Please use gifts mindfully!

COVID-19 keeps the world of education on its toes. Suddenly many teachers want to or are supposed to teach online in some way, and they rush to services like LearningApps, ZUMpad or H5P.org. The corresponding sites can’t cope with all the traffic and sometimes simply break down.

Dear teachers, I’m sure it’s great for you being able to use the above-mentioned or similar services for free. Please don’t do it thoughtlessly though! Developing and hosting those services costs money! Non-profit organizations like LearningApps and the Zentrale für Unterrichtsmedien or the company Joubel pay for you. Please think about that. They gladly do that within a reasonable scope (h5p.org explicitly for trying out the software before you host it on your own server), but at some point they won’t be able to do that anymore! And then you will have shot yourself in the foot with your thoughtlessness and/or excess, because the services will have to be shut down. I sincerely hope that you care.

Please use those gifts mindfully!

Pick the Symbols!

One of the great things about H5P is the possibility to improve it. If you require a content type for a certain task, you can code it. If you can’t code, you can still take the initiative, look for funding and then hire someone. That’s exactly what the “Schule Bubendorf” (school Bubendorf) did! Even better: The new H5P content type named “Pick the Symbols” is openly available. Here it is!

As a teacher, all you have to do is to enter a text and to decide which punctuation marks the students should pick from to complete the sentences – or symbols in general as this option has been left open intentionally. The rest is done by the content type. It will present you and your student with an exercise like the one above.

There are some things you can tweak. For example, you can change the background color of the blanks. Furthermore, you can increase the difficulty if there are consecutive blanks (e.g. in direct speech) and you don’t put in all the blanks up front. The students will have to add the missing ones on their own. And if you like, you can also make sure that all blanks are reset after checking.

It’s intended to publish the content type in the official H5P Content Type Hub, but the H5P core team will have to find some time to review the code first. If you want to use Pick the Symbols now, you (or your admin) can download the the sample content above, upload it to your platform, and then you’re good to go.

Of course, the source code is available as well: https://github.com/otacke/h5p-pick-the-symbols.

It’s your turn!

You want to support some H5P development? But you cannot code, and you also don’t want to start your own fundraising campaign? Then toss a coin to Schule Bubendort. They collect donations in order to be able to mandate someone (not necessarily me!) to create more content types.

Idea #1: “Highlight the Words”

Teachers can define word categories and color associated with the categories, assign them to words of a text, and the students will have to mark the words with the colors similar to Pick the Symbols.

Idea #2: “Spreadsheet”
Teachers can define a table with numbers, text and blanks – and the students will have to fill in the blanks inside the table correctly.

So, please feel free to transfer some exchange money using the subject H5P-Entwicklung to

  • Recipient: Schule Bubendorf
  • IBAN: CH35 0076 9020 2108 8389 6
  • BIC: BLKBCH22

If you have any questions regarding donations, please contact Ueli Nick directly. He’s the headmaster of Schule Bubendorf (schulleitung@schulebubendorf.ch).

Schulleitung
Kindergarten und Primarschule Rektorat
Krummackerstrasse 18
CH-4416 Bubendorf

A new chapter!

A new chapter in my live is unfolding: I’ll be a full-time IT freelancer as of next week, and some people seem to wonder what this means for my activities circling around H5P:

  • “Will you stop releasing things for free?” No.
  • “Will you stop working on things for H5P now?” Quite the opposite!

It may be a little risky to bet on one horse only, but as the great philosopher Harvey Specter once said: “You’re never going to win big if you’re only going to minimize your losses.” 😉 I am going to focus on H5P completely.

Sure, I will have to pay my rent and there will be things that will not be released to the public. On the other hand, there are sponsors who don’t mind letting others use what I create for them. Often, it’s even better for them to let changes be integrated into the official source code of H5P components, because they won’t run into future trouble with forking, patching, etc. I am going to talk about that topic a little bit at the H5P Conference 2020 in Wisconsin. Oh, and I also won’t stop contributing to H5P on my own, of course. I have been creating new content types and features during the last couple of months when I was already part-time freelancing, and I don’t see a reason why I should change that now.