PoodLL pairwork is the heart and soul of PoodLL really. And it is crazy that I have not properly released it in PoodLL 2. It seemed a low priority, because so few people told me that they used it. But in the PoodLL survey I put out last year, it was the most wanted feature . That surprised me. And a number of people have approached me directly about it recently, so I am putting this information out now. I have not finished pairwork, because I keep getting other jobs to do. So for now PoodLL pairwork is really for those people that can handle a little clunkiness, and the odd missing feature. Note also that at this stage it would probably not be feasible to use PoodLL pairwork to connect remote students.
(In Moodle 1.9 we had a pairwork assignment for information gap exercises. If there is interest in that, I will bring it back. But from now I want to talk about the pairwork widget.)
The pairworkwidget is displayed on a page and contains the pairwork session. Each session can be audio only, video only, or can optionally have a chat session. (It also can show a shared whiteboard. The shared whiteboard feature is still broken in PoodLL2. But I promise to get that up and running in the next release. ) If you use your own red5/poodll server, pairwork will be fast enough. If you use tokyo.poodll.com it will be pretty laggy. But it still works.
To put the pairwork client(the widget) with video on a page use this filter string:
You can just change the various settings in that string. If video is false, audio should still be enabled.
To manage the pairwork session you need to use the admin console. Make sure that you put that on a different page to the pairwork client, and a page that is hidden, so that students don’t see it. The filter string for the admin console is:
Then you have to drive it all. You will have to get all the students to open up the page with the pairwork client in it. Then they should show up on the admin console on the pair tab. I find it best not to log into the pair session myself. Since it weighs down the browser and I kind of need to be free to keep it all running. But you can if you want to.
It takes about 10 seconds for a student to show up there after they have arrived on the page. The default pair size is 2 , but you can choose 3 or more. Then click “make pairs.” Each pair group should be randomly allocated members. The border of each pair group will be green. That indicates that the command has not been sent out yet to the pairwork widget clients . This gives you time to manage things a little. So you can drag students from pair to pair to make sure the mix is right. If you have odd numbers you can drag the ones not assigned a partner into a pair group. etc. When it all looks good, you hit the apply button. Then the command gets sent out to the clients and the pairs get made.
Most of the commands on the admin console need to be “applied” in this way. If you notice a pairs border is green after you have dragged students around, you need to hit the apply button.
Actually I just made a quick screencast of how to use the admin console. I think it explains it well, but it is not very polished.
If you want to try it out please do so. It still needs work, but perhaps having a few others using it will push me to do that work.
Hint: If you click the border of a pair, you can listen in. But currently the broadcast to students feature is disabled.