26 Jun 2017

A New, Open Online Course for Educators Trying to Effectively Integrate Technology



got tpack

Using TPACK Framework for Effective Technology Integration in Teaching


In our new open online, self-access course, on ilearn.today,  you will learn how to use the TPACK Framework to effectively integrate educational technology in your teaching.
It assists you  to develop competencies that will enable you to plan systemically for the selection, utilization and evaluation of technology tools and resources in a pedagogically appropriate manner.
This  open course is designed to be different from most other faculty professional development courses on technology.  While others tend to focus on simply learning the technology tools, leaving it up to the participants to make the connection to pedagogy and content knowledge, this course is based on TPACK which provides for an integrated approach to combining technology, pedagogy and content knowledge.

A digital badge and a certificate of completion will also be provided.

Mode of participation: Online, preferred to sign up in teams for discussions and reflections.


This course is designed so that you will leave with:

  • A broader awareness and understanding of the technologies that can be used by teachers to positively impact teaching and learning
  • An introduction to emerging teaching and learning technologies
  • An awareness and familiarity of the resources available to educators for technology integration
  • Familiarity and experience with TPACK and tools to assess
  • Insights on how your own course syllabus/ lesson plans might change based on what you have learned in the course
  • The ability to assist colleagues (and students) in applying technology to their own teaching and learning activities

Topic Areas:

  • The changing nature of education, students and the modern workplace
  • The TPACK Framework
  • Evaluation tools to assess TPACK
  • Technology utilized will vary


  • Discussion forums
  • E-tivities
  • Final Assessment : Performance assessment (mini-lesson demonstration with technology using the TPACK) (assessed by peers)

Activity Overview

  • Introduction to TPACK and unPACKing TPACK 
  • TPACK Scenario
  • Case studies
  • Activity Types, assessments, and templates
  • (re)design a lesson to integrate technology



Sign up now and take your teaching to the next level.

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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


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.



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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16 Jan 2016

Here’s What the School Accreditation Agencies Are Getting Wrong about Technology Integration

From Jeff Peterson on the Commons

“The Rise of Private International Schools” has been the hype phrase in the education “Galaxy” in recent years. Certainly, parents and their kids are opting more for international schools, with the hope that they receive a world class education (if they can afford the tuition fees anyway). However, to ensure these international schools offer what they claim, they are periodically reviewed by accreditation agencies. Typically, a school has to undergo the accreditation process starting with a self study and ending with the official accreditation evaluation team. Eventually, the team submits an exit report after their visit (which typically lasts few days) whether the school is accredited of not.

But there’s on more add-on to the accreditation process that has gradually been in place for the past decade. The school accreditation agencies now, more than ever, focus on technology integration in schools, as they believe that students should use technology to research, solve problems, communicate, and create authentic materials. The future is technology, and the future is here. I do agree that student technology use is instrumental if they wish to live and compete in the workplace. Our lives now revolve more than ever around technology. However, the school accreditation agencies have regrettably focused on the wrong facet of technology integration. This in turn, generally, contributes in the schools’ heedless purchase of tech tools and gadgets to impress and lure.

I’ve worked with some school accreditation agencies, and all of them (in their review of a traditional brick and mortar school) focus on technology in the classroom, and to a less extent on technology in school, and even much overlooked is out of school technology integration . Some have even developed a standard (with indicators) for technology integration. Below is one criterion of a classroom observation form that all accreditation review team members have to fill out.

Click to enlarge.

The problem with this view is that the classroom setting is considered as the sole place to use technology, and so they constructed their classroom evaluations on it. In this particular accreditation agency, the average rating of classroom technology integration among 34,000 classrooms visited around the world is 1.21 out of 4, which is extremely low. But should we base the evaluation on tech integration on only classroom, or even school use? In fact, a bulk body of research now confirms that classroom technology has  a negative impact on student learning. The OECD report (the first large scale comparative study) on students, schools, and computers shows that students in tech rich schools perform the worst in reading and mathematics as compared to students in tech-average schools.


