Tag Archive for web20

Social Networks at Catlin Gabel

The following parent evening presentation includes statistics on social network use in our school and examples of social software in the classroom. I wanted to provide some basics to parents unfamiliar with Facebook, inform the discussion of student use of social networks through data, and keep the focus on teaching and learning.

Moodle, Drupal, and Gallery Updated

Open-source web applications continue to mature. This week, I successfully updated Moodle to version 1.9.1, Drupal to 5.7, and Gallery to 2.2.5. The process went very smoothly, except for one hiccup. The Moodle updater stopped partway through, somehow causing an runaway loop that caused the sessions2 table to balloon by gigabytes. Notwithstanding the fact that this brought the web server to a halt, the installer ran fine once I emptied the sessions2 table and ran it a second time. We discovered that we stored the database on the system volume, so now we will move it to the data volume.

I appreciate that all three applications ask that you install a completely fresh codebase. Old code and modifications go away, giving the application a clean start. In the case of Moodle, we had only tried two modules, iPodcast and Speex. Both were not successful and are now gone (except for some traces in the database). Drupal is modular by design, but it took less time than I had anticipated to install the 20 additional modules we currently use. Settings were already present in the database, so Drupal only needed the new code.

Gallery-Drupal integration required some additional work. It didn’t work at all at first, when I had not yet updated Gallery to the latest version. Unlike with Moodle in the past, Drupal developers are keeping Drupal-Gallery integration 100% up-to-date. Just use the latest Gallery with the Drupal integration module. Following suggestions, I also moved Gallery to within the Drupal directory — that only required one setting change.

I am also taking some time to clean up both installations, responding to user requests and making them easier to use. I modified all occurrences of Moodle’s use of “enrol” in the English language pack, since I still have no figured out how to force U.S. English language use on existing courses. I trust that new courses will inherit the U.S. setting. For the most part, people don’t notice the language difference, the notable exception being the use of “enrol!” I also simplified the default blocks layout for new courses to make the page less busy.


Finally, I succeeded in the installation of NanoGong. I have wanted in-browser audio recording for some time, especially for language classes. It looks like the good people at the Gong Project have really come through with a solution nicely customized for Moodle but able to run anywhere.

In Drupal, I configured Video to play movies within the node, eliminating the need for an additional click.

Web 2.0 Adoption In Schools

Web 2.0 Adoption In Schools
Presentation given at BAISNet Web 2.0 meeting

Who Participates?
Poll: Who reads the NY Times online? Uses Blogger? Wikipedia? Facebook?
Slide: Five-year trends
Slide: Total known Moodle sites

Top 10 U.S. web sites
1. Google
2. Yahoo!
3. Myspace
4. YouTube
5. Facebook
6. Windows Live
7. EBay
8. Wikipedia
9. MSN
10. Craigslist

Slide: Who Participates

Why does a small, wildly enthusiastic group embrace Web 2.0 for teaching and learning, yet the majority do not? A growing club of international edubloggers seek to redefine education using Web 2.0 tools. Students have quickly adopted Web 2.0 to meet their social needs. Yet, only a minority of teachers have embraced Web 2.0 to support teaching and learning in their classes. Almost none employ Web 2.0 in their own professional practice. Why is this so? There must be good reasons, right? Seeking to understand these apparent contradictions may help us better understand what Web 2.0 actually is and what long-term potential the tool has for education.

Connectivism (George Siemens, 2004) may help explain the difference between observing Web 2.0 tools from a distance and embracing them.

  • A new theory of learning impacted through technology
  • Knowledge continues to expand exponentially and at an ever-increasing rate
  • Learning happens in a variety of means, some informal and some through personal learning networks — what some have termed "School 2.0"
  • Focus on the process of knowledge acquisition rather than knowledge itself.
  • Challenges the notion that all learning takes place inside the individual
  • Technology takes over the tasks of information storage and retrieval ("Hold on while I Google that.")
  • Emphasizes skills of acquiring knowledge, making connections, seeing patterns, and making decisions.
  • Leadership: highly-connected individuals who help facilitate knowledge flow within the organization.

Potentially Connective Technologies

  • Learning environment, learning community
  • Blog, wiki, podcast, forum, social network, (video) chat, microblog (doesn’t have to be web!)

Examples (focusing on enhancement)


  • Still seeking to understand