Moodle 2 for mobile

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This page is for brainstorming ideas for the official Moodle mobile smartphone application for Moodle 2.0. See Mobile app for the developer spec.

Overview

In this section we list which systems is going to be supported by the official Moodle phone app. We also list the available applications on these systems.

Apple iOS

The offical Moodle application should work on iPhone 3G. It seems Apple doesn't allow to publish new app other than iOS4 on the app store, it needs to be confirmed. There are two known applications on the Apple app store:

  • MTouch created by Ali OzGur (available April 2010) - most likely to parse your Moodle HTML to find matching tag
  • mPage created by Mass Media, HK (available May 24, 2010) - require a plugin to be installed on your Moodle site (install some web services).

Other not-Moodle applications:

iPhone related documents:

Google Android

You can find a discussion about Moodle on Android in the Moodle.org forum. There is one app for Android 1.5, mPage.

Web applications

The Moodle phone app will not be a web application. However you can find several web projects connecting to Moodle , including:

(Note: I didn't test them all. If your login/password is required you must trust these sites.)

Use cases

The Moodle smartphone app has not for objective to translate the web UI into native UI. It has for objective to quick a quicker access to some functions. It should also use the phone capabilities (GPS, camera, gyroscope). Here are listed the use cases that could be implemented on a mobile device. It should also list some rejected use cases.

All users

  • take a photo/video and send it to your private file: "I'm building a Moodle course for my astrology thesis. During my holidays I see some magnificent shooting stars. I open the Moodle app, click on the camera icon and I save quickly some picture for later."
  • read new messages from other people (private and forum) with same screen answer box (text/image/video/audio): "My iPhone alert of a new private message (I can see the 200 first character). I click on the read button, the Moodle app open with the message displayed, I can answer on the same screen. I should also be able to add picture or video to it." (SMS like feature)
  • take a photo/video and post as attachment to a forum for discussion: "During a ballad I discover a unknown mineral. I take a picture, select my mineral forum, I write a question about this rock, and press send. Maybe my teacher will know and I hope to receive quickly an alert message."
  • take a photo/video and post to a database activity (including location): "I'm a teacher, I brought the student to the zoo. I ask them to take some picture (open app, click on camera icon and save in the database), they comment why they took the picture and send it to the database. The day after will we will have a look to the more interesting pictures." - read this blog post
  • conference: "I'd like to have a quick meeting with my two other friends on our common project to reassign everybody task. I press conference, select my group, enter a quick message why I want this meeting, all my group receive an alert with the message. They can enter in the conf (chat, audio, video, whiteboard)".
  • new mobile mindmapping activity: 'I'm sitting in the train going back home, I'd like to do a bit of brainstorming about a new course I'd like to present.'
  • new mobile activity: "a form of collaborative activity for instant like twitter is interesting. The teacher gives a question to think and to exchange students, and via their phone they post "messages". These messages appear in real time on the platform of the web."
  • Find direction to a campus buildings: "press campus map icon, select building, iPhone Map app open and you can go there"
  • Add selected student/teacher to my iPhone contacts or contact them right now: "press contacts icon, select student, press add to iPhone contact"


Student

  • see my grades (limited view): "My parents want to see my week results. Press the grade button, my last grades are displayed. My parents can be confident to know all about my results."
  • see my activities/assignments deadlines, specially the close ones: "I'm about to buy a second beer when my best friend talks how hard he worked on his essay. Which essay? I check my 'Next due assignments" on the mobile app and run to home."
  • video assignment like [in this plugin http://blog.poodll.com/?page_id=138]
  • new assignment: capture photo
  • new mobile activity: "real-time activity that allows students to live reporting, filming and explores what he sees. Imagine a teacher who gave the interview as the subject of a professional, the student could directly send the sound file and image by the app"
  • new mobile activity: Games by your teacher: a teacher could setup some games on Moodle web (like a quiz, or an easy 'Risk' version for kids), the game become available to her/his students Moodle mobile app. They could be unblock following assignment completion.
  • new student response system "clicker" mobile activity: anyone ask a question and students give their opinion by some kind of clicker/voting system. (see polleverywhere)
  • new Group activity alert: I'm on the bus going to Uni. The app alerts me that a new group activity has been added to this week's section of the course. I SMS my group members and arrange to meet over coffee before class to figure out who should do what.
  • updated web page resource: I'm about to leave campus campus for the weekend. The app alerts me that the "Recommended readings" web page resource has changed. I check the updated resource and find that the teacher has just added a new reading for next week. it's a p-book (as in paper) so I divert to the library and borrow the book before the copies run out.
  • audio grade notification: I'm driving to campus for my afternoon class having dropped the kids off to school and done some Xmas shopping.. The app notifies me by voice that my last assigment has been graded and that my "mark is: 79% and teacher feedback is: yayy! " I SMS a couple of friends and arrange a celebratory lunch before class. All hands free coz I'm driving remember :)

