Monday, August 28, 2006

Civil War Muster Embalming Impression

It's been several weeks since I have updated this blog. I have been working around with my Moodle site for school, enjoying some vacation with my family and most recently I attended the Civil War Muster that is presented by Cascades, Inc. at Cascades Park in Jackson, Michigan.

I took the opportunity to bring along my MiniDisk recorder and have recorded several conversations with reenactors that were doing impressions for the spectators as well as reenactors that took the field in the Battle of Chickamauga. I will be preparing the recordings and will be sharing them here and with my classes during our Civil War Seminar.

Today's podcast features a topic that was cutting-edge technology during the civil war, embalming. Most soldiers were buried on the battle field, but some were preserved and sent home. The reenactor I spoke to actually does embalming and decided to share the knowledge he has gained about embalming during this time period. While the topic of embalming may seem morbid, the families of the fallen soldiers would welcome the opportunity to bury their loved one at home. I hope you find this impression as interesting as I did.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Moodle in My Classroom

I've been reading about and playing with an installation of Moodle. Moodle, for those who might not know, is a Virtual Classroom Environment or a Classroom Management System. This is to say that Moodle is open-source software that allows for conversation and collaboration among all those in a particular classroom setting. This is especially interesting due to the probable passage of DOPA (Deleting On-line Predators Act) in the U.S. Congress. The passage of DOPA will limit the ability of teachers and students to use commercial web-based social network applications that have students create an on-line profile. Moodle then becomes a very important tool that schools and teachers can use to allow students the opportunity to develop 21st century digital literacy skills as Moodle can be hosted by the school. (for more about digital literacy skills, refer to Will Richardson's and David Warlick's books)

The most current installation of Moodle (v1.6) allows for all of the Web2.0 functions are becoming powerful tools in the 21st century classroom. Weblogs, Wikis, and Podcasts are all available. This helps calm some of my fears of the limitations DOPA will create in my classroom. I will be interested to see what my school's IT team will implement and if Moodle or someother LMS is used to provide these important tools to students and staff.