Que bella… Moodle Tool Guide in Italian!

moodle italiaIt’s been four and a half years since I blogged the original Moodle Tool Guide. The guide has long since gone its own way. It doesn’t belong to me anymore, it belongs to the Moodle community. But I still enjoy seeing how the guide continues to find new audiences, communities and applications.

This week I received a very nice tweet from Paolo Porcaro who has created perhaps the most romantic version yet, an Italian Moodle Tool Guide! ūüėČ

All of our generous MTG translators will have encountered the difficulties combination of not only translating technical and pedagogical terms but then making them fit a certain layout. In his email Paolo mentions the struggles of writing short enough Italian phrases to fit the matrix structure. Paolo did this translation while working for FormezPA, an Italian public administration agency who release all of their own publications under a CC-BY-SA license.

So here it is. If you don’t speak Italian, you may want to put it on your pinboard anyway as an inspiration for 2014: you can learn a little Italian and be connected to the worldwide Moodle community!¬†Mille grazie Paolo!


Do remember that you can find links to all the guides I know of on the Moodle Tool Guide page. If I’m missing one, please let me know!

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My #eddies13 champions and why the Edublog Awards matter

My heart in your hands

Image cc license by Aussiegal on Flickr

Is it that time already? The nominations for the tenth Edublog Awards are here. I know. 10!! It seems like just yesterday that we were all geekily setting up our first ‘web logs’.

Why the Edublog Awards matter

The Edublog Awards are organized annually by the good people at Edublogs and fondly known as the “eddies”. Although I agree with some of the critics that it can be a bit of a popularity contest and it doesn’t have the geographical and network spread we might want, I still wholeheartedly support the “eddies” for a few reasons.

1. Transferrable recognition

For people who are doing work out on the edges, early adopters, it can often be difficult to find recognition within their organization. Although they are appreciated by their online peers, those metrics (comments, tweets, etc) rarely translate back into their organization. However, getting an award does. It is a concept that has value in both of the organizational and the networked world of an educator’s practice.

And that effect spreads. Even those who aren’t nominated can benefit when an expert they follow, a community they participate in, a tool they use, an unconference they attend or a practice they practice, is publicly recognized.

2. Don’t underestimate the effect of an Edublog Award on a recipient or their audience

Many early adopters work in isolation and against the grain in their organization. This can be lonely, even when you have networked support from other bloggers and tweeters at a distance. For me, getting the award for the Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers encouraged me to tell myself: “See, I’m not crazy. I’ll just keep going.” And going back to point 1, it was at that point that my organization included my work for our marketing materials and pushed me at local press. I also started to be invited to international conferences which in the end even resulted in my moving countries.

3. A crowd curated uber-FollowFriday

Each year’s list of nominees and winners forms a great jumping off point for discovering new colleagues, new projects and new ideas. Curated, distilled and endorsed by the educational crowd, you know that you won’t be wasting your time delving into any of their work.

4. The timing is perfect.

It’s the end of the year, whether you’re in the Northern hemisphere and breaking for the holidays, or in the Southern hemisphere and breaking for the holidays and summer and getting ready for a new academic year. That means you are realizing that some of those things on your to-do-list will simply not get done, and that frees up space in your head. I’m sure you’ll start feeling the creativity bubble very soon. That is the perfect time to jump into the treasure trove of new ideas, cognitive tools and practice examples that you can find in the nominations. Open up your notebook or Evernote and start plotting for next year, filled with fresh inspiration.

5. A retrospective of our practice

We all know our work practice has changed dramatically but going back through the lists of previous years finalists¬†really brings it home. Unfortunately the blog posts don’t go back before 2006, but remember 2006? Pre-tablets, pre-Twitter, pre-Instagram? We couldn’t stop talking about wikis…

My Edublogs daydream

Having said that, I would like to think that after 10 years the time is ripe for the Edublog Awards to take the next step and truly become global, recognizing emerging practice in education around the world. To do so, we would need:

  • More descriptive criteria for each category.
  • Simpler nomination and voting systems that have a social layer.
  • The Edublog Awards should totally be awarded as¬†open badges¬†(this one is easy and can still be done this year!)
  • I’d love to see a Curator and Curation board category
  • Wider participation, including the addition of regional nominations. I for one would love to see the nominees from Africa and South America.
  • The addition of sponsored awards in specialized categories. I’m sure there are vendors out there who could provide an educator or organization with a small grant or donation, in return for the exposure.
  • Collaboration with larger global organizations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation? Mozilla?)
  • And to formalize and achieve the above goals, the organizers could put together a Board of Advisors made up of past award recipients.