Students who use computers moderately at school tend to be somewhat more skilled in online reading than students who rarely use computers. But students who use computers very frequently at school do a lot worse in reading, even after accounting for students’ background.


On average, in the past 10 years there has been no appreciable improvement in student achievement in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that have invested heavily in information and communication technologies for education.


Three significant interpretations of the findings

The reason is perhaps two-fold : technology setting and technology use.

1- Tech use (in the classroom) minimizes human touch, which improves deep learning. It is really common sense. Why would one be with his peers and his teacher in one room if there is no frequent face-to-face interaction. Communicative tasks and assignments should be done in class.

2- Use of 20th century teaching with technology is obtrusive. This is the perpetual problem in all schools. From teachers to admin, you can only find a couple of teachers in any given school that really uses 21st century teaching practices with technology.

3- Pedagogies for using technology properly for student achievement are fledgling.


On the other hand, the US Ministry of Education found out that student use of technology outside of the classroom or school (online and blended learning modes) have resulted in great student improvements.


So, next time the external review team tries to assess your tech integration solely on school or classroom technology, make sure they know that technology integration is not only confined within the classroom walls. In fact, it shouldn’t be ,for one of the key features that technology brings is student personalized learning, which unconfined by time and space. And, next time your school tries to purchase those Interactive Whiteboards, caution them on the reality of tech in schools in terms of student achievement, or at least suggest that they need to be data-informed and know whether there is a real return of investment.

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15 Aug 2015

Here’s How to Make Your Moodle Course a Social Learning Course


In an earlier post, 7 Reasons Why Moodle Should Be Your Preferred LMS, I argued that because of its openness and easy customization, Moodle eats any other LMS on breakfast Smile  In this post, I will show you how you can create a social learning course that has the same look and feel, but with much more features, like Edmodo and Google Classroom, both are highly used by k12 schools. This is done by a new Course Format plugin called Socialwall. (Warning: If you have a course set up and want to change its format to Socialwall, be careful as it might yield to undesirable results).

So, let’s assume you had this boring course last year with a focus on topics. Your course includes topics that students should engage in and submit assignments, collaborate, etc. and then move on to a new topic. However, for this year you want to make communication and social learning as central, not topics. You look at Edmodo, Elgg,Google Classroom etc. and like what you see. Now, with the course format plugin called Socialwall you can do just that in Moodle.

The Moodle Socialwall will transform your Moodle course into a social learning platform. This includes a familiar post interface, timeline of posts, filtering of the timeline, and integration with Moodle’s activities and resources. A social learning format allows teachers to pick up the tool and begin using it right away.

Socialwall Official Page on Moodle

Here’s a Quick Slideshow and Video Introducing Socialwall




Installation and Use

Here’s a Google Hangout on How to Install and use Sociallwall course format.


Read the full capabilities of Socialwall on the official Moodle site.

Socialwall is part of a set of plugins that you also need to install. Go to the Socialwall plugin set to install them too. These include:

  • a new Course Format (called socialwall, format_socialwall)


  • a new Filter (filter_urlresource) to alter the way a posted url-Resource will be displayed
  • a local plugin (local_filterurlresbak) to backup and restore the filter data (unfortunately moodle doesn’t support backup and restore for filter data).
  • a new Block to display upcoming events and alerts related to the course (block_alerts).


So, what do you think of Socialwall course format? Will focus on social learning instead of topical learning work with your students, at your institution? Will it work better with corporate learning? Have you used any social learning platforms before like Elgg or Edmodo? How do they compare?

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11 Aug 2015

The Techno-Centric Teachers: Will it ever go away?


