Forum LAMS for Tech-Heads - General Forum: Heads up: LAMS 2.2!

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1: Heads up: LAMS 2.2!
10/15/08 12:07 AM
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Hi everyone,

We are now working towards LAMS 2.2 which will include a whole bunch of cool new features. Here are some of them that I recall on top of my head:

New features

* Gates

In LAMS, gates are use to control the flow of learners (more info on Gates). Until now gates work on and all or nothing principal: the gate is open or close for everyone in the lesson.

In LAMS 2.2, gates now work on an learner by learner basis. So a teacher can decide to open a gate for a few users only. But the cool thing is that LAMS 2.2 now can open gates for individuals based on a condition, which means that if a learner has done something in a previous activity, you can let him thru the gate or not.

* Grouping: learner's selection

Until now we have two types of groups: Random and Teacher chosen (more info on Groups).

In LAMS 2.2, now we introduce a new grouping type: learner's selection. Now as a teacher you can create groups and then get the learners to select which one they want to be in!

* Presence

Although LAMS has a lot of collaborative activities, as a learner, you really didn't know if there were other people doing a lesson at the same time as you. With the implementation of presence, learners are now able to see who else is doing the same lesson with them at the same time. In the near future, we will also implement group chat and instance messages between learners or teachers... it's coming. But for now, you get to see who else is doing stuff with you.

* Learning Objectives

LAMS allows you to create learning activities that help you teach learners a set of learning objectives... but there wasn't anywhere in LAMS to add those learning objectives whenever you created a sequence.

Well, now in LAMS 2.2, you can add learning objectives to a sequence, but then also you can map those learning objectives to specific activities. In that way you can document in which activities the learning objectives are achieved. Also teachers running these sequences can see in monitor the objectives for each activity and when exporting the portfolio, those learning objectives also are display for each activity that accomplish them.

* Conditions and branching based on Tool's text output

For branching (and also for opening gates too!) you can now use Text output conditions! This means that you can create complex text conditions that say for example: "if the learner responded to question #2 in the Q&A activity that the meaning of life is '42' and not 'eat and sleep' or 'watch star wars', then send the learner to branch X (or open the gate for him./her)".

The text conditions you can create can be as simple (if he just answered "Yoda") or as complex (if he answered "x" and "y" but not "z" and "May The Force Be With You" or "My name is Inigo Montoya") as you want to make them. So that give you complete flexibility for all tools that deal with text: Forum, Q&A, Notebook, Survey, Chat, etc!

* Email notifications

LAMS 2.2 has now email notifications. Which means that you can be notified of events when they occur. For instance you can notify all students when you add a lesson for them to do, or you can choose to get notified when learners submit assignments, survey entries, etc.

* External tool wrappers

This is one of the coolest features in LAMS 2.2. Now you can add tools to LAMS that aren't part of LAMS. They can live in an external learning management system and still work as if they would be normal LAMS tools! (more info).

We have done this for tools that live "on the Internet" and for tools with open source learning management systems (like Moodle, .LRN and soon Sakai).

Technically this has been an amazing work as it proposes a solution for a big e-learning problem that has been around for years: tool interoperability.

New Tools

* Data collection

A very powerful tool for teachers as they can create databases for learners to add records to. Supports a lot of different types of data and has very cool ways to aggregate and present data to learners and teachers (more).

* Google Maps

Very very cool tool to add a geospacial aspect to your sequences. For instance, you can ask your learners to point out where they live and then can construct collaborative maps using the powerful Google Maps API (more).

* Wiki

Finally a teachers and students can create documents in a collaborative fashion.

* Online Spreadsheet

This tool is for creating spreadsheets online that the students can use to submit assignments and/or do calculations directly on their browsers (more info).

* Dimdim integration

Dimdim is an external tool that provides an awesome collaborative video and audio features, online whiteboard, desktop and presentation sharing. We have done an integration with their platform now, so if you are interested in synchronous collaboration, this tool has a lot to offer. Note that Dimdim is an external system and is not included as part of LAMS.

Bug fixes, performance improvements and more

And LAMS 2.2 will include more than 140 improvements and new features as well as more than 50 bugs fixes!

So packed with good stuff :-)

We are aiming to have LAMS 2.2 ready for the LAMS 2008 Sydney Conference in December 5th!

So stay tuned for all these features and more coming your way soon.

Want to suggest new features and tools for LAMS 2.3, have a look at the Roadmap and if it isn't there, just let us know here!



Posted by Ernie Ghiglione

2: Re: Heads up: LAMS 2.2!
In response to 1 10/15/08 12:20 AM
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One more thing I forgot to mention is the Q&A question wizard that Spyros Papadakis has conceptualized and helped us a great deal with.

This new feature will guide teachers to add better questions in LAMS. We've built a very nice prototype for this already for the Cadiz conference and we are aiming to include this for LAMS 2.2 as well.

In the future we intent to add this to other tools as well and let teachers create different wizards for each tool (and language).



Posted by Ernie Ghiglione

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