Thread on a new model for collaboration

Martin Langhoff martin.langhoff at
Tue Oct 28 15:01:55 EDT 2008

On Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 10:40 PM, Juliano Bittencourt
<juliano at> wrote:
> I think both
> don't have what is necessary to support change in education on primary
> schools around the world.

I'm *very* interested in following up on what the current crop of LMSs
are missing, could do different, etc.

Apologies -- I didn't know you used moodle -- I had asked David
Cavallo and Carla and neither had knowledge of Moodle, which to me was
a surprise, so my assumptions of the edu team knowing moodle well were
shattered. Fantastic to hear some people know it :-)

>   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.

Agreed. OTOH, Moodle has been built with the same focus on social
constructionism that we have. Most people do _not_ use it in a social
constructionist style, but the lesser known modules (workshop for
instance) are heavily focused on the kind of thing I understand you
are after.

(Now here I'm making ome assumptions about what kind of social
constructionism tools and strategies you are using. I'm at 1CC next
week, and I'm hoping to work a bit with the edu team to learn more
about how you think about these things.)

I've also been talking quite a bit with educators that _are_ using
moodle in what I think are interesting ways. In my to-do list is to
talk with the edu team about this, and see if it's of interest.

My first stage with the XS has been one of technical focus -- lots of
under-the-hood things needed sorting out. That is now in better shape,
and I can now shift my attention to educational tools.

> students, was much more like SourceForge (site which I believe is one of the
> best virtual web environments) than a CMS.

Interesting perspective -- is my baby and is based on the
original SF code (known as GForge) and we found its usability was
horrible. We probably need to discuss this further, I suspect it's not
the tool but the mental model of "we're here for a project" vs "we're
here for a course".

>    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.

Completely agreed when discussing the educational perspective.
However, the number of tools is a good measure of the health of the
project and long term viability. In geekspeak, when we pick a codebase
and API to base ourefforts on, we want something that is long-term

So I'd like to learn more from your Amadis research work and how we
want things to work. Might turn out that we can twist and turn moodle
to match the model you want users to see / use. Moodle is good at
being extremely configurable and also allowing us to plug-in things
like course-formats that change completely how stuff is presented and
used. And I think I know a thing or two on how to make the most of
that :-)

Of course, we may find that moodle is completely the wrong base. I
think it's unlikely but I've changed my tools before, and will do it
again if need be. I'm a pragmatic (and lazy!) bastard at heart, so my
moodle fanticism will vanish in a wink if something else is a
better/faster/shorter road to where I'm going.


 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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