Monday, March 21, 2011

Playing around in Moodle and Blackboard Course Management

So since I am very familiar with blackboard as a student and course administrator, I spent more time trying to figure out Moodle. I found it very frustrating and I missed the module set up of Blackboard. With BB's compact display, I did not have to scroll as much to get were I needed to go and I like it personally when I don't have to spend so much time scrolling to get to where I want. I didn't like if I used Moodle docs that it took me to a different site and it didn't open up in a new window, so I had to use the browser buttons to navigate the site.

Of course, if I used it all the time I would become familiar with the features and it would be second nature. I know at the University, there is lots of support and training for using Blackboard and I wonder if the same is true for Moodle and that a whole school district could adopt it for its course management system. According to their site you can, but I would worry about server connectivity, back up and help for the manager as well as the student. And even though you have to pay for Blackboard, I believe there is more support for all the users. Now mind you, this is based on limited use by my part, but I did read many reviews about both systems.

I could see how Moodle would be great for using with perhaps personal groups like a book club, a 4H group or perhaps even a athletic team. This would be a great way to post information for everyone and disseminate information in an effective way that didn't require a lot of paper, really be green and keep things digital. Of course that means that all members have to have internet access and we have to keep in mind that even though it seems everywhere, not everyone still has it at home. (I even know a few professors that are too cheap to have it at home, if you can believe that).

Overall, course management for a course needs to be determined by the school so that there is consistency and then there needs to be support for whatever system. If it is at a personal level, I could really take advantage of an open source site like Moodle and its affordability, and I do have enrollment in some personal educational sites that are really helpful.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I am in love with my Smart Phone

So my first mobile phone was a bag phone that stayed in my car and was mainly there for emergency purposes, phones have come a long way since then. Now they are these mobile pocket computers. I can still make phone calls, but I can do so much more. I can keep a calendar, read my email, search the web, find a local restaurant and get directions, scan bar codes to compare prices and now with evernote I can read files from my phone.

So now I carry my desktop with me in my purse, and what I find really amazing, I like reading on my phone better than my computer. Most sites and apps adapt the width and size of text to optimize it for reading. It is so easy to read, I find myself waiting to read things on my phone. Recently my daughter has required many trips to the doctor and Children's Mercy, so I have had a lot of time in waiting rooms and car trips (my husband drives so I can study) and my phone has been incredible. I can hardly wait until Warrensburg gets high speed internet, pages load so quickly when we are in the city. Of course, if I am in a wifi zone, it is awesome.

It also has an incredible camera and video. I used to carry a separate point-n-shoot camera, but now I don't have to because my phone does such an incredible job. And if we think about it, so many news outlets now depend on eye witness accounts taken with phone video. And even though I don't have an iPhone, my android phone is just as awesome, and in a way I am glad I am learning that operating system, since I have an iPod touch and iPad.

So if we embrace this technology and teach our students to use it for more than just texting, there is a world of educational possibilities. There is even a site called Wiffiti that lets you send text to a cite that can then be displayed, what a way to bring technology into the classroom and let students use this powerful tool they have in their pocket.