“Did you check out that cool ClassDojo app? It lets you control your students and their behaviors”, “ I found a great hardware that I can add to my Tablet. I think I can find a way to use it in my classroom”, “ Hey, this tool I came across lets you take photos and add some cool interactive layers. I must fit it in one of my classes”. These are some of the talks you hear whilst sitting with teachers who are fascinated by the next big thing, excited with the  new cool tool, and they can’t wait to try it with their students (their guinea pigs).  What’s up with most of the 21-century teachers, those who are fascinated by technology, those techno-centric teachers? Why do they keep running after the first tool that appears, the first app that they download, and then they try to squeeze it in their lesson plans; whether it fits with the learning objectives or not. In fact, I have seen some teachers change their lesson plans altogether, and the learning objectives just to fit with the cool tool they would like to use. If you want proof, check out any two blogs on education and technology. I bet you that the one that updates the blog readers on new apps and tools get the much higher traffic and social media shares. The other blog that talks about how to help students learn through technology gets a much lower visitor traffic and shares. There are some exceptions of course.

Come on guys! Your are learning experts. Deep learning should be your top priority. I have seen it over and over again, every year, with so many teachers. I have rarely seen a teacher who starts with the learning target and learning activity type in mind, and then fit the right technology. It is always the other way round, with most teachers I meet or work with. They are always charmed by the novelty effect of technology. Their students too think it’s cool, but what about the result?  what about student achievement? What about learning? These are all kicked downstairs, so it seems; a bypass of trying a new technological tool.

The school administrations are not helping too. They are in the same boat with the tech-centric teachers. “We have installed interactive whiteboards in 50% of the classrooms, use them”, “We have bought great classroom projectors”, “We have subscribed all in x website, use it”, it never ends. I am really tired of hearing this everywhere, in schools and educational conferences.

Edtech vendors are also the culprits. They push so hard with their advertisements and marketing strategies, and biased research reports on how their edtech tool helped students increase their achievement in x school, or y university. That is just nonsense. No edtech tool alone can do it. Without proper alignment of technology with the learning objectives and school ecology, it won’t work. You are just deluding yourself that it works because what you see as “student engagement” you interpret as “student achievement”.

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07 Aug 2015

7 Reasons Why Moodle Should Be Your Preferred LMS

Forget about all proprietary LMSs, vendors shoving their LMSs down the educational institutions’,  corporates’, and edupreneurs’ prefrontal lobe (a region in the brain responsible for decision making). All claiming that their LMS will result in measurable learning achievements, with ROI and all that nonsense. If you have been long enough in the ( e )learning domain like me, you should know that LMSs don’t make much a difference in learning outcome. Yes, you should evaluate LMSs based on your learning needs, but that’s just it, learning needs change and evolve to fit the perpetual needs of your school, university, or corporation. This is why you need an LMS which is generic, adaptable, versatile and open. Some edtech vendors claim that their product supports collaboration, others communication, another instructor-based. Still more claim that their LMS is interactive (although interactivity has little to do with achievement). More vendors claim that they have conducted (biased) research proving (yeah!) that their LMS resulted in a corporate’s ROI, a school students’ achievement because of its “personalization features”. I have always pointed out to educators and learning specialists that there is a continuous push and pull between pedagogy and technology; each affecting and reshaping the other.

As an educator, I fell in love with Moodle because of its continuous evolution, openness, versatility, and adaptability; a Swiss knife that works great if you know which tool to use for the right reason and the right time. Whenever I hear the word “Moodle” it incites the warm, fuzzy feeling of a great environment to enrich and optimize learning. Below are 7 reasons (out of many others) why Moodle must be your preferred LMS.

1. Openness

Moodle’s openness means that it is open source (free), and will always be, and that anyone can tweak Moodle to fit their institution learning needs. All you need is a robust Moodle hosting service with good technical support and you shouldn’t worry about a thing. You have to have a Moodle admin among your personnel to manage the whole Moodle site however. And now, with the SaaS (Software as a Service) is on the rise, you shouldn’t worry a bit about the technical glitches, support etc.

2. Versatility

Did I mention above that Moodle is like a Swiss Knife? Well, it’s an evolving Swiss Knife. Although it has a tool for every intended activity/task/objective, its tools always get better, and more varied. All of this is thanks to Moodle’s regular upgrades based on users’ feedback and suggestions. Moodle is packed with features that you do not find in any proprietary LMS provider. Take my word for it. You only need to know, and teach with Moodle for some time to realize how versatile it is. I have tried and taught using many other LMSs at universities, schools, and professional development courses. LMSs like Docebo, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Canvas, Edmodo, you name it, None got close to Moodle versatile Swiss knife capabilities.

