We are still evaluating TODCM for use in our district. This open source curriculum mapping software is very cool. It has a really nice interface and seems no more complicated than others on the market. I just figured out how to import the Common Core strands, benchmarks, and standards for Math and Language Arts! Importing required some MySQL ninja magic – of which I have no idea but can follow instructions. Seems to have everything in and working. Now on to the next step in our evaluation.
What a crazy friday! We had a false-positive virus detected by AVG that killed printing when the teachers quarantined the files. While this was going on our main webserver was brought to it’s knees by some type of attack. We think it was a bad plugin and so hopefully it is fixed now. Not exactly how you want to end the week, but we worked as a team and got through it. Really had nice support from Wayne RESA in isolating the attack. Why would someone want to attack a school network? Not much exciting stuff on our servers!
Over the last few weeks we have been working with Big Blue Button on helping pilot the new HTML 5 client that they are developing. Last week we successfully connected high school students who presented science concepts to middle school students who were watching on an iPad. We have been using BBB for several years now and it just keeps getting better. In Michigan there is a big push for technology and more online learning and at the same time budgets are being cut. We are looking to BBB as a way for our teachers to begin hybrid learning, flipped classrooms, and the like. Beyond being reasonably priced – ahem, free – we like that BBB is fully integrated with WordPress, Moodle, and Joomla. All three of these we use.
While the pilot was a learning opportunity for the developers, the real excitement took place in the classroom where the technology instantly connected with students. When I explained to them that they could watch on an iPad or iPhone they instantly became interested. It was as if we were talking their language and suddenly they wanted to know when they could use this with their teacher.
Here is a photo from BBB:
Awesome new Moodle 2.4 feature allows teachers to download a class roster, grade students using Excel, and then upload the grades back into Moodle so students can see them. This is SO quick and easy! They can also see any text the student submitted for the assignment. This is a great way to collect writing samples from students and then have them as a file or permanent record of their writing progress.
I just happened to see a new Buddypress Project called “Commons in a Box” or CBOX for short. I really like this project! It is focused on educational use and seems to have a really nice theme that is laid out in a way that makes sense for Buddypress. The project also comes with recommended plugins that takes some of the guess work out for site admins. It is just a great project!
I am going to be installing this on our student/teacher social network website we call Engage. I think this will make a great enhancement to our Buddypress setup!
I just recently setup our own XMPP/Jabber instant message server. Still working out some details but I think this can be a really nice tool if used properly. http://www.igniterealtime.org/projects/openfire/
We are just experimenting and seeing how to best utilize this. I would say it is in evaluation.
Looking to see if there are ways to integrate this with Moodle and other apps we use.
Developer fredlawl at WordPress.org has released WP Teacher. This plugin using custom post types to add two new post types to your WordPress blog- Assignments and Events. This plugin aims to provide teachers with a great way to organize and keep students informed. This plugin provides a means to add assignments but also tackles the need for teachers to have a classroom calendar of events.
From the plugin page:
WP Teacher is a plugin that allows teachers to use WordPress to their advantage by intergrating course content into thier personal website to ehnhance student learning. WP Teacher is built with easy-to-use features that will make his or her WordPress experience easier.
WP Teacher functions like typical blog postings, but provides addtional features to maximize student learning. All the features work togeather. The plugin is maximized for customization which makes it perfect for multi-site wordpress installation.
We are currently exploring our options in using this plugin. The only downside is that you need to add special code to your template files.
This plugin has some great potential.
Here is a Database Activity Preset that will add a Youtube gallery to your Moodle course which allows the teacher to collect videos for students to view. It will look similar to the image displayed here.
Download the Database Preset here:
Introducing… the man behind the site. The person making it all happen. The powerful wizard behind the almighty “Turn Editing On” button… Moodle Mouse.
This is what happens to my kids toys once they are done playing with them – I take them to work.
Just got an email that the new Snapshot Plugin from WPMU Dev is now ready for WordPress Multisite. In my initial testing it looks like the backup and restore is limited to Site Admin and not the Multisite users. I could be wrong and only further testing will confirm this.
I installed the plugin and made several backups and restores just for testing. Nothing seemed to be broken so that is good! This looks really promising.