Since the focus of my research lately has been Social Networking - I was intrigued to see a presentation on how Moodle & Social Networking could be brought together. Now I believe Social Networking is bigger than just one tool (i.e. Facebook) and I align it more with the PLN (Personal Learning network - see great post by Jeff Utech) way of thinking and I was happy to see that this session took that same viewpoint.
One of things I worry about is "throwing" too many tools at my faculty. It takes so long for them to overcome some of the hurdles of tool acquisition, that I would rather use an existing tool to do some things. However, forcing a tool to do something it is not intended to do does not always work out.
So Stuart Mealor (whom as I mentioned previously was my favorite speaker from the conference) decided to use Moodle as an aggregator of sorts (reminds me a bit of something like pageflakes or iGoogle to a certain degree). He uses a Moodle Course to "house" all of his social networking or PLN info. Since I am constantly looking for a way to encourage our students to create a web presence for themselves (and not necessarily only through html coding) I really like this idea - but how did he do it?
- He created a new role for students as a very restricted teacher and called this "owner" (I like this idea, because in the past (like with the Student Portfolio Project) I have created another instance of Moodle and stripped out some of the tools to acomplish this)
- Each student gets their own course to use as a homepage
- Shared bookmarks add-in (like del.icio.us)
- Quick Mail
- iFrames (displays a site inside of Moodle - just an html trick)
- Lightbox Gallery
- Explode (2.0 update - feed aggregation library)