Just my daydream…

My #eddies13 nominations

Until then, here are my 2013 champions among the many champions that I follow and read and share with every day. Much love from me to all of you!

Best group blog: The ThesisWhisperer blog.

Dr. Inger Mewburn‘s blog has supported and encouraged thousands of PhD students. She writes prolifically on the blog, but also uses it as a platform for other voices and the comments sections frequently turn into lively debate halls. It is everything a blog can be, a focal point for a community.


Best open PD/unconference/webinar: the iMoot conference.

Ok this is one I didn’t actually attend this year, but I heard SO much about it after the fact that I am going to nominate it anyway. The iMoot Conference about everything Moodle has been organized for the last few years by the lovely Pukunui people. I have attended and been a speaker in the past, and right from the first one it has been a marvel.

The conference is fully online and goes around the clock and around the globe for 3-5 days. The speakers come from the incredibly engaged Moodle community and the program is put together and facilitated by ringmaster Julian ‘the Moodleman’ Ridden. All sessions run twice in different time brackets to account for timezones. Held over a weekend, I’ve always been impressed with how much it feels like a real conference. You attend the sessions you are interested in, and in between you talk to people in the ‘virtual hallways’, on Skype, on Twitter and in the Moodle forums provided.

However the one thing every one kept buzzing about this year is how successfully the conference used ‘open badges‘. This function had only just been released in Moodle, but at every event or conference I’ve attended since, participants keep mentioning how much they learned and engaged with others because of this. Bravo Pukunui!

Best free web tool: Mozilla’s Open Badges

I have already mentioned the Open Badges a few times but I cannot get over the truly revolutionary and far reaching the work that the small Open Badges team at Mozilla are doing. And it’s all out there for anyone to engage with and build on it further. I won’t go into all the details why I love this project. I’ll just share two artefacts from two of the inspiring team members I’ve had the privilege to meet and learn from this year.

Carla Casilli’s blog post on badge pathways really stretched my brain and brought home to me the effect open badges can have in personalizing lifelong learning.

And the clarity of Doug Belshaw‘s presentations has been indispensable in talking to others about badges.


Best mobile app: Evernote

Evernote is the most versatile notetaking tool out there, it syncs across all platforms, accommodates all media and has great extensions, made by the company itself and by third parties, letting you scan business cards to your contacts and handdraw notes. And now they have just gone and made it collaborative.

Evernote can go from small to big. Use it on your smartphone during your tram ride, use it on your tablet for writing, use it for an impromptu presentation at a meeting from any pc by accessing it in the cloud. Whether you are a teacher, a researcher, a librarian, an edtech or a manager, if you are not using Evernote yet, you are depriving yourself.

Give some love

Those are my nominations for this year. All nominations need to be in on Sunday 1 December 2013, so you’ve still got time to give some love to those who have brightened your educational year. And did I mention you can also nominate individual tweeters…

Social media activities to help crowdfund research (part 1) #deakin #pozible

Here is @bestqualitycrab at launch of the @pozible crowdfunding #research project. Only 6 wks ago...#deakin

@bestqualitycrab at launch of the @pozible crowdfunding #research project

An Im-Pozible-y Cool Project

Before the December break in 2012, Prof Deb Verhoeven (who is awesome and in my mind like an academic version of Sheryl Sandberg) asked me for a chat about a project she was working on. It turned out to be an innovative project to trial crowdfunding research in Australia, in collaboration with Pozible, the Australian Kickstarter counterpart . In development over about 2 years and with Pozible already in the market, her project was now coming together.

This end of year time is always so conducive to brainstorming, and we spent an enjoyable lunch thinking about what kind of projects could/might be succesful, what people would definitely not sponsor (eg academics flying to conferences in exotic locations…), what kind of social media and digital presence would be needed to be successful, and whether anyone would dare to take the plunge.

