources, for students, teachers, schools, and universities. Most of them believe in education and the vast economic gains the world will reap when students are taught 21st century skills using technology to facilitate instruction and student created content. One of those leading tech giants is of course Google.

Google has entered the education domain years back but has only staunchly and gradually offered more tools and features when they started offering Google Apps for Education free for all educational institutions. Since then, Google has spent a lot of time and effort in developing tools to help students learn, educators facilitate, and schools lead into the 21st century learning paradigm.

Recently, and specifically in the ISTE 2016 convention, Google has updated and created new Google Tools that perhaps most educators are still not aware of. Here they are with no preference:

1. Google Expeditions

Bring your lessons to life with Google Expeditions. Cannot go on a school bus and explore the coral reef? No problem. Google Expeditions let your students immerse in a 3600  of virtual reality. Just imagine exploring coral reefs or the surface of Mars in an afternoon. With Expeditions, teachers can take students on immersive, virtual journeys. Google expeditions was offered for schools that apply for it in a pioneer program, but now it is available for everyone via its Google Expedition App. Teachers can add points of interest for students to explore during their virtual journey. The Google Expeditions can be 3D only with Google Cardboard however. You can also explore Google Expeditions Kits to further enhance student experiences. Teacher can build inquiry-based activities around Google expeditions before, during, and after the lesson.  Learn more about Google Expeditions and how to get started here.

 

2. Science Journal App

The Science Journal app allows you to gather data from the world around you., what we educators call “augmented reality”.  It uses sensors to measure your environment, like light and sound, so you can graph your data, record your experiments, and organize your questions and ideas. The key is to help students experiment, recreating the same experiment over and over using the same and variable conditions. Students use the app to record data and interpret results. Science Journal App was developed by Google to help students and teachers delve into their surroundings using inquiry-based approach. Teachers can set up driving questions to help students inquire. The app can be used in a lesson as part of a project based learning unit or as a standalone lesson. Google has also provided a Making with Science website that contains the App, activities, materials (if one wants to connect external hardware), and much more for teachers and students.

 

3. Google Arts and Culture

Google’s Arts and Culture Institute (There’s an App now) brings the world’s art to your fingertips. Let students discover artworks, collections and stories from all around the world like never before. Students get explore arts in museums around the world in virtual museum trips. Students can zoom in works of art close, real close, that a person with a naked eye present in the museum cannot. This will allow the teacher to guide students into questioning the techniques used for let’s say constructing a paint or unravel hidden icons. Student will have an all-museum view, inside and outside, they will also curate digital arts and exhibitions. In addition to arts, students can historic moments and world wonders. Go to t Google’s Arts and Culture Website to explore more.

 

4. Google Cast

Although not specifically a generic tool used for education, google cast lets you cast your favorite entertainment and apps from your phone, tablet or laptop right to your TV or speakers.For classroom use, the teacher or student can cast his screen to other tablets or phones using the Google Cast App. Go to Google Cast Website to Find out more.

5. Google Forms Quiz

I have published an earlier post on the new Google Forms Quiz here.

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30 Jun 2016

Google Forms Quiz: A much needed feature for teachers

Finally, Google has added the Google Forms Quiz feature to its Google Forms. Now, instead of correcting students’ responses manually or use a script like Flubaroo, the Google Forms Quiz is now built in the Google Forms itself, and has so many great features that will make all teachers happy.

Here’s How to Create the Quiz

  1. Go to forms.google.com . Or go to your Google Drive then click New and then choose Forms
  2. From Google Forms Setting icon, click on Quizzes

settings

3. Change the Form template to a quiz. Then select the options that you prefer. You can have the results directly displayed to students or you can postpone the results after you do a manual review. You can also choose what results students can see (Missed Questions, correct questions, or/and point values). IT is also important to note that you if you need students to have only one response they need to be logged in their google Apps account or Gmail account. You need to select this option from “General Settings”. Also, if you want to shuffle questions, you need to select it under the “Presentation” option.

quiz template

choose preference

4. Add your question and choices. Please note that Google Quiz only works with Multiple choice, checkbox, and list questions.

 

choose question

5. Choose the correct answers and set the point value by clicking on the “Answer Key”. Select the correct answers.

nswer key

 

select ansers

6. Select the Feedback for Correct and Incorrect Answers. You can add links to additional resources to help students modify their thinking.

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Then click “Save”. Do not forget to click “add” once you add a link.

 

7. Click on the Eye icon to check how the form looks like for your students.

 

One thing google needs to add is the personalized answers to the incorrect choices, a feature found in Moodle that I highly appreciate. I think it is not too long before Google gradually turns Google Apps for Education full of LMSs features.

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27 Jun 2016

Moodle Has Outdone Itself in Moodle 3.1 Release

Gold fish with shark flipWith Moodle 3.1 release in May, Moodle has really improved in it updates. We all know the myriad of updates Moodle has been with in the past couple of years due to coping with the exponential explosion of new web features and LMSs vendors. The Moodle 3.1 release includes many new features and improvements of earlier features. See below a video list of Moodle 31. overview and video explanation of new as well as improved features.

 

 

New and Updated Feature Include:

For Teachers

 

For Administrators

 

For All Users

 

One particular new feature that Moodle 3.1 has included is the Competency Based Education (CBE) Module. This is a great move from Moodle Headquarters as the current trend of education is for competency based. In addition to  linking courses to Competencies that students need to meet, CBE module includes an educational plan, a great feature the helps personalizing the experiential factor of learning and supporting the learners’ metacognition. In a later post, I will discuss how CBE feature potential can be maximized.

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