Congress & Conferences

Hi all,

just a quick post to let you know that we will be presenting Babelium’s plugin for Moodle next week in Crete, in the 1st Moodle Research Conference 🙂  The plugin became an approved Moodle’s plugin on July 2 so we will celebrate it in Greece.

Flying back to Spain, we will make a stop at Madrid to meet our Moodle friends in the Moodle Moot Spain 2012. You can already check the full program (our paper will be presented on friday 21, september)

Last but not least, tomorrow we’ll be also working our way at Donostia’s San Telmo Museum, in the presentation of a great Citizens’ Initiatives compendium that the Basque Government is promoting inside a project called LanIrekia. A lot of interesting people will gather around this initiative, so it will be fun and interesting to drop by there 😉

Activity report

Long time no see,

  lately, we have been busy spreading the word of Babelium attending two conferences:  “Jakintza Librearen III. Jardunaldiak“, organized by Azkue Fundazioa (a foundation that encourages innovative ways of supporting Basque/Euskera in the new technologies) it was held in Bilbao (May, 30) and we were delighted to take part in the event along with other Basque startups like Hermeneus,  Dirutza or Kulturize (Akting).

Our second invitation to talk came from Montehermoso (Vitoria-Gasteiz), a neat documentation center that promotes and disseminates art and contemporary art. Focussing on the free software philosophy, Montehermoso held a conference where different models for accessing and consuming knowledge were analysed.   We talked about the origin of Babelium, and how is it being used for second language speaking practice.

On the technical side, we have been working on tracing the origin of this audio related bug (3156305) in Adobe’s Flash Player 11.2:  “Audio only FLVs previously published from flash player no longer play back”.  It’s a major bug with regard to Babelium’s functionality, because it prevented to play audio only recordings! Thanks to the hard work of @inkoperurena , we could be able to pinpoint the origin of the bug (a change – with regard to previous versions – in the behaviour of Flash Player when the internal metadata value of a FLV video named videocodecid changed to -1 lead to being unable of playing it) and fix it.

Second, we have revamped the videoplayer’s design, so the size of the video canvas is now bigger than before (allowing a more comfortable reading of texts inside the video, a much needed feature for reading aloud activities, for example)

Third, they keywords of any video are now not only shown alongside each video, but they are also clickable, so a user can search any other video related to the actual one.

We keep working on new and exciting features that will be announced soon in this blog, so stay tuned!

New features

Just a quick post to inform you about our progress within Babelium project’s development.

* Now it’s possible to upload WMV (Windows Media Video) files as the source for new video-exercises

* When a new response is recorded using the Moodle plugin, the user can click directly a View Response button (previously, it was possible to review the response, but users had to click in the “Play” button, a less intuitive action)

And a bug, not due to our fault, but Adobe’s:

* We have been bitten by this bug in latest version of Flash plugin that makes audio-only FLVs published in Red5 no longer play back. Is there any workaround? Yes, a little bit inconvenient, nonetheless. You have to either upgrade your Flash plugin to a newer beta version 11.3 or downgrade it to 11.1 .

Releasing a Moodle Plugin for Babelium

We are excited to present you a new plugin for language speaking practice in Moodle.

This plugin allows students to record their voices and/or their faces (using their microphones and webcams) for:

    • developing a spoken story (free speech)
      See an example: speaking about how to save energy (in Basque!) (As you can see, it is possible to help your students using picture tips while they are speaking)

All these exercises must be previously prepared by the teacher and uploaded in babeliumproject.com in order to use them later in Moodle.

The Babelium plugin works with Moodle 1.9 and Moodle 2.x. You can install it by following the instructions: How to install the Babelium plugin.

UPDATE (2012/06/10): If you want to see it in action and test the plugin (as a teacher or as a student) before installing it, you can use our test server (thanks to RedHat’s OpenShift for their hosting facilities):

Moodle 2.x test server

Please, take into account that this test server could be reseted anytime, so use it only for testing purposes.

Questions and answers (FAQ)

* What kind of license applies to the Babelium plugin?
Babelium plugin’s source code is free software (GPLv3 license).
Download: Moodle 1.9 plugin v0.9.2 (zip)
Download: Moodle 2.x plugin v0.9.2 (zip)

* Where are my videos being recorded?
When you record an answer (both audio or video answer) it is saved in our own Babelium server (babeliumproject.com).

