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!

I solemny swear that I am up to no good!

The software H5P is very flexible. You can customize the design, and you can also extend its functionality using some interfaces. One that’s particularly interesting IMHO is the xAPI interface. For example, it can be used to track progress of learners – I have gone into a little more detail on collecting data before. Now, if your platform that is hosting H5P can detect that a learner just did this or that, it can react immediately. For example, one of the simplest use cases is updating a progress bar for a course.

Some learning content providers have already customized their platform and now can track progress based on the results of H5P’s xAPI statements (e.g. oncampus and openVHB). However, sometimes you require some manual confirmation. Maybe you want a student to confirm that he or she has read a text. Maybe you need a simple trigger that indicates completion of something else. You could build yourself a workaround with Fill in the Blanks, for example, but you could also use my latest tiny content type: Confirmation Completion.

It’s not a huge content type: Add some descriptive text about what’s to be confirmed if you want to, add a label for the checkbox, add it to the wherever some confirmation is required, e.g. below a text that need to be read, done. It will now send out an “answered” xAPI statement and a “completed” xAPI statement whenever the state of the checkbox changes. Hmm, you don’t see that unfortunately … Well …

The source code for H5P.CompletionConfirmation is out there on github already. I may add some tiny new features or change the visual design a little, but the content type should be pretty much done. And didn’t I say H5P was flexible. If you want to change the visual style (CSS) yourself, you can.

If you don’t want to change the code or style sheets yourself, or if you need something else that’s H5P related: Just get in touch!

Make sharing H5P content even easier!

Earlier this month I was at the first OERcamp Werkstatt close to Berlin, Germany. The event was something like a hackathon with the aim to create and publish open educational resources. My task was to advise the participants on H5P and LearningApps.

Both H5P and LearningApps are tools that enable you to create interactive content on the web. I think H5P is superior by far for a number of reasons, but LearningApps has some nice features, too. For example, teachers appreciate that under each of their contents they can see a URL that leads directly to the content. They can easily copy and forward that link. There is also a QR code for the same purpose. You can download it or enlarge it and use it directly to share the link. After I introduced H5P to some teachers last week and they asked me how to get the link for sharing (within WordPress), I had to do something 🙂

H5P Sharing (screenshot)

On Monday I released a small plugin called H5P-Sharing, which adds some flavour to the H5P plugin for WordPress. Content authors now have the opportunity

  • to copy the direct link to the content (no need to create a blog post or a page first),
  • to save the corresponding QR code or to use it enlarged for sharing immediately, or
  • to copy the well known HTML code snippet for embedding the content at a single push of a button.

That’s all it does. But it could do more:

  • The links could have an expiration date …
  • The links could be protected by a password …
  • The links could require the user(s) to be logged in …
  • The content that is linked to could be enclosed by some customizeable template …

If you want to, you can take the source code and extend the plugin, but of course you can also hire me for creating new things related to H5P. Don’t be shy and get in touch!