DrupalEd – Drupal for Education

Nice to see an education-specific distribution of Drupal released. DrupalEd EdtechTalk has a thorough Screencast Tour of it here, and one can also create an account at the demonstration site here. From what I’ve seen, this system looks very clean and easy enough for end-users (i.e. busy teachers and students). Not sure about ease of installation or backend management though. I’m also curious to see whether  there’d be any way for students to select custom themes for their own pages – customisation seems to be the “in” thing these days (even if it does result in illegible or bizarre looking colour schemes..), and contributes to a greater sense of ownership over artifacts (yes, I’m thinking about DrupalEd for e-portfolios...

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Picture poll in Moodle

Picture poll in Moodle

Got a little worried when I was asked to put up a polling system in Moodle to allow teachers and students to “vote” for their favourite photo. I knew right away that the correct activity to use would be Choice but… Choice only had blanks for 10 options! There didn’t seem to be an “insert image” function either! But thanks to various posts in the Moodle forums, I managed the following workarounds: 1. Edit /mod/choice/mod.html and change $standardblanks = 10; to the desired value (in my case, 23). 2. Paste  img xsrc=”../../file.php/23/choice1/answer1.jpg” / (place the code between ) in the Choice field. Replace “23” with the actual course number (e.g. in /moodle/course/view.php?id=23). Replace...

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pbwiki – a wiki for everyone

I’ve been dabbling with wikis for a while and so far I’ve found them to be useful for collaborative writing tasks. For instance, I’ve edited a document with a group of colleagues and I’ve also had students build up a knowledge base on characterisation using Wiki. The ability to share and edit text online, without the need for cumbersome emailing of a document to-and-fro is truly amazing! So, why isn’t everybody using them? Well, for one thing, installing a Wiki isn’t exactly the most trivial and some have interfaces that are actually off-putting. My personal favourite is DokuWiki which I like for its simple installation (no MySQL database required) and clean interface. Yet, even with DokuWiki, setting up access permissions...

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Naughty student blogs in Singapore

In the past week, there have been a lot of headlines in the papers about, to put it simply, people getting punished for what they blog. More significantly, many of these are students who wrote slanderous things about their fellow students and even teachers. The Straits Times’ Podcast has a special feature this week on it i.e. To Blog or Not to Blog. Many opinions were aired (you can also download them directly here, here and here) and I think that most what needs to be said has been said either there or in the forums. But I’d just like to add my two-cents’ worth on one thing: I often hear (or read) about people going tut-tut in disapproval over schools’ decisions to punish errant students e.g. though suspension. They claim these...

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Drupal school site finally up!

After all that planning, my school department’s Drupal-based web portal is finally up! Its present design is based on the SpreadFirefox theme and the only “community” part of it is the forums section. Judging from the content of some of the posts though, it looks like many are quickly reverting to SMS-style “language”. Urgh! Now, the question is: to moderate or not to moderate??

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