Part 2: Not a Moodle Plugin But Sure Helps


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Part 1: Not a Moodle Plugin But Sure Helps


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Moodle Activities Plugin – Questionnaire

One of my favorite activities plugin that I discovered was the questionnaire plugin. I use the questionnaire plugin for all sorts of surveys that I take over the course of the year.  For example, at the beginning of the year I have students take a survey as to what technology tools do they have at home and whether that have access to the Internet. Or during the course of the year I may have students fill out survey (questionnaire) on what topic is their first, second, or third choice when completing a project. I may use one to determine the outcome of an activity’s presentation.  For example, students would vote on which presentation gave the most convincing argument.  Some teachers will say to me, “I see there is already a survey activity available on the Moodle. Why not just use the built-in survey?”  The thing to keep in mind is that the Survey module is that it provides various survey instruments (COLLES or ATTLS).  When attempting to extract information from students, as I mentioned above, you need to install the questionnaire plugin.
As with other plugins, I return to Moodle.org and go into the download section of the site. The video below walks you through finding, downloading, installing and adding your first questionnaire.
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Moodle and The Many Plugins

I thought I would spend the next week or so going over some of the handy free plugins that are available to add to your Moodle site.  These plugins add a variety of features that don’t come with the initial installation of Moodle.  But for I get started with them, I wanted to talk about how easy it has become to install these plugins.  Back in the old days of installing a plugin you really had to know where things went in order to get the plugin working. What do I mean where things went?  Well, if it was an activity plugin, you had to make sure it went into the mod folder either by having direct access to the server or being able to ftp into the server. But that wasn’t all! You then had language .php file that had to go into the correct lang folder (in my case the en folder within the lang folder). And if it was a block plugin?  Same procedure but with the plugin going into the blocks folder.   Course plugin? Course folder. You get the general idea.  Of course after doing it over and over again you would get the hang of it and it would almost become a robotic response to adding these plugins.
Now if you have administrator rights it is really easy! Especially after having to proceed as mentioned above.  It is as simple as finding the plugin you want and adding it to your Moodle through a simple procedure.  The video below will show you where to locate the plugins.
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Are Teachers Becoming Obsolete?

Well, as October winds down and all conference presentations over the past two weeks come to a close a few things come to mind.  First, while at the Tech Forum NY, I got into a number of conversations with other presenters the night before at dinner.   One conversation was with all of the technology and on-line courses available were teachers becoming obsolete?  Now I suppose if I wanted to stir people up I could propose that.  Sure there are great courses available on-line that are often offered for free.  I would encourage people to take advantage of these opportunities.  Learning is a life long process.  However, there is one thing that concerns me. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong advocate for technology.  But not for the sake of simply having technology.   As social media grows and develops, students and educators embrace this as a way of opening up doors to learning.  Blogging, tweeting, texting, etc. allow people to express themselves to those beyond their traditional social network.
But beyond all of this, my concern is are we losing our ability in how we relate to one another in real life? Real life?  When I step away from my computer, iPad, smartphone, or any other device and go outside and meet with people face-to-face do I know how to engage in a real life conversations?  A great email was sent to me that showed people out with friends in various social environments where everyone was together physically, but everyone was on their devices texting others.  Michael Rogers, in his keynote address at the CECA conference, spoke about having a discussion with HR people in major companies who told him that their departments are spending more resources on “teaching” employees how to interact with others!
Which brings use back to the beginning…are teachers becoming obsolete?  I would say teachers aren’t obsolete, they are essential as mentors and advisors.  What is obsolete is the methodology that they may use.  We need to take a more student-centered approach.  We need to look into flipping our classrooms.  We need to get students out of their chairs and moving about. In so doing, we work with our students in learning to work collaboratively, cooperatively, and creatively!
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These Are A Few Of My Favoirte Things

As the end of the year approaches and everyone has their top 10 lists for 2012, I thought I’d include my own related to educational technology.  Please note these may not be new for 2012, but just either things I discovered in 2012 or use all of the time. So here it goes in no certain order.
    So here is my list for this year. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some software or hardware that I find indispensable. Look for updates of this list, where 10 may become 11, 12, 13….
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