M3 Project
The M3 Project

M3 - MUVEs, Moodle and Microblogging: Communities on the move

A JISC-funded project in the Users and Innovation Programme

Project Description

In 2008, the M3 project set out to explore the potential of the VLE, Moodle, a Microblogging tool, (Twitter) and the MUVE, Second Life, with three different groups of users within the educational community and compare integrated use of these tools and environments. A key aim was to investigate effective ways of embedding synchronous online tools, which are already establishing themselves as effective for social networking, and exploring the use of others that offer a 3-dimensional opportunity for learning. A Twitter plug-in for Moodle was to be one key deliverable of the project.

The first two groups of participants comprised student communities involved in a language learning/acculturation course and/or studying educational technologies, one involving primarily face-to-face interaction, and the other learning at a distance online and potentially, 'on the move'. A particular interest was in using this approach with international students undertaking a tutored online course entirely at distance before coming to the UK to begin studies in higher education. The final group were to be recruited from interested parties from within the Second Life and JISC communities, including teachers, researchers and Second Life practitioners.

Aims and Objectives

  • Explore the use of a social networking tool (Twitter) for creating a ubiquitous and personalised learning environment for students
  • Build on current work within the Second Life (MUVE) community using a next generation emergent technology to create an immersive learning experience
  • Adapt an existing Moodle course to create a hybrid Moodle/Second Life solution, which might potentially enable the transition to a course taught exclusively in Second Life
  • Adapt some of the existing activities and learning materials (developed as 'learning objects' and vidcasts) for use with the microblogging tool, Twitter, and the Second Life environment
  • Use Twitter to enable a convergent technology to promote discourse within the learner community, and to enrich the course experience
  • Explore the potential of Twitter with a final group of educators based outside the language learning community

Achievements

  • A set of Twitter blocks have been developed and tested for Moodle and are now being further enhanced, allowing use of the microblogging tool within the Moodle VLE
  • An existing set of online course learning activities and resources have been effectively adapted and enhanced for use in Second Life and with Twitter, offering students an immersive learning experience as part of their online course
  • Student response to the use of these emerging technologies within teaching and learning contexts has been gauged and found to be broadly positive and encouraging
  • Educators based outside the language learning community have also responded favourably to the project's Twitter and Second Life developments

Twitter plugins for Moodle

The code and instructions for the set of Twitter blocks developed for Moodle can be found at http://code.google.com/p/m3-twitter-moodle-blocks/. Please note these blocks are open-source beta versions. They require further work to be fully functional. If you download and improve them, please email us and share your changes so that we can disseminate further.

M3 Project documents

Further information about the M3 project can be found on the M3 Project page on the JISC website. The M3 Project final report is available from the JISC website.

M3 Project dissemination

MUVE, Moodle and a Microblogging Tool: Blending technologies to prepare international students for language and life in the UK. Presentation at Eurocall 2009 Conference (9-12 September), Gandia, Spain: Presentation (pdf, 602kb).

Diagram 1: The M3 project can offer a means to keep a virtual learning community connected through personalised delivery and contribution of content as shown in the diagram below.

Course management, Twitter and Second Life

Diagram 2: How does Second Life work with Moodle?

How does Second Life work with Moodle?

Diagram 3: How might Twitter be used?

How might Twitter be used?