Showing posts from August, 2013

Book Review: #Moodle Add-Ons @ghenrick #txed #edchat #elearning

One of the often asked questions I get in regards to Moodle these days isn't about setup and support. The question, which arose as recently as last week, always concerns itself with, "Now that I have access to a Moodle, what kind of add-ons should I install to create a more engaging online environment?"

In a 601 page tome bursting with suggestions and hard-won wisdom that comes from experimentation, Gavin Henrick (@ghenrick) and Michael de Raadt explore the "wide variety of plugin types," including the simple and complex. Add-ons, as the authors highlight, stand out by solving problems and enhancing functionality. Their new book features several chapters:

Moodle Add-ons - types and reasons why these are created.Installing a Desktop Moodle to Test Add-onsEvaluation of Add-onsResources and activitiesNavigationCourse trackingInterfaceCourse AdministrationSite AdministrationCourse FormatsVirtual Conferencing In this blog entry, I'll share some of my favorite tak…

Data warehouse in your future? @nosleeps

Over ten years ago, I worked in a large urban school district that needed to disaggregate data, mix and match it, combining student data with assessment info from vendors. That need has only increased for all school districts! And, it isn't just about assessment data. It is also about creating file uploads, automating data uploads to vendors, blending of data results, web based interface to the sea of data to allow easy access to data that would normally be difficult to get to.
Unfortunately, there weren't many vendors who could get the job done then. And, for a school district to build its own data warehouse was cost prohibitive! The cost of hiring a database administrator (DBA) is around $85k...
Here is a diagram that tries to capture what a data warehouse might look like...what am I missing? What should be added?

By the way, I made this graphic organizer using Idea Sketch on my iPad...I am pretty picky about graphic organizer apps and I was pleased at how easy it was to use. B…

Encryption Fun for SAT on Peppermint Four @peppermintos

"Miguel," shared a secretary, "We need to be able to get copies of SAT scores electronically but it requires PGP encryption. Can we do that?" The reason she was asking was because of this web page:
SAT Internet Score Delivery provides secure and easy transmission of SAT scoresto your institution. It is the fastest delivery method for receiving student records and eliminates the need for paper or CD-ROM delivery...With Internet Score Delivery, electronic score data:Can be downloaded to any computer that has the appropriate security encryption software (PGP®)One of the points that is made on the web page is:
If you don't already have the necessary PGP encryption software installed, you need to purchase it from Symantec Corporation for approximately $100 to $200...PGP encryption software version 2.6.2 or higher that can generate a 1024-byte RSA key—we recommend the desktop package that includes PGP Perpetual License with software insuranceCurious, huh? $100-$200 for…

Atrocious Acts @BrylynCowling

A comment left on Techpathy has me asking myself a few questions:
Mr. Guhlin, 
My name is Brylyn Cowling and I am an elementary education major at The University of South Alabama. I will be summarizing and sharing my thoughts on this blog post on my personal blog on 9/15/13 as an assignment in EDM310. Would you be willing to share with me your ideas on how to keep a positive attitude towards political issues involving the school system?Also, when do you find it appropriate to speak up when you have concerns? I am a junior in college and I have honestly never considered how I would handle such situations until after reading your post. Thank you for your time and I look forward to receiving your response to my questions. 
My twitter address: @BrylynCowlingMy blog: blog: Welcome, Brylyn, to the edublogosphere, a place of excitement and danger, where your work can get you mythologized as a legendary hero or cast down …


No, this isn't a positive blog entry. I'm not out to coin a new term, Techapathy. Instead, you can summarize it in the same way Rodney Dangerfield's character did in Back to School:

Apathy is a lack of emotion, motivation, or enthusiasm
John Spencer (Education ReThink) recently shared the following critique (Seven Thoughts on Education Policy) from a colleague when he shared a political eCard:
 "I really don't like when teachers post political stuff on staff e-mail. Actually, I don't think we should be getting involved in politics at all. Maybe privately, but not publicly." Ten years or more ago, this perspective would certainly have been mine. Education seems so "out of politics." Politics is what those silly vain people get involved with, and education is what people with loving hearts do with students. Unfortunately, the lines between good, bad, and, unfortunately, indifferent are blurred to heck and gone.
Watching from the teacher trenches, as…

