LWMN011: Digital Inequality, Martin Dougiamas on the Future of Moodle, Curriculum Theory | Week of October 7th, 2017

The last week in moodlenews 09 OCT 17

--- Advertisement ---

Connected 2023
Connected Conference OpenLMS

Hey everyone – welcome to the Last Week in MoodleNews, I’m Stephen Ladek from

In this episode we’ll be talking about the most important stories from the Moodleverse for the week of October 7th, 2017. In this episode, I’ll be covering Digital Inequality, Martin Dougiamas on the Future of Moodle, and a Curriculum Theory game.

Before we get started, if you’ve found value in this show could you please take just a few seconds right now and share it with a fellow Moodler or a colleague or friend who is interested in edtech or innovation? Just use the sharing options on your podcast player. You can also find these episodes on our twitter feed at MoodleNews or on

And, finally, as usual, a quick shout out to our sponsor:

eThink LogoThis podcast is sponsored by eThink Education: a high-touch, high quality Certified Moodle Partner that has a passion for the transformative powers of technology for the learning process. Visit them today at


In this section, I summarize the three most popular posts from the last 7 days on

  • First, A new era of usability is starting with Moodle Mobile 3.3.2.
    • One of the takeaways from MoodleMoot New Orleans, which we’ll cover in more detail later in this episode, was that, for the coming year, the focus of the development team at Moodle will be on the usability of the components that already work, rather than new features.
    • So, this mean that for Moodle Mobile 3.3.2, you can expect a smoother operation and bug fixes, especially in page scrolling and media player controls.
    • You can get the Moodle Mobile in every app store, or on
  • And speaking of usability, a Moodle Calendar prototype has been released.
    • A list of long awaited enhancements were made possible by Stephen Bourget and the Moodle Users Association who chose to support this project.
    • Drag-and-drop events between dates, view all events at once or by course, and importing and exporting between popular calendar clients are some of the new features coming with Moodle 3.4 this November.
    • The prototype is still a bit rough around the edges, but it already looks like an interesting and useful upgrade for students and teachers.
    • Check it out at
  • Finally, how would popular business models look like, when applied in Moodle?
    • In the tech world, some of the best ideas are brilliantly simple. And there’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from their success, as long as we keep perspective.
    • Whether you are building an app to let students find a teacher in less than five minutes, binge on hours of lessons with one subscription, or create the first “Moodle Blockchain” –whatever that ends up being–, we tell you what your idea can be, but also what it doesn’t have to be.
    • So check out the six examples we provide at and let us know your thoughts. At the end of the day, all that matters is that we are creating value for our learners.

Find these stories and more at


In this section, I dive in-depth into one of the most interesting topics happening in the Moodle community over the past week.

We live in a world of two contrasting forces. On the one hand, social and economic indicators reveal that we continue to show tremendous progress in areas like poverty and health. On the other hand, we have some of the worst levels of economic inequality in history.

  • The consequences for educational technology are visible, and not only in developing countries.
    • We recently reported on Australia’s Digital Inclusion Index report, which showed clear inequalities in digital abilities, affecting ethnic and older groups the most.
    • In the US, a stark picture of these inequalities became clear in the documentary “Without a Net: The Digital Divide in America” by Rory Kennedy, released just a few days ago.
    • In education, the recent launch of the Goalkeepers Report by the Gates Foundation highlights the additional problems measuring the quality of education, which the digital divide is definitely not helping.
  • So, what does this all mean for teachers and students in various parts of the world?
    • For starters, it’s clear that limited access to information makes problems harder to solve. With weaker connectivity, data and digital literacy gets compromised and this has compounding effects year after year.
    • There is also a clear relationship between access to technology and the availability of resources, including skills. Good teachers don’t usually go to places where technological resources are scarce. And even if they did, without the right tools their impact would be seriously compromised.
    • A final area of concern involves privacy. Even if people don’t have frequent access to the internet, their personal information in public or private records faces the same risks and vulnerabilities, but they might be less aware about them, their rights, and the means to protect themselves.
  • Ultimately, the good news seems to outweigh the bad ones, but there’s still plenty of work left to do. Echoing the Gates Goalkeepers report: “Progress is possible, not inevitable”
    • Another consequence of the divide is that investments in software tend to focus on people who are already connected, which only makes sense. But you are an investor or an entrepreneur, consider how your model can promote inclusion.
    • Finally, an in-depth report by the research institute Data & Society, also launched a few days ago, offers a series of resources, if you want to get involved in digital inclusion activism.

This section of LWMN is sponsored by WizIQ, a ready-to-use, integrated delivery platform for instructors and institutions. Get everything you need to teach and train online at


In this section, I discuss interesting information that affects everyone in #edtech.

Last week, Moodle HQ released a video playlist of the MoodleMoot US, New Orleans presentations and keynotes.