Well some very brave souls did, the project launched on 8 May and it has been quite the ride. Before I go any further, I'd like you all to go take a look at Research My World! Some of the projects have already reached their goals, but some are still looking for support to hit the mark by tomorrow!! (DO IT NOW!!!)

I've been so excited to be involved in this. It is a prime example of how technology

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7 Habits of Networked Academics

7 Habits of Networked AcademicsToday Colin Warren and I were very pleased to be invited by the colleagues who run the Graduate Certificate of Higher Education¬†at Deakin, to come and share our thoughts on the evolving concept of networked academics. As it was a late afternoon session, after a day of student presentations, we wanted to keep it simple and just share some practical tips. Keep it applied. We focused on the habits we’ve seen exhibited by networked academics that can be adopted by newcomers and included some quick activities. SO this is by no means comprehensive. We also emphasized that networking habits are a matter of choice, everyone should decide what’s right for them and where to start. No one should feel pressured to do everything.

We prepared a digital handout for reference, and in case we would run out of time, which we of course did. Some of you may find this useful, so we’re sharing it here.

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E L S U A ~ A KM Blog Thinking Outside The Inbox by Luis Suarez ¬Ľ 2013 ‚Äď The Year of Social HR

See on Scoop.itNetworkedPractice

Luis Suarez writes on knowledge management, collaboration and thinking outside of the inbox
See on www.elsua.net

Twitter as a Curation Tool

See on Scoop.itDigital Curation for Teachers

Tweet I have written and spoken extensively about the use of Twitter in education: as one social network tool to connect, collaborate and amplify (Seven Degrees of Connectedness, Upgrade & Ampl…
See on langwitches.org

Controlling your information streams – don’t call me maybe?

Using the TelephoneI have a love/hate relationship with my phone. That is:

I love my iPhone.

I hate my office phone.

My office phone lurks on the corner of my desk, where it is tethered by cables. It sits there and collects messages for me, so that when I come back to my office a notification (a little red light) will tell me there are messages. Not how many, not who from, no headlines I can quickly scan, not when it was sent. It’s notification is binary – either there are or aren’t messages for me.

Interaction design?
To personalise how I interact with other people and its information stream (voicemail) through this tool, I have to use voice menus and numbered buttons. The menus are read out in a language that also uses English words, but which has randomly assigned meanings to those words, eg robot voice: “For personal options…”

To aggravate matters, the menus are read out very slowly. Each menu seems to have 4-5 options. But seeing as the “human brain can only hold about seven pieces of information for less than 30 seconds”thank you, Dr John Medina, and I usually already have 3 things in there, I’m a little short on space. The phone doesn’t give me the ability to visually scan the options, and so I often need to sit through them 4x. The first two go’s I try to decipher its code (is “personal messaging options” the function that will let me record my outgoing voicemail message?). The last two go’s are to confirm my choice, as I know that pressing the wrong option, usually means go back to Start.

Curate & Remix?
Information curation from this tool’s information stream is also awkward. I can’t forward its information to Evernote or my calendar. I can’t copy & paste it to another tool. I need to transfer the information one handed to a post-it, from which I will then later type it in my calendar or Evernote. Or more usually it will join a pile of other data transcribed in this manner. The tool’s in-built archive expunges records after an undetermined but limited time.

On those rare occasions that I do sit through this process to actually listen to messages, I find that the system precedes each message with a lot of preamble: date, time, read out phone number – digit – pause – by – pause – digit! -before giving me the main act. And then the actual messages have a very low hit rate of usefulness for various reasons:
– too much background noise
– someone speaks too fast/high/low/soft/
– “Oh I thought you’d be there. I’ll get you on your mobile/email/Twitter/Facebook/at next meeting.”
– “I’ve also sent you an email about this…”
– “Hi this is Victor from UberAwesome. We are an eLearning production company…”

So basically, I’ve come to see my office voicemail as a very poor information & communication tool. It is infinitely less usable than other tools that provide me with information streams and artefacts I can remix: email, Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, Skype chat, Google chat, etc etc. And infinitely less portable and customisable than my iPhone.

