Xerte and Udutu: eLearning Tools

The chances are that if you are teaching the AQA Spanish specification then you will have seen the Nelson Thornes Kerboodle online resources which accompany the AQA endorsed textbook.  Personally, whilst I love the idea of having these interactive all singing all dancing resources, I am dubious as to the quality of some of the exercises, especially considering the yearly subscription fee.  In this post I want to talk to you about two applications which allow you to create similar professional looking interactive and self-correcting resources for free.  Whilst both applications are pretty easy to use, you will need some knowledge of ICT – whatever their creators say, they aren’t for ICT novices.  More importantly you’ll need to spend some time sitting down and going through the tutorials to really get the best out of them.  The good thing about both applications is that the resources which you create (which are called Learning Objects) can be easily exported in SCORM format and imported into your online learning platform (such as Moodle or Fronter) which means that you will be able so see your students’ scores, just as you can in Kerboodle.  So whilst they might take a bit longer to create than a paper-based worksheet, you won’t have to mark them! Olé.

The first of these applications is called Xerte, created by the University of Nottingham.  You can see a sample project here.   The easiest way to download the application is onto an empty 2gb USB drive. Go the the RSC Eastern website and download the MACOS file (see link at the bottom of the page) onto your computer.  Unpack the contents to a new folder on your desktop and copy the contents of the folder onto your pendrive.  Then run the ‘startup.bat’ file.  There are lots of good tutorials on YouTube.

If all that talk of downloading and unpacking zip files is too much for you, then maybe you would be better off with Udutu.  All you need to do is create an account online and then you can start building your learning objects.  I think that this tool is slightly more complex to use than Xerte but it looks more professional.  The beauty of Udutu is that you can export your learning objects to Facebook, although I must say that I have yet to do this.

Both of these applications are becoming pretty commonplace in the world of e-Learning so it is possible that your School/Colleges Teaching and Learning guru or the IT Team are already familiar with them.  Over the coming months I will try to develop some sample resources and stick them on eSpanish so that you can see for yourself the potential that they have.