Learning Technology jottings at Goldsmiths

Thoughts and deeds

Google education integrates with Moodle

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It’s generally agreed that, as the boundaries between teachers and learners, and between learning and living, become less defined, and as more emphasis is placed on social learning, that certain qualities are increasingly important:

  • Integration is important for cross-referencing, for sharing and for aggregating and reaggregating in different ways for different contexts
  • Learner control is important – in order to work optimally learners should be able to choose the environments they work in, although institutions should ideally provide and support instances of environments which fulfil core learning requirements. (It kind of goes without saying that the same goes for teachers.)

At Goldsmiths we use Moodle, an open source Virtual Learning Environment i.e. a teacher-controlled environment which despite many opportunities for interaction and learner control, can feel somewhat at odds with the idea of portfolio learning, social networking and project work. Moodle has been thin on tools for content creation, collaboration and sharing –  tools and environments for these activities have developed independently and can be integrated if there is the will and resource (IT programming skills) in an institution.

Google is a leading web-based global advertising company responsible for some of the most innovative communication, information, authoring and hosting tools for individual users. Google Search is a famous world-beater but Google is also the creator of Google Apps (including its Education Edition), a free suite of online office tools (document authoring, presentation, calendar, chat with or without audio and video, email, sites etc) based in the so-called cloud – i.e. hosted and served rather than locally installed and therefore available from any web connection regardless of location. Google Apps occupies spot 12 and 15 respectively for learners and e-learning professionals in Jane Hart’s top learning tools for 2009.

Google Apps and Moodle are now integrating. This means that:

“From a teacher’s perspective, this provides an easy way to assign students to collaborative tasks without having to worry about the students having different operating systems or incompatible software or being unable to access an online system.”

Two educational organisations have been piloting the integration: Project KNOTtT, a group of institutions from Kansas, Nevada, Ohio, and Texas, and Centro Latino, an adult education institution.

More at Moodle Rooms (set up a user account to view).

This is probably going to take off in a big way.

Written by Mira Vogel

April 27, 2009 at 13:49

Posted in learn.gold

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