Saving Office Files to Moodle

April 6, 2010

I have to admit I am not sure if this is a logical next step or a backward one….

The following link was tweeted on Twitter about an Office Add-in for Moodle.

Uploading files to Moodle has never been easier.  The Office Add-in for Moodle (OAM) is an add-in for Microsoft Office (versions 2003 and 2007) that allows teachers to open and save Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents to a Moodle website. Today, teachers who use Office and Moodle have to switch back and forth between their web browser and Office applications.  With the OAM, teachers can create, open, edit, and save Moodle documents from within the Office applications.  You no longer need to use your web browser when working with Office documents stored in Moodle.

So what do you need in order to start using the add-in?  OAM does not require anything to be installed on the Moodle server (but note we only tested against Moodle versions 1.X-1.X).  Anyone who is the teacher or owner of a Moodle course can install the add-in and access their documents.  Once installed, the add-in adds two menu items to your File menu (Office 2003) or the Office Button menu: Open from Moodle and Save to Moodle.  In order to browse course files on your Moodle you will need to first tell the add-in the address of your Moodle and the credentials you use to log in.  Once added you can view the list of courses you are enrolled in.  Naturally, students and others can access the content directly from Moodle as they normally would.

This makes it very simple for practitioners to add content to a Moodle course using tools they are familar with. They can  use Office in the usual way, open files…

…and then save those files direct to Moodle.

Now this is great for those staff who upload Office documents to their Moodle courses, now they don’t even need to use a Web Browser…

However I do wonder if this is a forward step in making it easier to use  VLE or a backward step with a focus on content and Office documents rather than open standards and engaging content.

What’s your verdict?

PhotoForge – iPhone App of the Week

April 6, 2010

PhotoForge – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is PhotoForge.

PhotoForge is a highly optimized editing and painting application designed for the iPhone and iPod touch. It can be used for image manipulation, retouching, effects, and color correction, as well as a painter’s tool. It is indispensable for creating original artwork, or editing photos on your mobile device.

PhotoForge is a superb photographer’s tool, providing digital darkroom capabilities that are second to none. It is also a tool for creating incredible works of art and illustrations. PhotoForge allows you to put together an image, combining filters, brushes, and effects. They may be hand-painted, or a composite of photographic images mixed with painting. The filters and effects can be layered to produce even more dynamic results.


There are numerous art and photographic Apps in the iTunes Store, and I have bought a fair few of them. I like to edit photographs and though I will more often then not use my Mac, when I am out in the field, to be able to edit photographs taken with the iPhone ON the iPhone then these Apps make life really easy.

PhotoForge is one of the more complicated and advanced photo manipulation Apps on the iTunes Store, with lots of features and functionality. Sometimes you want a simple App and sometimes you want something with a bit more oomph.

Take this photograph that I took in Bristol recently. It has to be said that the camera on the iPhone (even on the iPhone 3GS) is not the best cameraphone I have used, the Nokia N95 took nice photographs, whilst the Google Nexus One takes really nice photographs. Anyhow so I took this image with the iPhone and as you can see the result was not brilliant, the sun was shining into the camera by the looks of it.

So using Photoforge, doing some cropping, changing levels and adding a few FX I got to this.

Now this is something I could use to illustrate a blog article or discussion forum on the VLE. It is the ability to create content, edit photographs on the iPhone that make the iPhone such an interesting and useful device for learning. It becomes more than just a phone, it becomes a tool that enables learning to happen, as well as lots of other things too.

There are numerous adjustments, tools and filters in the App. The main constraint will be how you can use the tools expertly enough with just your finger.

I am awaiting to see how I can use similar Apps on the iPad, though of course you will need to use the iPad Camera Connection Kit to get your photographs onto the iPad, though this does mean you can use a DSLR or other digital camera instead of the iPhone camera!

There are simpler Apps in the App Store and there are free Apps that do one thing (such as the B&W filter), however I do like PhotoForge, it is a powerful image editing tool and or what it can do on such a small device as the iPhone, it is well worth the £1.79 that it costs.