Marco Koene

E-learning.

77 posts in this topic

Then we adapted an old Mario Rinvolucri activity: a maze about a hijack, also from a book that's gone out of print (at least as far as I can tell). This time there are a series of decisions to be made (do you negotiate, or appeal to the head of another government, or stonewall, etc?) on each 'page'. Depending on what you answer, you get a whole other series of decisions.

I remember the Heinemann Berer/Rinvolucri Mazes book very well - great fun and excellent for stimulating oral activities. I produced a computerised version of it (with permission from the publishers) for the BBC Micro during the 1980s.

We have an entry under Maze in the ICT4LT Glossary:

http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_glossary.htm

It reads as follows:

Maze: Mazes, also known as text mazes and action mazes, have been used by language teachers for many years for reading and comprehension activities and to stimulate conversation in the classroom: v. Berer M. & Rinvolucri M. (1981) Mazes: a problem-solving reader, London: Heinemann. An Action Maze is a collection of short pieces of text, each of which poses a problem and a set of alternative solutions. The learner can follow different paths through the maze but may end up in loops and blind alleys. The onus is therefore on the learner to read the texts carefully and to assess the situation accurately. Mazes are ideal for group work. Computerised versions of mazes can be written very easily in HTML or with a suitable Authoring Tool, e.g. the new Quandary package at http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/quandary

Mazes can be run online and offline. See also Ruth Vilmi’s Xercise Engine. See Ruth Vilmi's demo maze at http://www.kolumbus.fi/rvilmi/XEDemo/books...demo/index.html

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Ruth Vilmi

Last year, as part of a study visit to Helsinki , I met Ruth Vilmi (do not think she will remember it :o )! Small world. I must say i was greatly impressed by her work.

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Does anyone have any experience of using Moodle, a new Open Source Virtual Learning Environment?

Moodle appears to be in the process of becoming a serious competitor to WebCT and Blackboard. The Moodle community is growing, in particular the Moodle language learning and teaching community. Moodle can be downloaded free of charge from http://moodle.org

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We are currently evaluating Moodle as the platform for our new suite of free INSET courses. I must say that, so far, I've been very impressed - both in terms of functionality and (of course) price!

Jim

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Does anyone have any experience of using the 'Assimilate' learning platform? I believe it has been in use in a pilot scheme in the Lincolnshire area of the UK. Any info about experiences in using this would be of great interest. ;)

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Does anyone have any experience of using the 'Assimilate' learning platform?  I believe it has been in use in a pilot scheme in the Lincolnshire area of the UK.  Any info about experiences in using this would be of great interest.  B)

Maggie,

There is a discussion about Assimilate taking place on the History Forum

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Does anyone have any experience of using the 'Assimilate' learning platform?  I believe it has been in use in a pilot scheme in the Lincolnshire area of the UK.  Any info about experiences in using this would be of great interest.   :)

Maggie,

There is a discussion about Assimilate taking place on the History Forum

The Assimilate discussion is interesting because their website seeems to imply that everyone is really happy with the product.

Good to see the forum back on line

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I wrote earlier about Moodle. It appears that Moodle is definitely catching on in certain communities, especially the computer assisted language learning (CALL) community - because Moodle supports a wide range of support languages. A workshop on Moodle is taking place next week in the EUROCALL 2004 pre-conference workshops at the University of Vienna.

EUROCALL, by the way, is the oldest established (1986) professional association dedicated to the promotion of the use of ICT in language learning:

http://www.eurocall-languages.org

Here's what the EUROCALL 2004 conference programme says about Moodle:

The aim of this workshop is to present Moodle, an open-source Course Management System (Virtual Learning Environment). During the first part of the event participants will first have a chance to experience a Moodle course from a student's perspective. During the second part they will create short course units on their own, as course designers.

