Teaching with Moodle

Recommended student device to access Moodle

Picture of Rick Fairweather
Recommended student device to access Moodle

I hope this is the right forum to ask this question.  I am both a parent of a high school student and a school board member of a school that has begun the migration from NetClassroom to Moodle and while most parents are very excited about the positive impact this will have on students, there is a lot of concern in regards to the student devices and the resulting costs.  Our school is currently requiring the use of an iPad.

Is iPad the single supported platform?  Or, is it a preferred platform?

As it pertains to Moodle, is there any reason why students couldn't make use of other tablet devices (ie. Android tablets such as the Amazon Kindle, Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, etc.) or perhaps a laptop (Windows or Apple)?

Parents are asking for choice & are concerned about the costs of the iPad - I'm trying to determine if in fact we would be making any kind of compromise by allowing platforms other than the iPad for use with Moodle.

Thanks much,


Moving to the "Teaching strategies" forum from "Hardware and perormance"
(Edited by Visvanath Ratnaweera - original submission Thursday, 27 September 2012, 1:25 PM)

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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Recommended student device to access Moodle
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

In one way this is nothing whatever to do with Moodle.

Moodle will (well should) work properly on any reasonably up to date web browser. There's no sense at all that "only the iPad is supported" or anything else for that matter.

It's entirely possible that your school has decided, for whatever reason, to only test Moodle, their custom theme, their materials on an iPad which is up to them. But not a Moodle issue per se.

The usual variation on this is, "we only support Internet Explorer" meaning the admins can only be bothered installing IE on their PC. Tough if you have a Mac (or a Samsung Galaxy etc. etc.)

I have no idea if this helps.

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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: Recommended student device to access Moodle
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

The Apple mobile platform is and will always be a small proportion of such devices for accessing web pages. It is also one of the more expensive of these types of devices. Moodle is not optimised for any specific mobile or tablet device.

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Picture of Chad Bergeron
Re: Recommended student device to access Moodle

One of the major impositions when using the iPad as a mobile device is the difficulty in uploading files directly to Moodle.  There are ways around this, but there is a certain amount of support infrastructure you'll need to have handy (people or resources).  And faculty may want to reconsider or redevelop file based work.

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Picture of steve baxter
Re: Recommended student device to access Moodle

Experiences with Moodle 2.3 and mobile devices:

iPads / iPhones don't allow file uploads from within their browser so if you set a photography assignment for example you need to work around this fact by using 3rd party websites to store the files. Not a preferred solution. In previous Moodle releases < 2.0 iCab browser could work around this limitation. In Moodle 2.3 even the iCab browser can't upload files.

Also iPads/phones don't have a visible directory structure so even if you can browse for your files it's not always obvious where they are !

I was also unable to upload a file to an assignment in IE on Windows Phone 7 for some reason - not to mention I had some javascript problems on that platform. Probably just something I'm doing wrong.

I've found portable android devices such as HTC wildfire and Samsung Galaxy Tab are fine as long as you have the ability to provide proxy settings for your own network.

I also have a 75 quid chinese android Hero tablet at home and using Opera Mobile moodle 2.3 is fine on that.

EDIT: Laptops / netbooks etc are a fairly safe bet but if you are concerned why not try your Moodle site out with various devices - in student and staff roles - working through a variety of tasks then decide if you would be happy with that experience. It should then be easier to give advice to others about potentially expensive purchases.

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Picture of Daniel Schneider
Re: Recommended student device to access Moodle
I'm working on an iPad version of Safe Exam Browser (SEB) with a feature to download image files, draw into them with a simple drawing tool built into SEB and then automatically upload them again. Then the missing access to the file system on the iPad won't be a problem. Did you try to hold your finger onto the choose file button in iCab for some moments? iCab then rescans the web page and sometimes recognizes the choose file button then.
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Recommended student device to access Moodle
Particularly helpful Moodlers

As already pointed out by others the main concern, making the iPad the only client (device) for your Moodle platform has no foundation. Moodle was developed as a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web-application which works on the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Client-server where the client
is the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web-browser. Their communication protokoll http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP is an open standard thanks to the great minds of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners_Lee and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cailliau.

In short, the standard client for Moodle is the web-browser, whether on Windows, Linux, Mac OS or any other operating system as long as they comply with the standards. The technology in this arena is well established.

The move to the mobile devices is a much newer development which should be considered seperately. My guess is that, your school administration has make a connection between two (technically) unconnected things: 1. iPad is compulsory 2. the school is going for Moodle. Therefore iPad is necessary to access Moodle.

The suitabliity of mobile devices (note, mobile devices is not identical to iPad) is a much wider subject which goes beyond Moodle. In connection with Moodle that topic has appeard in moodle.org many times. Here is an example: "Article: iPad vs. Netbook for a 1:1" http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=209639. You can use the 'Advanced search facility' http://moodle.org/mod/forum/search.php?search=&id=5 to find more.
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Me and da boys!
Re: Recommended student device to access Moodle

The thing is we all want to pretend our mobile devices are computers with the same power of a pc or a mac- that is what the manufactures tell us but, like the song said “ 'taint necessarily so” I have used my samsung, with an app, to access and answer forum posts in moodle classes. (on a two day coast to coast train ride)

A day or two later I had a crash and recovered to system defaults. Least we view this as co incidence- 2 weeks later, on the return train I had the same incident occur. No big deal- I travel with a laptop and I know how to tether but if you are buying device there is little difference in the cost of a top flight tablet and a low end laptop.

Your mileage may vary.


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