  • For those of you who haven’t been lucky enough to attend one of this year’s Moots the videos offer a chance to listen to Martin Dougiamas, creator and CEO of Moodle.
    • Even though he gave a similar talk in France, Germany, and Australia last month, there’s a couple of reasons why this version was special. As you might remember, MoodleMoot New Orleans took place within Bb World, Blackboard’s conference.
    • It was an opportunity to compare approaches about educational technology, openness, and a sense of global mission. Martin insisted one more time on Moodle as a tool to empower teachers and increase the quality of education that every student and citizen gets, which for him is the foundation of essentially all the world’s “Big Problems.”
    • And while what he calls the “Silicon Valley” model sets the pace of innovation, Martin defended the Open movements, focusing on education but as a general tool for civic engagement, sustainability, and equality.
  • Focusing on the role of Moodle HQ, he shared the key ways in which the core team will expand to better support Moodle innovators:
    • Big plans are coming for Moodle Europe, starting with a Barcelona office that might overtake the Perth office in size.
    • There are also plans for a Moodle Foundation, maybe located in Brussels, that would centralize funding and cooperation about open source development in education.
    • With these movements, Moodle is looking to increase the level of research, development, and innovation, as well as to consolidate a reservoir of knowledge for Europe and the world. Martin wants to prevent more great Moodle ideas from dissolving into thin air once the projects are finished, as it often happens.
  • Finally, he revealed the future of Moodle’s existing solutions as well as exciting new directions:
    • The Moodle core, Moodle Mobile and Moodle Desktop might not bring a lot of new features for Moodle 3.5, and maybe even 3.6. Instead, the development team will focus for the next year in a user-centered reorganization.
    • This is not to say you will not see great improvements in Moodle’s existing elements. Over the coming versions we can expect a deeper integration with Office, Google, and open source third-parties, as well as a much more powerful and useful Analytics from Project Inspire.
    • Finally, two ambitious new projects were announced, with a few details:
      • An expansion of Moodle’s learning offerings beyond the Learn Moodle MOOC, with level, specializations, and university partnerships; and
      • the Moodle Academy, a platform to share content, with options to generate revenues for educators.


In this section, I focus on a practical way to help you up your Moodle game.

In the past year, I have seen a growing interest in what is called the Curriculum Theory, or the Schiro Model.

  • So let me ask you a question: Which Moodle activity to you use the most?
    • If you answered the Quiz, or the Portfolio, your teaching is closer to “User-Centered Design.”
    • If your answer was the Lesson, the Book, or a plugin with a subject-specific purpose, your teaching might be closer to the “Social Efficiency” approach.
    • And if your answer was the Wiki, the Forum, the Database, or the Glossary, you might be better suited with the “Social Justice” approach.
  • And now let me ask you a 2nd question: Which analytics about your students are the most important?
    • If you think time spent in Moodle activities, or personal accounts of satisfaction and improvement are the most important, you may be partial to “User-Centered Design.”
    • If you think the evolution of academic performance, or Moodle Badges earned are more important, your teaching might belong in the “Social Efficiency” category.
    • Finally, if what matters most to you is the volume of interactions between students, its frequency and the direct or indirect links between them on a network, you are probably closer to the “Social Justice” approach.
  • So, where does your teaching belong? What does it mean, and which one is better?


In this section, I discuss what we’re excited about publishing this week at

  • Stay tuned for a complete review of the MoodleMoot US playlist.
    • Starting with a review of the Moodle for the Next ten years by Martin Dougiamas, we’ll give you the highlights and the innovative ideas coming from New Orleans.
    • The complete playlist features expert Moodlers, some of which we have covered previously, as well as panels and collaborative sessions.
    • However, with so much to unpack from the event, we’re looking into releasing individual reviews of some of the best talks, over the coming weeks.
  • Also, check out our Open Source news roundup.
    • We want to bring you an overview about the open source community beyond Moodle, as recent event might influence our choices and practice moving forward.
    • Probably the biggest news is the controversial decision by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to leave the World Wide Web Consortium over a dispute over Digital Rights Management, which many argue go against the principles of an open internet.
    • We’ll also share the latest news from some of the Open Source software we use, and how it might affect your Moodle practice.
  • Finally, don’t miss our October plugin review!
    • We bring updates on popular plugins including Level Up! For gamification, Metadata to extend information in user profiles, or the Free Seats Report that is, well, kind of self-explanatory.
    • There’s also a few new interesting gems, such as the MEDIAL video player and Course guide.
    • And as always, if you’d like us to review a plugin, including your own, just let us know at [email protected]

Ok – that’s it for this week. Thanks for listening to The Last Week in MoodleNews Podcast. If you like what you’re hearing please take just a few seconds to give us a review on iTunes or whatever podcast app you happen to be using… And, of course, join me next week for all the most important news about Moodle.

Subscribe to Last Week in MoodleNews Podcast via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher, Android, YouTube or listen to it at

LWMN is hosted and produced by Stephen Ladek, with writing, research, and editing by Cristian Duque and Joseph Thibault.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Dive Deeper On

The Latest

The eLearn Podcast

Connected Conference OpenLMS

--- Advertisement ---

Post Pages - Sidebar 4 - CourseMerchant

--- Advertisement ---

Post Pages - Sidebar 7 - Titus Learning

--- Advertisement ---

Post Pages - Sidebar 5 - Edwiser (RemUI)

Subscribe to our newsletter

Education technology has the power to change lives. 

To get the latest news, information and resources about online learning from around the world by clicking on the button below.