Uploading Users to #Moodle 2.x @diben

A colleague asked me the following:
Do you have a sample import excel file for Moodle 2.0 The import process for Moodle 2.x is fairly straightforward. While you might begin with an MS Excel file to organize your information, the final file that you must upload to Moodle--and I recommend not uploading students directly into Moodle, instead using external database authentication if Active Directory/LDAP is unavailable--will be a comma-delimited value (CSV) file.
comma-separated values (CSV) (also sometimes called character-separated values, because the separator character does not have to be a comma) file stores tabular data (numbers and text) in plain-text form. Plain text means that the file is a sequence of characters, with no data that has to be interpreted instead, as binary numbers. A CSV file consists of any number of records, separated by line breaks of some kind; each record consists of fields, separated by some other character or string, most commonly a literal comma or tab.…

External Database for Student Accounts #moodle @diben

A colleague recently wrote me, asking the following:
I never setup Active Directory for my students in Moodle, and now I need to get student accounts setup. What should I do? If you can't get Active Directory setup--and that's well worth doing if you have your students in it--then an alternative I recommend involves using an external database for student account authentication.
This method uses an external database table to check whether a given username and password is valid. If the account is a new one, then information from other fields may also be copied across into Moodle. (Source: Moodle Manage Authentication Screen)

Using an external database for authentication enables one to setup a MySQL database with all the student info--including the fake disabled email accounts--and students would just login with their student ID# and stock password (birth month/day, perhaps), which they would change after login.

The student relevant…

MyNotes: Which Tech Should I Use to Teach Online?

Some quick reflections on this article...what I found most helpful was the focus on the use of 3 questions when developing an online course:

Which technology works best for my online course to achieve the desired learning outcome(s)?
Which technology can be quickly learned for online instruction?
Which technology can be managed over time?

as well as the 4 dimensions of learning described by Angelo used to assess instruction:

declarative learning (learning what);
procedural learning (learning how);
conditional learning (learning when and where);
reflective learning (learning why).

Consideration of the first 3 questions, as well as application of the dimensions of learning when assessing instruction will certainly result in a more thoughtfully considered course.

"Which Technology Should I Use To Teach Online?": Online Technology and Communication Course Instruction by:

Carolyn S. Carlson;

Philip J. Aust; pa…

MyNotes - Which Technology Should I Use to Teach Online?

MyNotes: 10 Essential District Infrastructure Questions

Note: These are absolutely questions that come up. In fact, I remember working through some of these--but not all--when we upgraded our internet bandwidth. What a great refresher!
10 essential questions to address when assessing WAN and LAN infrastructure:

Transport pipe—Will the pipe that carries internet bandwidth be big enough?
Routers, switches and hubs --Will your networking equipment handle all the traffic?
Firewall--Can the Firewall handle the new upgrades?
Filter—Is the filter designed to handle the amount of traffic?
Demarcation point –Is there a clear demarcation point?
Wiring—Is the wiring in the building up to standards for the new upgraded internet speed?
Wiring Closets (MDF and IDF—Is there adequate heating, cooling and ventilation?
Backbone—Does the school have a fiber backbone connecting MDF and IDF’s?
Electricity—Is there adequate electricity in the wiring closets to sur…

LoneStarCon 3 - 71st Worldcon in San Antonio, Texas #science-fiction #scifi

Woohoo! Definitely worth checking this out!

Welcome to LoneStarCon 3!
Welcome to the home page of LoneStarCon 3, the 2013 World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon). On this site you'll find everything you need to know about the convention, including our guestsprogram, events, exhibits and of course how to register and where to stay while you're in town.
Full Convention Schedule Now Available!
The full schedule for the convention is now available and can be accessed in two ways.
The Pocket Program, which all attending members will receive in printed form when they arrive and register at the convention, can bedownloaded in PDF format.
The schedule is also available through our interactive program guide. This guide includes a full copy of the program, which can be browsed by item day and time, location, or participant. The guide is linked to our program database so it will also be updated automatically to reflect any last minute program changes. For a higher level summary, the 

Getting RSS from @Evernote via @Postachio Blog

Thanks to this EduSLAM! on Explain Everything and Evernote (thanks to the hosts and +Reshan Richards ), I found out about, a blog that is created from whatever you post to an Evernote Notebook and tag "published"--isn't that amazing? Not amazed? Think about doing this with your students from their iPads! Instant publishing that parents, community can access with little teacher intervention (or as much as you like).

Even more amazing is that you can handle formatted text, as well as Markdown text! creates blog posts and pages from your notes in Evernote. One simply creates a note in a Notebook they've specified when creating a site. then converts those notes to published posts and pages. The process to get things going is pretty straightforward...just go to web site:

In the screenshot below, you can see my notebook, 2Blog, has two entries that are tagged with "published" and as such will appear on the ht…