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Try-a-tool challenge Week 2 –

The last couple of months a little hectic, with wrapping up one job and starting another (I’m now in the College of Business and Economics (CBE) at the Australian National University (ANU)) and so I have some catching up to do with this challenge but I think I’m up to the task. (Even if they are currently on around Week 9?)

This challenge – from the blog – is about using the TedEd tools on the website. (This is the same that hosts the TED talks)

Here is a quick 3 minute overview from  Emerging Ed Tech that sums up the TedEd web tool quite nicely.

In a nutshell though, it’s an easy to use web based tool that enables teachers to create a small lesson driven by a YouTube video that can also include reflection/understanding questions, further resources and a discussion forum.

Students need to register to participate in activities (questions and discussion forum) but this means that the teacher is able to give them feedback and respond to their discussion posts.

The teacher is able to choose which of the Think / Dig Deeper / Discuss / And finally sections to include (the ability to reorder them might be nice but this is a minor quibble) and the whole lesson creation process only took me around 5 minutes.

(You can find the lesson that I created at )

The Think section supports either open answer text or multi-choice questions (up to 15), Dig Deeper offers a basic text editor with support for weblinks and the Discuss forum is simple but cleanly designed and easy to use. It has no text formatting or options for attaching files – however I was able to use HTML tags to format text and add an image. Entering a URL does automatically create a link though, which is nice and there are options to flag or upvote other posts.

TedEd also provides the requisite social media links and lessons can either be set to public or privately listed. (accessible only if you have the direct URL)

All in all this is a very nice, easy to use tool and I could see a range of uses for it. It would be possible to replicate this kind of resource using the existing tools in Moodle however not as simply or cleanly. I would seriously consider having students use it to create their own resources for formative peer-teaching activities in a seminar based approach.

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105 Free Moodle Video Tutorials | Diigo

This is a comprehensive set of how-to videos about using a wide range of tools in Moodle. The videos vary in quality but for sheer coverage, it is hard to beat.

via Delicious (via IFTTT)

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Swivel – convert SWF to MP4 easily, well and for free

This free SWF to video converter built by Newgrounds is a tool that I have been looking for for more than 8 years. In this time I have tried any number of hacks, kludges and workarounds to convert a .swf cartoon that I made to a reasonable video version. (I had a .mov and a .mp4 but only at 320 x 240 resolution) with a frustrating lack of success. Swivel let me export my movie in full 1440 x 1080 HD with no dropped frames and no loss of audio sync. (Well none that wasn’t already present in my rather rough and ready flash animation) Part of me feels like a bit of a saddo to be working on a video on a Saturday night but most of me is just excited to have fixed a long term technical problem. I’ll add the video – which isn’t particularly about tech or education – as soon as it finishes uploading to YouTube.

via Delicious (via IFTTT)

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Great e-Learning designs for Moodle – Karyn Milne CIT Creative Industries

screenshot of moodle course

The following short video (5:03) showcases some of the fantastic design work that one of our Creative Industries teachers – Karyn Milne – has done in her Moodle course. (We call our Moodle system eLearn, in case you find references to eLearn in the video confusing).

The main tips that I have taken from this are:

  1. Use advance organisers to give learners a context and a framework for the activities and resources that are coming. In this instance it is as simple as expanding on the topic heading – Printing (Technology, literacy and cultural change) or The Bauhaus (Form follows function – and the new hopes)
  2. Visual representations of the content help add extra meaning. Now Karyn is a skilled graphic designer so maybe your topic banners might not be quite as artistic but it is still relatively easy to add simple images that also help to break up the dreaded Moodle wall of text
  3. Provide simple and direct instructions with the actions emphasised
  4. Provide a range of different resources and activities – in these two topics we have documents, videos, a quiz and a discussion forum.