Moodle Moot in Japan this weekend is at Kasei University in Tokyo. It looks bigger than ever, with more than 200 attending, and at least a dozen vendors. This conference is good for those interested in the technology of language learning. Light on pedagogy, this is about software tools to deliver content and interact with learners, many of those learning languages. In the next few days I will be posting some tools and ideas from the conference.
Moodle is the most popular Learning Management System (LMS) in the world. It is open source, meaning that you can download and install it for free. I have been using Moodle for about 10 years now, and it has grown and become a huge undertaking. Critics of Moodle say that it is too complicated to use, and that it “walls off” the Internet. Moodle developers have been working on making it more permeable. The complexity remains. Note that Moodle is also very flexible, and can do many many different things. As features get added, though, the complexity also rises.
A new alternative, specifically for language learners, is languagecloud.co. Right now, they are only bilingual (Japanese/English), but they are also free, with a slightly different model. They are working on building features right now, so it is in a kind of beta state, but I plan to use it at the beginning of the next school year in April. More on this later.