Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ten Moodle Wow Factors! All together now, let's say "Fuiyoh!"

I'm compiling a list of Ten Moodle Wow Factors. In Malaysia, we say "Fuiyoh!" instead of "Wow". So this post is called the Fuiyoh Factor. My goal in this post, and over the next one month, to identify at least ten things about a Moodle coursepage that are awe-inspiring, foot-tapping, finger-snapping, jaw-dropping, all-singing-all-dancing and simply bodacious to Moodle newbies. Specifically, English language teachers. 

If you had a choice of presenting three of your favourite things about Moodle to excite a crowd who have never used Moodle before, which three things would you choose? Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettle and warm woolen mittens?

"Things that you can with Moodle" to me include what's inside Moodle, and what you can achieve by linking Moodle with outside Web or Internet services either via embed codes or other means. If I miss any Moodley stuff with a Wow Factor, please shout it out on the rooftops by commenting in the comments section.

Before I continue with my list, I would like to say that Moodle and its collective code by the Community is already a HUGE Wow Factor. Every piece of code written by a developer, enthusiast or teacher is already a gift and a gem to educators and students worldwide. I salute all coders, testers, end users and students who have given their time and effort in creating the world's best and most-used Learning Management System. Okay, here we go then. In no particular order.

Moodle Wow Factor Gallery

  • Submit PDF files and receive PDF feedback
  • Record a video from Moodle to Youtube
  • Open Source video conferencing with recording
  • Make posts on a social wall in Moodle
  • Open Source Language Lab, audio/video recordings
  • Virtual interview, voice input and pronunciations
  • Drag and Drop uploads and images
  • Award and collect OpenBadges

Source of slider click here.

#1. Davo Smith's PDF Submission and PDF Feedback plugins.

You can do on-line marking, annotation and feedback on PDF assignment submissions. If you have a stylus or an input device that would allow you to write letters instead of using a mouse to write, then this is the perfect method of doing on-line marking in Moodle. Fuiyoh! Note: both plugins at this point in time do not work with Android.

#2. Justin Hunt's Youtube Anywhere plugin 

Record a video within your coursepage with your webcam and have that video automatically uploaded to Youtube without having to leave Moodle. Fuiyoh!

#3. Fred Dixon's BigBlueButton Video Conferencing

Use an Open Source video conferencing plugin to teach long-distance courses. Allows recording. There are no monthly subscription costs as far as the plugin is concerned, but you will however need a dedicated Ubuntu server for best results.

#4. Frankie Kam's Wall

Fun to use, instant postings anywhere in your coursepage. Not fully realtime. To see other users' posts, you have to do a web browser or webpage reload/refresh. More like an alternative forum. Based on the original Facebook-like Wall Script 3.0 by Srinivas Tamada.

#5. Justin Hunt's PoodLL Virtual Language Lab

Language pedagogy widgets and filter with audio/video recorders for recordings. Comes a set of online activites to engage students in language learning.

#6. Nick Walker's ChatbotMaker embedded inside the Wall or inside any part of Moodle

Have a virtual interview with an avatar that features real-life MP4 recordings. Totally scripted, but totally cool with Google Chrome with Automatic Speech Recognition and voice to text.

#7. Davo Smith's Drag-and-Drop file upload and Drag and Drop Pictures Into Labels

With this being core inside Moodle 2.5, it is now oh so simple for the Course Manager or Teacher to add files as resources into a Moodle coursepage. What used to take hours can now be done in half or a quarter of the time. With so many less mouse clicks.

#8. Automatic Mozilla standard OpenBadges awards for activities completed 

Students can now be awarded OpenBadges in their virtual Mozilla Openbadges backpacks. This raises the motivation factor, gives the student recognition and reward for activities completed within a Moodle coursepage.

#9. Geoffrey Glass' Marginalia Annotation Tool for teachers to annotate students' forum posts - for Moodle 2.5x.

A teacher can annotate forum posts by highlighting words and sentences. The teacher can type the corrections or comments directly into the right margin of the forum's discussion topic. Marginalia can have many uses. An English teacher correcting her student's grammar mistakes. A manager giving feedback to a subordinate's posting.

#10. Moodle external tool and interaction with LTI-compliant learning resources and activities on other web sites. 

I saved the BEST for the last! "LTI stands for Learning Tools Interoperability and defines a standard way for a tool like Perception to be used or ‘consumed’ by a learning management system." (source:, Steve Lay).

What this simply means is to integrate Moodle with an external tool, like Wordpress. To 'integrate' means to have the following:

  1. Common look and feel
  2. share usernames/passwords
  3. single sign on
  4. content embedding
  5. share data and grades
  6. web services in Moodle 2.x (e.g., MuchLearning and ChemVantage)

With LTI, you can have Moodle interface and join seamlessly with another service, like Wordpress. In some instances, a single sign on (SSO) is all that is needed to access Moodle and then on to the external tool, without having to log out of Moodle and then to log into the external tool (e.g., Wordpress) with another login username and password.

LTI stretches the imagination of what you can use Moodle for. It allows you to embed Wordpress, BigblueButton activity and a Khanacademy resource or learning object inside Moodle.  LTI is really one of the best things that could happen to your Moodle 2.x site. It allows you to combine the strength of Moodle with the strengths of other websites in order to produce a wining synergistic Learning Management System.

So there you have it! 10 Wow Factors of Moodle that I have identified.

Summary List of the 10 Wow Factors
1. PDF Submission and PDF Feedback plugins.
2. Youtube Anywhere plugin
3. BigBlueButton Video Conferencing
4. Wall
5. PoodLL Virtual Language Lab
6. ChatbotMaker
7. Drag-and-Drop file upload & Drag and Drop Pictures Into Labels
8. Automatic Mozilla standard OpenBadges
9. Marginalia forum posts Annotation Tool
10. The External Tool Activity with LTI support

Maybe you can strongly suggest two (or more) other Moodle Wow factors that I have left out or overlooked. If there are other suggestions, then I can have another blog post entitled "Ten More Moodle Wow Factors! All together now, let's say "Fuiyoh!"    ;-)

Frankie Kam.

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