Moodlemoot Australia 2014, #mootau14

Three-hundred and twenty delegates (at least that’s what I was told) flew to balmy Cairns in North Queensland where smiles are abundant, time slows down and winter bones are warmed.

The conference opened with Alec Couros’ stimulating talk on Embracing Open & Connected Learning. Alec demonstrated some extraordinary examples of web connectivity and crowd sourcing for ideas and support. There were big laughs, ooo’s and ahhh’s, but the example that delighted me the most was a simple YouTube video of a young boy trying his best to make fire with the bow drill technique. Being unsuccessful, he shot the video and posted it on YouTube to ask for help: “If you have any suggestions can you comment below?” Well he did receive comments, and plenty of them for that matter! The most extraordinary thing is that there seems to be many fire bow experts out there, who knew exactly what the boy had to do for his method to succeed. Education by collaboration—excellent!

The conference theme, the evolution of Moodle, was really more about the evolution of education. This was proved out in a presentation by Mark Harwood from World Vision titled Helping African farmers with Moodle that was one of my favourite presentations from the Moot. With the help of Moodle, the PAL project helps group farmers together so they can sell their produce collectively and make a better living.

The other excitement was, of course, the subject of my own presentation: the national release of VET Commons, a ready-made content tool that plugs simply into Moodle. This wasn’t the only presentation focused on ready-to-use content. Others talked about the need for such content in the community, to support practitioners building better and more interactive courses. VET Commons has 15,000+ learning resources already, and keeps on growing. Anyone out there with content is more than welcome to become a publisher and help us support the Moodle community!

The closing keynote of the conference starred Martin Dougiamus, Moodle’s founder and CEO. Martin philosophised about why we educate, what shape we want to give education in the future, and ultimately what we want Moodle to be. While we considered these questions, he showed us the actual future of Moodle: the upcoming improvements in version 2.7, as well as what to expect in versions 2.8 and beyond, including Moodle 3. Help drive the development of Moodle and have your say at moodle.org!

Moodlemoot 2015? Moodle HQ will be taking over. Nothing confirmed yet, but it looks like it could be held in Melbourne, July 6-9. See you next year!