Posting this from the UK MoodleMoot.
Martin Dougiamas’ keynote, Steven Githens on Open Source mashups and Pieter van der Hijden on Moodle and Gaming/Simulation, all below.
Martin Dougiamas gave a very relaxed but informative keynote – he focussed primarily on the growth of Moodle and some of the improvements and enhancements coming in the next couple of versions. But he did have some time to re-iterate the importance of social-constructivism as a guiding philosophy for Moodle. Interesting developments include work towards making Moodle content more easily shareable, and making all content taggable. Also major changes to the Moodle Wiki on the cards.
Then I discussed Sloodle and demo’d Sloodle to a packed room. Had quite a bit of time left over for Q&A, which was good.
Steven Githens presented work on creating mashups between different Open Source applications – sharing resources and data between Sakai, Moodle and Plone. And even accessing Sakai repositories from Facebook. His work is looking towards creating a Resource Oriented Architecture – a lightweight and simple API to make easy the task of getting data in and out of the likes of Moodle. This looks like a great project with huge potential.
Pieter van der Hijden’s talk “Moodle and Gaming/Simulation” was next. A board member of ISAGA (International Simulation and Gaming Association), Pieter has a good overview of the role of gaming in education – aware of both the advantages that games have to offer and of the costs and challenges that creating effective serious games presents to educators. Interesting ideas for integrating serious games into Moodle:
- Moodle as gaming management system. Having students access games via Moodle allows contol over access, and integration of briefieng and debriefing and evaluation (e.g. assessment) before and after a game. Output scores or data from serious games could also be automatically sent to a Moodle gradebook, and Moodle could support the task of distributing final reports and results.
- Moodle as a game engine.
- The Lesson module allows the construction of branched narratives – making ‘create your own adventure’ type games quite easily authored. The optional role-play module allows the construction of role-play scenarios where students take on different roles from their normal ones – but remains text based and mainly delivered through forums.
- Sloodle… I’ll say no more
- IMS LD. Pieter argued that this could have been an effective standard for integrating games into Moodle, but that the IMS Learning Design standard was too perhaps too complex and difficult to communicate to lecturers to be useful currently.
What I liked most about Pieter’s presentation was the clear view that there are many different types of games – not just graphically driven action games, and that different types of games and simulations have their place in education. The message that serious games can and should integrate and work with Learning Management Systems was quite appropriate. During the Q&A a couple of other good examples came to light… in particular Martin Dougiamas mentioned a maths game where success in class quizzes on Moodle award students with more currency in game for completing their tasks. This is quite a neat idea, and one that should be very possible in Sloodle.