Moodle, Twitter, and networks

I feel sorry really for the 52 people that follow me on Twitter. Sometime Monday our Moodle installation decided that all the users are on a different server and it won’t allow anyone to login. I’ve been twitting it since I started working on the problem 24 hours ago now. It’s been a great outlet for me as I know most of my twitter friends and followers are educational technology people that understand the frustrations when things all of a sudden break without warning. The interesting part is some of my twitter friends have given me suggestions on things to try. Twitter as a support network…interesting concept. Anyway…taking a break at the moment waiting for our hosting company to backup and then reinstall the April 28th backup of the database to see if that fixes it. If it does…I know the problem is in the DB if it doesn’t then the problem is somewhere in Moodle itself. Cross your fingers for me as 1200 students and teachers wait to see if I can get this fixed ASAP. [tags]twitter, moodle[/tags] Technorati Tags: moodle, twitter,...

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Looking for Dedication

So what happens when you put 1200+ Moodle Users in 88 courses and 560+ WordPress blogs all on the same shared hosting server? You exceed your CPU usage. We have been getting this warning for a couple of months now, but as we continue to add more blogs and users in Moodle, it’s happening more frequently. Yesterday I was trying to help a 5th grade class learn how to add pictures to their blog posts, while another class was blogging in a computer lab, and a class of 7th graders where blogging about their YouTube videos. Not one class accomplished their goal for the lesson. I have talked to admin about purchasing a dedicated server just to host our educational services. They agree we need to do something fast before we lose the great momentum that we have right now around technology, so I’m looking for help. Can anyone recommend a good dedicated server company that runs Linux and supports php and MYSQL, has great support, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? We don’t want to host the server ourselves for a number of reasons. One, none of our technicians are familiar with Linux and all the open-source add-ons. Two, it’s hard to beat the prices that some of these companies are offering with full technique support. Third, we are in China. Even though the admin is behind the move and the cost associated with it, there is a very compelling argument that can be made on why these learning sites should be top priority. Student learning is (or should be) at the center of what we do, of where we spend our money, and where we focus or time and energy. These programs we are using go directly to the heart of student learning, extending the classroom beyond the four walls. Most of the discussions on Moodle happens after school hours. The blogs are accessed throughout the day, and looking at some of the times when posts were created also well into the night. We talk about wanting our students to be self-motivated learners and yesterday I ran into an 8th grader who has a blog. I asked him what service he used and he said he set it up on our school’s blog site. I found that odd, because to my knowledge there are no 8th grade classes using blogs. So I asked to see...

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Enough with Elgg moving to WordPress MU

So in about mid October I installed our own installation of Elgg. I did it for two reasons: 1. It integrated with Moodle which we already use. That way if a student had an account in Moodle already, they could us the same username and login to get started using Elgg. The two would be linked giving more flexibility for blogging in Elgg but keep the Learning Management System of Moodle. 2. We were having more and more teachers wanting to blog and I was/am trying to find away to keep all those blogs in one place. We had 5th graders using Blogmeister, Middle Schoolers using their own WordPress installs, and another teacher using Edublogs. I wanted to try and find away to put all the blogs from the two campuses in one location and allow the students from both campuses the ability to interact with each other, comment to each other, and join communities with each other. As much as I love the concept behind Elgg it’s been frustrating to work with. Not two days after the first class signed up with it we started getting an error message on our shared hosting site. It kept saying we were exceeding 20% of the CPU memory. I’ve trying to find an answer for this, send a number of e-mails, and posted it in the elgg.net community only to find out others have been having this problem as well. After 2 months of this happening and because it sits on the same site as our Moodle install and the error knocks Moodle down for awhile, I’ve decided to change. Then there is the community thing. I love the idea, but in a school setting the administrator needs to have more control over those communities. You can’t delete them once they are created and anyone can create a community. In my opinion the admin interface needs a little more work, being able to quickly find users to reset passwords and such. I know it’s still in beta and I take full responsibility for jumping out there with a program that isn’t fully developed yet…but oh the pain. So, I’m in the process of setting up a WordPress MU site. I’ve been working with WordPress for over a year now and understand the coding a little bit. It also just has a bigger community, so answers are easily found within the MU...

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Learning from the kids

I came home tonight looking forward to going through my aggregator and getting some other stuff online done. But I made the mistake of stopping by some of the online projects going on around the school. Needless to say my learning tonight came from a bunch of middle school students. I’ve spent the last two hours shaking my head. Why don’t more teachers see the power in these tools. First a great project got started today called the International Environmental Symposium. It’s a Moodle course that we are hosting that involves some 153 7th grade students from Brazil, California, Saudi Arabia, and China. I’ve been working with the teachers the past couple of weeks getting the class ready to go and student accounts created. Tonight students had their first two assignments, and I’ve been sucked in. First up was a simple introduction forum but read some of these: My mom is Swedish but my dad is Indian. My nationality is Swedish and I have lived there for 12 years. I came to Riyadh last year. My name is [Student Name] and I come from the United States. However, I currently attend the Shanghai American School in Shanghai. I am twelve years old, in seventh grade, and was born in California, near Los Angeles, but my family moved to Shanghai when I was four. Because of this, I identify with a blend of American and Chinese cultures. Hey Everyone! I’m [Student Name]. I was born in North Carolina, USA, and movd around a lot in america to pennsylvania, virginia, and iowa. After finishing 4th grade, i moved here to Shanghai, China, and i have lived here for around 2 and a half years. I am 12 years old. My dad grew up in india, but went to college in america . My mom grew up in minnesota, USA, so i’m half american and half indian. China is my first foregin country that i have lived in. These are the third culture kids that we teach internationally. All 153 tell a similar story, How easy will it be for these students to adjust to this new world. They are already flexible. Most of them have lived in may different places. I then headed over to check in on Courtney’s Blog. Some of you might remember Courtney, she was at all four of my LAN parties for the K12online conference. She has started a blog with...

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