Ive just got a grant from my government to develop a language learning platform to help college students improve their foreign language skills. Well, the platform is already developed and its name is Moodle. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, more so when the wheel you have is an almost perfect wheel. Yet I would like to use this grant to make Moodle do even more things than the many things already does so well.
The grant is rather modest (my government, the Catalan government, pays a lot of lip service to education, like all governments, but like most governments the money they wind up devoting to improve education is rather scarce).
But although it is not too much, I do have some money (some other governments do much worse) to hire expert people to help me with this project. Heres what I would like to do. I hope it will be of interest to everybody. Since Im not a skilled programmer, I cannot contribute myself directly to this wonderful community effort that is Moodle. But if I hire some good programmers that can do the job I have in mind, I will very happy to "donate" the product of their work so that it can be integrated into Moodle (possibly as a new module for Moodle).
What I have in mind is the following. I would like to create a module, similar to the Quiz module, where teachers could fill up a form, like they do when building quizzes, but instead of generating the enormously useful (but a little tiring) multiple choice, true or false, matching etc., what would be generated would be a more "interactive" activity in Flash.
Of course, each one of the Flash activities would have to be designed separately (as some kind of template) and each type of form would be connected to a specific type of Flash activity (as people develop new types of activities or templates, these would be added to the repository of Flash activities or modules). We would be working with the so-called components available in Flash MX.
My problem is the following and here is how YOU can help. Ive contacted a group of professionals that are totally committed to open source software and although they will get paid (they need to eat and pay mortgages, which are very high in Barcelona) they are enthusiastic enough about the project that I am sure they will put in way more hours and efforts than what I will ever be able to pay them. These people have good knowledge of Flash and PHP, but the problem is that they are totally unfamiliar with Moodle. Im a total novice in Moodle, let alone in terms of development for Moodle. I havent been able to find detailed documentation that they could use to figure out how to go about developing such a module for Moodle.
Could any of you give us some help with that? If you do know of some existing documentation that could help us save some valuable time trying to figure out where to start, we would be enormously grateful. I would like to contact Martin Dougiamas directly because I think he might be especially interested in expanding the capabilities of Moodle by integrating Flash in such a way, but I open the question to everybody who might be interested since Moodle is after all a community effort (I think we would all agree Martin deserves a lot of credit and a special mention, though).
If no such detailed documentation is available, would you at least help us by telling us the basics of building and integrating a new module in Moodle. I imagine as the project develops we would have some more specific questions that Im sure someone will be able to answer, but right now we are a little bit at a loss as to where to start. We have some basic things that are independent of Moodle figured out, such as for instance how to transfer data back and forth from Flash and a MySQL database. The problem is how to integrate this into the general functioning of Moodle. We think it is possible, but we need the assistance of people that are more knowleadgeable than us in the Moodle side of things.
Thanks very much in advance.
Josep M. Fontana