Wednesday, February 06, 2008

OpenLearn - remix content for your secondary Moodle

It seems a long, long time ago that I was at the MoodleMoot before last held at the Open University. Around that time (and since, and probably before) the idea of a UK-based version of MIT's OpenCourseware was floating around - and with the announcement that the OU was going to use Moodle as its VLE this came closer.

Well, since last year the OpenLearn initiative has been available and, with our upcoming upgrade to Moodle 1.8 over half-term, it's worth a closer look.
The OpenLearn scheme has two main areas - the LearnSpace (for those who want to learn) and LabSpace (for those who want to use and remix the learning resources). The resources in LabSpace are available in IMS Content Packages, Moodle Backup format (see, I knew we were on to something...), RSS feeds, and OU XML feed and simple zip file backups of all the individual assets.
As well as the courses and resources, a number of tools are available - the usual FlashMeeting tool, Compendium (a concept-mapping tool integrated with Moodle via a custom block which can be incorporated into your/my Moodle distribution) and MSG - an enhanced instant messaging tool.
For me, though, the most exciting part about this is the ability to remix (see how I'm refraining from using the word 'mashup' here? Oops....) the learning resources and bring them in to secondary school Moodles to support and extend existing curriculum materials - ideal for gifted and talented pupils? There's an excellent testimony on the OpenLearn site of the winner of the OpenLearn reuse 2007 competition - reusing OpenLearn biology materials in an Australian secondary school.
In common with the self-healing demo courses on the main Moodle web site, LabSpace has a PlaySpace where you can experiment with some of the materials, so... go play!

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