Crucial Thought Rss

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Chris selected as K12OnlineConference keynote speaker Each year the K12OnlineConference provides tremendous professional development for free, and entirely online. This year, they have selected me as one of their keynote speakers. I am thrilled to have been chosen and look forward to participating in the conversation. Read the full post announcing all the keynote speakers here.

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Two quick links on Cognitive Load Theory I've been fielding lots of questions lately about Cognitive Load Theory. Here are two quick links that may be useful. First is an article talking about the practical implications of CLT on the design of learning. The second are some "recent" (as of 2003) developments regarding CLT. Happy reading! Update: I clarified the second...

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Practical advice on kids and Android app development After hearing about my students' success developing an Android app, I've gotten several emails asking for more details as to how I practically worked with my kids. Here are some pointers that I offered to the first person that emailed me, perhaps they are of some use to you. Please note that your mileage may vary. It's ok to not be...

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Publishing an App Inventor app to the Android Market As I mentioned earlier, my students and I published an Android app to the Android Market. See those links for more information on the background. This post is decidedly technical. First, once we finished the coding process, we packaged the app for to download to the computer. This is an option in App Inventor. This downloaded an .apk file....

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Designing and publishing an Android app with kids This post is designed to provide some context around how/why we decided to build this app. The more technical details of the code and how we published it will come in a future post. My students and I recently completed and published an Android app, and here's how we did it. First, the genesis for this goes back to a question I asked...

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Abandoning Moodle

Category : Educational Technology, General, Software

I’ve become disillusioned with Moodle lately and this summer I made the decision to abandon it in favor of a new solution. Here is the process that I went through to make the decision.

1. Ever since I upgrade from Moodle 1.9.x to Moodle 2.0, I’ve been displeased. I was hoping for the new release to bring me new features and new ways of extending the learning into cyberspace. All it brought me was pain. The upgrade itself took hours, and required lengthy trips into the user support forum. I don’t mind that kind of work, but I have to wonder if my time isn’t better spent elsewhere.

2. Version 2.0 is a design nightmare. The collabsible menus are awful, and the site still feels like Web 1.0. The more I used it, the more I realized it was time for a new solution.

3. I had issues with the number of concurrent users. I moved from my shared hosting account to a virtual private server and still could not get any more than about 10 concurrent users. That is too few and was very frustrating. I was facing the need to upgrade further, which was not economically feasible.

So I went looking for something new. I looked at Instructure’s Canvas, but quickly figured out that it is not designed for students as young as mine (by their own admission). I also spoke to the kind folks at Schooltown, but by that time I had already settled into my new solution, which I am thus far quite pleased with.

But first, it’s worth noting that I wanted something not free. I want to pay for it. I want the right to call and fuss and get help from the folks who work there.

So let’s talk about my new solution

I’ve been using Haiku Learning for a month or now and have been pleased. It has some limitations that frustrate me but the folks there have been very open about their DNA.

And I’m paying for it. I’m paying a bit less than five US dollars per month and I get what I need. I like the features that it has, including

  • automatically graded quizzes
  • discussion forums (the Latin teacher in me wanted to put fora)
  • snazzy polls
  • easy embedding of outside content (they have something called embed the web which allows me to easily embed most anything)
  • good support

We shall see what the future holds, especially as I begin to use it with kids. After all, they’re the ones who will help me really decide whether to continue to use Haiku or not.

Comments (5)

Nice review and a good way to encapsulate the “cost” of free. There’s something pretty great about software that just works.

And here I thought web 2.0 was about features, not presentation!

@Anthony: I am getting more and more into the SaaS model, as it leads to faster development (I think) and fewer hassles when it’s time to upgrade.

@Jim: I am not sure what you mean. I don’t mention Web 2.0 in my post at all. I’d argue that Web 2.0 is about enabling content creation by learners, something Moodle doesn’t do very well. One feature of Haiku I like it called Wikiprojects, which allow students to easily create content, or so it seems.

Say more?

Chris

Hello, Chris,

Nice writeup -

RE: ” I am getting more and more into the SaaS model, as it leads to faster development (I think) and fewer hassles when it’s time to upgrade.”

The speed of development would be more readily affected by how developer time is being prioritized, so that’s less affected by SaaS and more a function of the priorities of the supporting company.

RE fewer hassles on upgrades, the “hassles” should be invisible to the end user, as they are addressed by the supporting company. However, the downside of SaaS is a reduced ability to customize – if you keep customizations to a minimum on stuff you roll yourself, then upgrades are easier to manage there as well.

In a lot of ways, the biggest benefit of SaaS is that we are protected from our tendency to fidget (or at least to fidget without the safety net of a development to QA to Production workflow :) )

Cheers,

Bill

[...] Abandoning Moodle | Crucial Thought Much as we might hope that moving to Moodle 2.1 will bring some benefits over our existing Moodle 1.9 installation it seems that some who have made the change are less than impressed. In this case, so unimpressed that Moodle has been abandoned by this user in favour of Haiku, an LMS I'd never heard of but one that seems to offer the base features that might be needed and possibly a more attractive look than Moodle. (tags: usqict ee4l elearning dlrn) [...]