Friday, May 18, 2007

A free Moodle digital pencil case course

OK, well this is my first foray into the giving courses away outside of Bucks world. I should probably do this via the Moodle Exchange (and maybe I might) but at the moment this will do.
One thing that implementing a VLE does is raise the bar in terms of what's expected of pupils and staff. When I was at school there were certain things I was expected to have in my pencil case - eraser, pencil sharpener, pencil, pen, protactor, set squares, ruler, etc. - what's the digital pencil case supposed to include nowadays?
One of our schools (Great Marlow) has a link on the front page of its Moodle with links to useful downloads which goes some way to thinking about this - equipping pupils and staff with the tools they will need, without requiring Dad (or Mum) to have the latest version of MS Office. Even the £100 student version is too much for some people to buy, so why not give them (and everyone) a leg up?
So, here's a course (~400kb file in Moodle 1.6.5+ backup format) which you can put into your Moodle which contains sections which will help your staff and pupils / students to get hold of those resources. They are broken down into categories - Office suites, word processors, presentation tools etc. - and are by no means exhaustive. However, if you fancy putting this on your Moodle site then please go ahead. If you use this and find it useful, please let me know by adding a comment to this post - if it's useful then I'll try and share some more (subject to time constraints of course, I have a day job somewhere...).

A few notes & tips:

  • Creative Commons Licensethis is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommerical-Share Alike 3.0 License - in English this means, please share it, please change it, but you have to attribute it to the author, any derivative versions must be shared with the same license and finally you can't make money from it (a note to SchoolAnywhere there - who are still bugging our primary schools with marketing emails (="spam" as far as the schools are concerned) saying "would you like to buy a Moodle from us?" - gentlemen, save your time and effort, they have this for free...);
  • the file is a zip file - but don't open it either in WinZip or XP's compressed files utility. It's designed to be uploaded to a Moodle site and then restored to a full course;
  • this was backed up from Moodle 1.6.3+ - which means you should be able to use it in any v1.7 or 1.8 site. To use it on your Moodle site use the Restore function to add it as a new course;
  • there are two hidden items at the top of the course - one is some notes for teachers and the other is a forum which you could show if you wanted pupils to share other tools which they had discovered. There's also a custom scale in the course for everyone to rate the tools suggested in this forum;
  • either enrol everyone on this course or allow anyone to enrol themselves (i.e. don't put an enrolment key on it). I wouldn't allow guests in, especially if you are using the forum to allow pupils to say things about tools they've used;
  • if you improve it let me know! There aren't sections on Audio Editing, Video Editing, Animation or Curriculum Tools etc. as I wanted to make a "vanilla" course which would cover essentials which most people would want / need to use at some point, so please feel free to add your own under the terms of the license - there are some blank sections at the foot of the course for this, or you could always add more under the Administration panel's Settings link;
  • finally, just to repeat, if you find it useful please add a comment to this post and say so, that way I know any appropriate future courses can be usefully shared.

Happy Moodling!