Teacher

  • Check attendance: 'I'm at the beginning of a class. I open my moodle app, press attendance, select one of my course and check the two students that are not here.'
  • see grades (limited view): "I'm at a parent meeting. I quickly have look to the student grades before to speak."
  • check activities/assignments deadlines, with number of missing submissions: "I receive an alert. There is too many late submission. I decide to push back the date with a bonus of 25% for not late submissions".
  • give grades if it doesn't require much effort: "I'm a teacher of Spanish as second language. I asked the students to translate 10 lines in Spanish. I receive an alert on my iPhone. The student name, submission date, and her ten lines are displayed. I could browse other student submission on another screen but I know she did the best. I press A+ and confirm."
  • download all assignments (eg pdfs), grade them offline, send back to students: "This time I asked my students to translate 1000 lines. I'm not that much interested to receive an alert for every submissions. At home, during the weekend, I open the Mobile app and download all new assignment submission by wifi. Then I go to beach and I read and grade the two new assignment a B+. Coming back to home to I receive a timed alert telling me that I should send the grades. I open the app and press send."
  • add note about student: 'I'm a sport educator, I'd like to add a quick note about a player without losing much of the game. Press notes icon, select student, enter note, enter reminder if needed, close the app'
  • Allow instructors to review PDFed assignments and comment with text or audio comments that get shared back with the student. Preferably also allow you to highlight/redmark elements of the PDF as well (sort of like iAnnotate on Moodle assignment submissions)

Settings and feature

  • a switch to go from a Moodle Teacher app to Moodle student app, first time app is launching, select teacher or student / our implement two different app. Note: we could go for no teacher/student difference into the app. The app just look different following the user permission.
  • Update a location field in the profile with current location, for display with Google map
  • Synch the participants of a course so we can have nice choose-lists of users in the app, like Contacts app or Coverflow
  • display a dashboard of the needs (Note: this should be a use case otherwise it's maybe not that wanted...)
  • sync my event with my iPhone calendar to receive reminder.
  • QR code support when taking a picture
  • Accessibility settings: size of fonts, change default colors
  • Running stats across app how many people using it... (stats could appear on the Moodle teacher page)
  • Option to turn off geotagging to protect student privacy (photos)

More suggestions

These suggestions need to be more detailed to know if they are responding to a real mobile need. We need to answer the questions: What is the real life use case as student/teacher? Why is it useful? What is going to happen once you this use case is done (what are your following actions/ what are the consequences)?

  • access course materials
  • alert for resource update
  • alert for new resource/activity
  • text to speech
  • convert picture to text
  • see new submissions
  • Community Hub app - search courses
  • 'Moodle Recipes' - a bunch of tried and tested uses of activities
  • 'Idea Generator' - create new activities
  • 'Moodle Tool Guide' - related to above really, a bit like Joyce Seitzinger's poster
  • some sort of GPS, location based services, included which could be integrated to maps (openstreetmap.org) for contextual location based learning. ie: "here you are at the high water mark of the 2011 QLD flood in Brisbane" and/or like a game quest, game adventure. Teacher can imagine a game in the city or in a place.
  • 'Moodle Help App' - most common troubleshooting items
  • Something for younger kids - image-based, games
  • Opens with MyMoodle stats related to learners hours logged in, assignments submitted etc (nothing like competition between friends)
  • Ability to complete all activities
  • Integration with Web 2.0 apps particularly Twitter/FB/Flickr
  • Moodle video tutorials with option for users to upload and increase volume of resources
  • Ability to edit courses as a tutor
  • Option to request resources/courses/help from community
  • Shake function to link to common function
  • Use notifications to alert me if courses have been updated.
  • A screen where you could access each of the different blocks that might be included in the full desktop/laptop version of the course but difficult to display on the small mobile screen
  • Upload photos to Lightbox module for those who don't have/want flickr etc accounts in cloud

See also