3. Adaptability

Being an open source LMS means that anyone can adapt Moodle to their needs. There are some edtech companies that have built their LMSs on Moodle or Moodle distribution (e.g. Totara, Joule). Totara for example is a customized Moodle distribution that targets the corporate sector. Well, you don’t have to go this far to adapt Moodle for your needs. All it takes is some planning in terms of matching the feature you need to the learning outcome you wish to achieve. Then, you can have someone, a freelancer, one of your IT personnel, a Moodle service provider or a Moodle partner to add that feature or plugin. For example, why would one need to use Edmodo, a social approach to an LMS largely adopted by K12 school, while you can have all it capabilities in Moodle? (I will publish another post showing how this can be done)

4. Bridging the Digital Divide

Now, this is one of my favorites “bridging the digital divide”. By definition, the digital divide is the ability for some students/learners to access technological resources easily while others cannot, or can only do it sparingly. Since Moodle is open source, thus it’s free, thus it is less expensive to install and deploy, the technology fee incurred on the institution and thus the learners/students will be much less. I recall in the days when we were considering to use Blackboard for our students, the price tag was so expensive that we had to reconsider the tuition fees. Educational institutions many times adopt proprietary LMSs like Blackboard and Canvas because they give a feel that their institution is of a high stature. I asked this question to my professor when I was doing my masters degree in edtech and TESOL. He said that using a proprietary LMS gives a sense to the students and faculty that this university is prestigious. It has nothing to do with adaptability, engagement, etc. it has to do with prestige. Yet, still some prestigious universities use Moodle ( AUB, Open University, ASU etc.) because they believe by using Moodle you feel at home. You have the sense that you own the LMS not that you subscribe to the LMS. You have the sense that you can mold it the way you want, and as you see it fit.

5. Support Community

You will never find a more responsive, more diverse, and larger support community than that of Moodle. Head to Moodle community now and you will know what I mean. The support comes mainly from users around the globe who use Moodle like you, and there community moderators who support and respond very efficiently from technical to pedagogical aspects of Moodle environment. Unlike other propreitry LMS, users are the ones who take charge more than the platform support team. You directly feel that you are with like-minded people at Moodle community who have closely similar objectives and who are willing to share and support each other. There is even research community on the impact of Moodle or how research impact how Moodle is developed. However,  support community is not only confined to moodle.org, many blogger, tweeters, PLCs have created their own presence online to help other users to teacher with Moodle.

6. Omnipresence

Moodle pops up in all learning sectors, in the health care, k12 schools, corporates, universities, freelancers teaching online, you name it. Moodle’s highly adaptable inherent characteristic makes it fit for all learning needs. Moodle is also present around the globe (at least those that have registered), in multiple languages. In fact, there are many Moodle users whose language is not English. The omnipresence of Moodle, in terms of sectors and geographical locations, makes it the unbeatable LMS.

Moodle seems has the most users in the Learning Management System market. It currently boasts an estimated 73.8 million users. Edmodo comes in second and Blackboard rounds out the top 3, with around 20 million users each


moodle stats

Moodle is also second in terms of number of satisfied customers (remember that it is open source, and so it relies on the Moodle provider or whoever is managing Moodle for supporting customers).

Not to forget that Moodle has been consistently chosen by many reviewers and critics as one of the top learning tools/ LMS consistently every year. It has been chosen by PCmag as the best LMS in 2015.


7. Moodle is now Mobile

With the ubiquity of mlearning, Moodle developers have met the Moodle users’ needs by developing Moodle Mobile. Although it has limited functionality now, this shows that Moodle is on the right track and that more developments will see light in the near future. Few days ago Moodle announced the Moodle Mobile 2.0 with

it’s a completely new app built from the ground up, and you’ll soon notice a cleaner-looking, snappier app with some cool new features




Do you have some additional reasons why Moodle should be everyone’s LMS of choice? Share your reasons in the comments below !

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