Thread on a new model for collaboration

Juliano Bittencourt juliano at
Mon Oct 27 17:40:52 EDT 2008

    Hello all,

    First of all I would like to bring some perspective to this  
discussion. I don't want that this become a thread Amadis x Moodle,  
because I think both don't have what is necessary to support change in  
education on primary schools around the world. I composed this message  
about collaboration because I really wanted to stress some ideas  
internally before having an open discussion with the community.
    I agree with you about all the qualities  that moddle has  
(functionality, inter-operation, community, etc). But that isn't my  
point. Yet, I think these decision criterias are important, changing  
education isn't about doing the same things in the same ways we did  
before. Otherwise, Sugar would never exists, as an example.
    I also think that your argumentation is based on the idea that we  
don't know moodle, and our ignorance is the reason why we are  
criticizing it. Actually I've used Moodle for some time in different  
situations  and I'm using other LMS/CMS systems for more than 10  
years. I think Moodle is a nice tool for several contexts (like grad  
and undergrad courses), but it isn't a good tool for primary  
education. In this scenario, it really misses the point.
    AMADIS actually isn't really a product for widespread use. It is a  
7 years umbrella research project that aims to answer one question:  
What a web application should looks like to support constructionist  
learning environments? My research group in Brazil is long know by our  
research and work to promote and understand constructivism/  
constructionism in our country. We wanted to know how to build web  
tools that could support this learning environments at schools.
      In this trail we have developed at least 4 different web  
applications, and the tool know as AMADIS is the one we re implemented  
at least 5 times during this period based in the feedback of the  
students. Our objective wasn't to create a production like tool, but  
to deeply reflect about the possibilities of web and learning.
    During this time, the tool we find out had more impact for primary  
schools students, was much more like SourceForge (site which I believe  
is one of the best virtual web environments) than a CMS. Actually, I  
think that school is already too much focused in courses, and we don't  
need more tools to replicated this in the web And that is the  
fundamental problem about CMS like systems. In my personal belief, and  
in the practice of the research group I belong to, constructionism  in  
practice is much more related to the development of depth long term  
projects (and this is where SF is good) than to the management of  
courses, assignments, tests, grades.
     I also believe that the number of tools isn't the most important  
judgment criteria. Much more important than the number of tools is the  
way you structure them inside your user interface. This isn't just  
about how the make the UI more usable, but more important how to  
reflect in the UI your main ideas about education.
      I expect this message helps to clarify my ideas,


the conspirator

On 27/10/2008, at 08:49, Martin Langhoff wrote:

> On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 6:12 PM, Greg Smith  
> <gregsmitholpc at> wrote:
>> The main idea is that there is another "asynchronous" concept of
>> collaboration which we may be able to implement with less complexity
>> than what we now call collaboration (e.g.
> I think I have this area covered with Moodle -- if you look in the
> wiki, I've described moodle as the base for the asynchronous
> educational tools. Amadis seems to be a comparatively young project
> trying to make a stab at the exact spot where Moodle has already
> succeeded in.
> It would be interesting to hear if anyone has in-depth experience with
> Moodle *and* with Amadis, but from what I see, Amadis trails moodle
> significnatly in
> - functionality - it is strictly a subset of what moodle offers
> - interop with many other tools - moodle's success means many other
> tools are compatible with it
> - widespread community of educators - thanks to network effects...
> - widespread community of developers (core devs and contributed  
> modules devs)
> - long term viability
> - moodle has an clear and strong leadership that is rarely matched
> there are a least a few dozen LMS/CMSs of note -- but moodle is the
> yardstick at the moment, and has growing momentum, so it's a hard one
> to overtake.
> Lately we've been having recurring conversations about the XS where it
> is clear to me that you haven't seen or used Moodle. It's frustrating
> for both of us as you argue for features that I know are there, but
> you can't quite see "where". So I've signed you up for a compulsory
> Moodle course with me as soon as I visit 1CC :-)
> One on one. Mano a mano. You'll either understand why I'm so crazy
> about moodle, or commit me to a mental hospital.
> I am also planning to talk about this with the education team -- David
> and his co-conspirators -- and I am very interested in their feedback.
> From prior experience with educators, I think they'll like it :-).
> I'd like you to join those sessions too, not so much to hear me talk
> but to hear them.
> cheers,
> m
> -- 
> martin.langhoff at
> martin at -- School Server Architect
> - ask interesting questions
> - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first
> -
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Juliano Bittencourt <juliano at>
Laboratório de Estudos Cognitivos - LEC

Address: Rua Ramiro Barcelos, 2600 - Bairro Santa Cecília - Porto  
Alegre - RS - Brasil
Phone: +55 51 3308 5250 and +55 51 3308 5690

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