Moodle on the olpc School Server : Overview - This case study investigates how we can support, through the learning management system Moodle, digital literacy in the “internet” age when connectivity is not always possible. Background - One Laptop Per Child (olpc) are deploying laptops called XOs running Sugar, a Linux based learning platform. Many olpc deployments have School servers running a specially designed Moodle install to support those deployments. The School Server used in this study, known as XS, runs a Fedora Linux operating system, customized to complement the olpc laptops and run with little or no maintenance. The XS provides connectivity, shared resources and services, allowing asynchronous interaction, larger storage capacity than that on the laptops, and advantages in processing power. It also provides networking infrastructure for the school and supports various wireless network setups, including standard Access Points. This is a case study of two deployments in the Pacific region that use Moodle. The two primary schools are on Savaii in Samoa, where year 4, 5 and 6 students have been given olpc laptops. Since these schools do not have internet access, they were provided with “offline slices”. The school server was used to provide students and teachers access to Moodle, a local copy of Schools Wikipedia, a library of e-books and a range of activities for use on their laptops. Discussion - In terms of education it was found the school server, running a tailored version of Moodle learning management system, provided flexible communication, collaboration and publishing environment. However, finding appropriate e-resources to download was hard work.
Photo of me at moodle event
Photo of olpc NZ community
When the XO registers on the XS it creates an account in Moodle and in the backup system. This is required if they are to access resources from the XS. There is no password – physical access to the XO laptop grants access.
This is the Browse homepage, they click “Local schoolserver” or if there was internet they could use the Google search function. In Samoa we changed the default homepage in Browse to show the students quick links to Moodle, activities, books, and their local Wikipedia.
This is the XS homepage. It is the Moodle frontpage with courses on the left and some quick links to resources on the right. The Activities link lets the students choose the activities/games that they add to their laptop, opportunities to develop your skills in areas of student choice
Ebooks Download from server onto laptop – take home and read with family or read at school with friends. Hard to find a good collection of libre ebooks on short notice. Projects that do collect ebooks don't make bulk download easy.
Wikipedia slice On server vs on laptop
Backup and restore Journal
Research into digital literacy skills Africa – coke bottle, PNG – cargo culture... blind faith John Seely Brown – navigational literacy … sea of information... digital being (in the future reliant on a sense of location) – examples might be are you looking at government info or 12 year olds blog? Walking into a new culture – disoriented, incapable of operating in new environment George Siemens – connectivism – how learning is connected to ideas of networks and patterns Richer opportunities to recognise patterns Library versus one book – starting to see similarities and differences, the patterns emerge (download book – knowing knowledge) I and We learning; personal learning environments are not always online
Challenges Open content and licenses Many wikis have permissive licences, but do not provide an export function. Spidering is technically difficult and frowned upon by many admins. We failed to make a copy of the olpc wiki and suffered when not connected to the internet as a result.