FunnyMonkey Blog

Bill Fitzgerald | January 13, 2007

I've been wanting to find the time to write this post for a while, but different things (aka work, life) kept getting in the way.

For those who are interested in getting started in putting the different pieces of OpenAcademic together, here are some of the building blocks.

A Moodle 1.6 OpenID consumer:

This code was written by Kevin Jardine, with the install tested by Kevin and us.

The code is available here: http://code.google.com/p/oamoodleopenid/

We have not tested this code in a shared hosting environment, but we have tested it in a few different LAMP stacks. For those of you who are comfortable working in a Linux environment, the install is pretty straightforward. The one main obstacle we encountered was with miscompiled gmp libraries, and we documented the fix for this in the ReadMe.txt that comes with the download. For the generally curious, you...

Bill Fitzgerald | December 20, 2006

As I've discussed here and here, there are risks involved with using free services offered by organizations who keep their code -- and your data -- out of your reach.

Google recently announced that they are shutting down support for their SOAP search API in favor of an AJAX-based API.

To translate the geek-speak: Google used to allow people to build applications that would use Google's search features, but return the results outside Google. Now, with the AJAX API, the results are displayed within Google. With this shift, Google has replaced a very useful tool with more limited option.

Admittedly, this is a pretty small shift. And, Google has a very good argument in that they don't have to give anything away for free -- and both of Google's API'...

Bill Fitzgerald | December 7, 2006

Note: Forward this to your "Shameless Commerce" division...

If you're going to be in Philadelphia at the end of January, consider making some time for any one of a series of workshops being hosted by Steve Hargadon at the Science Leadership Academy. The principal of SLA, Chris Lehmann is hosting the sessions: one on Moodle run by Michelle Moore on January 29th and 30th; one on Web 2.0 for educators run by Will Richardson on February 2nd and 3rd; and one on Drupal in the classroom run by yours truly.

In planning my session, I'm trying to build a training that allows educators to use the tools they learn...

Bill Fitzgerald | November 19, 2006

Some interesting thoughts about media literacy, google bombing, and white supremacism in a conversation started by Tom Hoffman and moved along by Will Richardson.

So, let's get some of the important stuff out of the way:

Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
...

Bill Fitzgerald | November 3, 2006

Looking for something good to do? Look no further.

Child's Play.

From the website:

Since 2003, gamers have banded together through registered Seattle-based charity, Child's Play. Over a million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash for sick kids in children's hospitals across North America and the world have been collected since our inception.

We collect no administrative fees or other charges, 100% of all gifts and donations go directly to our partner hospitals, to help make life a little brighter for a sick child.

Bill Fitzgerald | October 29, 2006

Will Richardson talks about some useful tools in a recent blog post. While the tools he highlights are useful, a few things were left out.

A few alternatives to consider:

Will highlights Google Blog Search and Google Custom Search. As an alternative, a school or a teacher could set up a Drupal site. Add in the leech module which copies blog posts -- or other content -- into the site. Then, add in the OpenSearch module and the OpenSearch client module. The result: a class-specific, fully searchable aggregation of selected resources. For more info on OpenSearch, click here.

Will then proceeds to highlight Vox. In his post,...

Bill Fitzgerald | September 7, 2006

The last few days have been busy. I flew in to Edinburgh from Portland for Curverider's first conference on social networking tools in education. My trip was relatively short -- I landed on Friday and left Tuesday. While in Edinburgh, I managed to squeeze in a few touristy bits and pieces, but a good portion of every day was devoted to meeting with these guys and this guy. The meetings took place in a series of pubs in Curverider's remote offices, and they were pretty amazing. In the space of three days, we covered a lot of ground, sorting out sundry details of the OpenAcademic roadmap -- including a timeline, the exact structure of the development site, and details relating to single sign on, tag and full text searching across sites, and moving content cleanly between Elgg and Drupal. All of these...

Bill Fitzgerald | August 24, 2006

For a K-12 language educator, teaching vocabulary presents some singular challenges. While we all agree that vocabulary is a critical skill, the agreement tends to disappear when it comes to how to present vocabulary in a classroom setting. Talking about words has the potential to expose students to the power and paradox of language; however, vocabulary instruction frequently descends to a balance between exposing students to as many words as possible, defining the words clearly, and keeping the class awake in the process.

The challenge: minimize the rote repetition, maximize the time spent using the words.

A. One way through the morass:

A teacher logs onto a web site and types a list of words into a form. When the teacher submits the form, the following web pages are automagically created:

  1. One page containing a master...
Bill Fitzgerald | August 4, 2006

Over on the OpenAcademic blog, Sean Lancaster has asked the following question:

i appreciate the effort that is being undertaken to create a terrific online learning environment that brings various resources together seamlessly; however, i am curious to better understand how Drupal and Moodle are different in what they provide. i mean, why would a person use both tools at the same time?

The short answer to your is that the best option is a subjective determination -- kind of like Mac vs PC, etc, etc.

A slightly longer answer is that the choice of tool for the learning environment will be determined by the relationship between learners' needs, instructors' needs, and institutional needs.

A still longer answer is that making an across the board choice is no longer necessary, and we are at a place where it's possible to...

Bill Fitzgerald | July 30, 2006

This has been in the works for a while, but now it's official: http://openacademic.org

This is an open source project designed to integrate Elgg, Drupal, Moodle, and Mediawiki. All code that fuels the integration will be released back to the community.

The project is a collaborative venture between the Elgg team and FunnyMonkey.

In the next few weeks, we'll be building out the infrastructure to support the project, including a development site to centralize the integration discussions and coding, as well as a svn repository for the codebase.

So, come on over and check out the site! And, if this integration is something that interests you, feel free to get in touch.

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