It’s definitely you…
Because of our strained working relationship due to different working styles, I have been displaying avoidance behaviour towards my phone. It accusingly blinks its light at me but I ignore it. And unfortunately this means that on occasion, I have missed messages from people who do use this communication tool. This is not good.

How to manage this stream?

There are several solutions to this problem.

I could set it up to forward all calls to my iPhone. But my iPhone is my personal number, with my personal account. Also I don’t tend to answer calls from unknown numbers, choosing to let my iPhone voicemail be my hurdle requirement for unknown callers – usually sales people from banks/ insurance companies. All my social contacts and many colleagues are in my Contacts list and would be recognised, promptly answered and warmly greeted. But work phone numbers would not.

I could build a habit (it only takes 21 days right?) to check my voicemail every morning first thing when I walk into my office. But I won’t. Because it simply is an inferior communication tool where the amount of effort required to retrieve, use and manage its information, is disproportional to that information’s value. And I “hates” it. (Yes, petulance.)

Netsmart & mindful
So as I was preparing my workspace for next year this week, I decided to take a leaf out of Howard Rheingold’s book, Netsmart, and practise mindfulness. I am giving up on my office voicemail, and I’m telling people about it. I am cutting it out of my life. I’ve begun gently – changed my outgoing message to say I can’t answer the phone, and the best way to reach me is to send me an email (all work contacts have my email and for external people I spell it out in the message) or to text me on my mobile. but next year I will change that to something more emphatic.

So you can text me, email me, tweet me, Facebook me, Google+ me, Yammer me, Skype me, iMessage me, iPhone me, Whatsapp me, Viber me but don’t call me maybe?

Which information stream will you cut out of your life?


Social Content Curation for Learning Communities – Does your tool work for you? #dnle

I thought I would share the “infographic” I created for the #DNLE MOOC at Stanford’s Venture Lab. It is an unsophisticated effort to plot functions of a curation tool I think would be needed to support social content curation by a learning community. For this exercise I chose 6 functions¬†(though it could have been 45 and¬†Bayeux Tapestry¬†proportions):

  • bookmarklets,
  • image driven,
  • community rights to share,
  • communal tagging,
  • ability to reshare to community or PLN
  • and availability of the collection.

I then did an assessment of a standard LMS as it might be used in higher education, and also curation tools Scoop.It and Pinterest.

The resulting infographic is limited in space, time and research. But it has been fun to do, and has also distilled some thoughts for further “actual” research for my ever present Digital Curation PhD.
Social Content Curation for Learning Communities

Download the PDF here:  Social Content Curation for Learning Communities


How Tumblr Drove the Evolution of Content into an Image Dominated Experience – Forbes. (n.d.).Forbes. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewcarroll/2012/01/06/crippling-image-intelligence-problem-part-1-the-evolution-of-content-into-a-highly-visual-experience/

Pinterest Traffic Passes Google Referrals, Bing, Twitter & StumbleUpon | TechCrunch. (n.d.).TechCrunch. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/09/pinterest-now-beating-google-referral-traffic-plus-bing-twitter-stumbleupon/

Rainie, L. (2012, February 26). The emerging information landscape: the 8 realities of the ‚Äúnew normal.‚ÄĚ Presented at the NFAIS, Philadelphia. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/PewInternet/022612-nfais-newnormalpdf

Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. Retrieved from http://www.bloomsburyacademic.com/view/DigitalScholar_9781849666275/chapter-ba-9781849666275-chapter-008.xml

Wenger, E., White, N., & Smith, J. D. (2010). Digital habitats: Stewarding technology for communities. CPsquare. Retrieved from http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=E7GPhmV4-KkC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=digital+habitats&ots=2CVWi-8Fxw&sig=lJzwBYP39J53QkKZTDEloxzNIJY


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I dipped my toe in the Digital Humanities #dhdeakin

Facebook Friends NetworkI was very happy to be selected to attend the Dipping A Toe In The Digital Humanities symposium that was held at Deakin yesterday. It was an initiative from the Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI) virtual laboratory project,  led by Prof Deb Verhoeven our Chair, Media and Communication, who you may know as @bestqualitycrab on Twitter.

All the speakers were incredibly knowledgeable and I think all of us Continue reading

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