Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Wimba Way

Not Moodle related - actually, that's not true, the content is Moodle related, but the technology is far removed in that it didn't work very well...
This evening on the Naace list was a post from Drew Buddie, saying that he was doing a presentation ("Riding the Moodle Wave - using Moodle to enhance teaching & learning") about Moodle online. It's based in yet another "virtual classroom" system called Horizon Wimba. It worked OK (eventually), but the setup process was very very laborious - lots of installing of Java applications and the only way I could get the audio working was to disable my firewall - something that didn't engender a lot of confidence in me.
Something like Breeze is (to my mind) far easier to use (as well as being less clunky), but Drew's (audio and slides) presentation came across well. The system worked, but it was a very geeky environment - lots of new windows popping up, particularly for application sharing. For anyone who doesn't like playing around with technology but would rather watch a presentation, Breeze is (in my opinion) a far better bet, mainly as it's all done through Flash, which streamlines the "getting access to the lecture / presentation" stage much more smooth. Should you want to view it (it's about an hour) here's the archive (Quicktime required, apparently). Partially it's clearly a marketing thing for HW (understandably) who also make CourseGenie, which is a tool to make Office documents etc. into learning objects.
Tomorrow is a day in Birmingham at a Becta seminar on Transforming Schools - which appears to take cues from the BSF (Building Schools of the Future) programme. I'll be interested to see how the technology angle is pitched, and hope to talk to some people from Becta as a follow-up to some enquiries I made at Naace.
On Thursday is the Buckinghamshire ICT Conference, where I'll give some information on the learning platform we're offering to schools in Buckinghamshire - two of the major components of which are Moodle and Breeze.
Then finally, next week is the local SEGfL (South-East Grid for Learning) Learning Platforms Roadshow in Maidenhead on the 22nd March. Mike Woods and I will be leading (or contributing to, I'm not sure) a session described as "Local Authorities and schools outline their experiences from the introduction of Learning Platforms in their establishments. These workshops will demonstrate the benefits and pitfalls in an informal setting". Right, better get writing then...

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