Moodle is a Course Management System which strongly supports social constructionist pedagogy. It is extremely feature-rich, providing instructors with an array of tools, such as:

Resource – allows the presentation of electronic content (html pages, Word or Powerpoint documents, Flash animations, media files, etc),

Forum – can be used for asynchronous discussions; some features of forums include different forum types (teacher-only, course news, open-to-all, and one-thread-per-user), different views, forward of new messages to e-mail, grading students' messages,

Assignment – allows the submission of students' homework,

Chat – for synchronous discussions,

Journal – for individual, open-question tasks,

Quiz – for automatically-graded quizzes; question types include multiple-choice, true-false, matching, short-answer, cloze; quizzes can also have such features as random questions, shuffled questions and answers, multiple attempts, cumulative attempts,

Choice – for opinion polls,

Survey – built-in surveys for analysing online classes,

Workshop – allows peer assessement of documents, and the teacher can manage and grade the assessment,

Glossary – allows teachers and students to create course glossaries and dictionaries, glossary entries can be automatically hyperlinked to words in resources and forums,

Gradebook – all grades for Forums, Journals, Quizzes and Assignments can be viewed on one page;

The main advantages of Moodle over other Course Management Systems include:

its price – it is free,

the structure of courses created with Moodle is much more topic-oriented (rather than tool-oriented) than in other systems, which makes it particularly useful for language teaching,

Moodle users can get excellent support from lively community forums

http://www.e-lisa.at/eurocall/programme.asp

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Thanks Marco.  Yes what is a VLE?

Virtual Learning Environment - well, that is how I view it. Not sure though what is meant by schools purchasing one, don't you create the sort of learning environment that you wish using whatever tools and strategies are available to you in your situation?? For example, I have used epals to have students learn about other places through this online connection. I do have access to WebCt so can create virtual learning experiences of short or longer term using that as a learning management system. There are also many accessible web quests which are, to me, another form of a VLE. Maybe more explanation of 'buying one's own' would be of interest? Maybe others see VLEs as different to my examples also.

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A VLE is more or less a browsable database that presents a selection of tools and technologies integrated in a single interface.

I tend to agree with Patricia. My VLE is my desktop - that is, I don't need to go to some defined shared private area to communicate, work, publish, store...

This forum is a VLE of a kind. But while I am adding to this thread, my e-mail is also running on this PC, while on another I am using Instant Messaging to chat to a friend in Norway. (And we are both checking out some radio drama on the BBC site.) Often I will be in several IM sessions simultaneously.

In a while I will update some documents on my static Web site.

I suspect that such multi-tasking is not at all rare or remarkable.

I like Moodle because no-one is trying to sell it to me - the designer has given it to the world. In the UK the current belief that VLEs are some kind of educational panacea is a lie, promoted by people who want to make us pay them to give us less of what we have already.

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I don't know about Lincolnshire, Maggie (and Andy), but North-East Lincolnshire uses a VLE from Netmedia. It is promoting it to other LEAs in the Yorkshire and Humberside Grid for Learning.

Edited by Andrew Moore

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The feeling I get from recent conferences on the use of ICT, especially in my subject area, Modern Languages, is that VLEs such as WebCT and Blackboard are no longer regarded as the panacea. Web-based learning for learners of Modern Languages is fraught with problems. Learning a foreign language requires constant access to audio and video material, which is OK is you have a fast broadband connection, but it's mainly one-way traffic on the Web, e.g. it is not easy to set up a listen/respond/playback activity in a Web-based environment where the learner records his/her own voice and hears it played back - the kind of activity that has been possible with older technologies dating back to the 1960s and which is a feature of most multimedia CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs created for learners of Modern Languages.

Recording and hearing one's own voice played back is essential in the early stages of language learning and useful at all advanced stages too, but I have yet to see a VLE that enables this to be done. One VLE that I had a look at a couple of years ago, which was developed specially for a network of schools, did not even allow audio playback in its Modern Languages section!

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… and the problem with most of the commercially-available VLEs is that they were developed to flog to industry (specifically to the Personnel Managers of large companies). They tend to have well-developed control functions, so that a teacher can tell at a glance which pages a particular pupil has looked at, and which exercises they have done.

They tend not to have very well-developed course page and testing pages, so that course materials tend to be "book in a box" as we say in Sweden (i.e. someone's just put Word documents or Excel documents onto a computer screen). The types of test tend to be restricted to the easily-marked, rather than the educationally-justifiable (lots of multiple-choice, poor functionality when it comes to essay-type answers).

I used to use a VLE which was quite good, but it's off the market now. Since then I've tended to use open web pages and put up with the inconveniences associated with that way of making courses available to people.

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