This recording is a private video there (other users of babeliumproject.com website can’t see it). The exercise is only available to be assessed in the corresponding Moodle course by the corresponding teacher (in moodle.babeliumproject.com).

* Can I record the videos using my own or private Babelium server?
Of course you can! Babelium server’s source code is also free software (GPLv3). You can download and install it in your own private server.

* Great! but I need help with the plugin and/or server installation.
We are here to support you. Please, ask your questions in Babelium user’s mailing list or contact us via Twitter (@babelium)

If you want detailed explanations about the installation of the Plugin, remember that you can follow these instructions.

If you want detailed explanations about the installation of your own Babelium Server, follow these other instructions.

* Can I contact some representatives from Babelium directly?
Yes, you can. If you want to contact our support services directly, email us at support@babeliumproject.com

Babeliumek 2011ko Buber Berrikuntza saria jaso du!

logoHerenegun Babelium Buber sarietako Berrikuntza proiektua kategoriako finalista zela jakin genuen, Gaia Net Exchange eta EITB a la carta proiektuekin batera.

Irabazlea ezagutzeko zeremonia gaur ospatu da EITBren Bilboko egoitzan eta Babelium IRABAZLEA izan dela oraintxe bertan jakin dut zeremoniara joan diren taldekideen eskutik. ZORIONAK DENOI EGINDAKO LAN BIKAINARENGATIK!

Sari hau pertsona askoren lanaren emaitza da, trukean ezer eskatu ez duten ikasle, ikertzaile eta irakasle askoren lana. Garaikurra GHyM taldeak jaso du baina Babeliumek bide luzea egin du bere sorkuntzatik gaurko egunera. Horregatik proiektuaren garapen eta sustapenean parte hartu duten pertsona guztiei esker berezia luzatu nahi diet: Ander, Andoni, Beñat, Iker, Imanol, Iñigo, Jonathan, Unai, Raúl, Leire, Urtza, Asier, Aintzane… (norbait ahaztu badut barka diezadala, emozioa dela eta izango zen) zuen lana gabe ez ginateke gauden lekura iritsiko. Sari hau zuentzat da, MILESKER BIHOTZ BIHOTZEZ!

Aintzatespen honek Babelium egunero-egunero hobetzen jarraitzera animatzen gaitu. Hortaz, ziur egon sari hau lehena bai, baino azkena ez dela izango.

ZORIONAK berriz ere, eta hurrengo mezurarte.

Babelium / Moodle integration plugin

Long time no see! We have been quite busy the last four months here in GHYM. First, we presented our latest version of Babelium at the JISBD 2011 congress, in A Coruña (Galicia, Spain). It caused a very good impression among the assistants and we got a lot of feedback and suggestions. One of the most recurrent was to encourage us to integrate Babelium in Moodle (the most used opensource LMS platform). As a matter of fact we were already working in such an integration because we knew that a lot of language schools were using that platform for their online claseses.

And there you go! We’ve recently finished a new neat plugin that allows anyone to integrate Babelium with the Moodle platform. What does it mean? Well, now you can choose a new type of assignment: a Babelium activity. This will allow you, as a teacher, to choose one video exercise to propose to your students (from a list of the videos that you’ve uploaded to Babelium)

Then, when your students access this assignment, they will be able to choose a role and start recording their voice (and their faces if they opted in to use also their webcam, a good thing to avoid cheating 😉

We have recently made a public presentation of the Moodle plugin at the Moodle Moot Euskadi Conference, held on October 21, in Vitoria, and organized by HABE (a major institution in the Basque language teaching arena). As usual, we will publish the source code once we polish the sharp corners (meaning, as soon as possible!)

Meanwhile, you can watch this video that shows the plugin in action. Hope you like it!

The show must go on!

Hi there! Well it goes without saying that we haven’t been elected as an organization in this year’s GSoC initiative. Well, we will try again next year 😉 In the meantime, we have added some new features to Babelium Project’s code repository (note that we want to test that features internally before updating the official website with that commits)

  • Detection of multiple concurrent users editing the same video’s subtitles (changeset). Using Red5’s RemoteSharedObject feature, any user that asks to edit any video’s subtitles will be warned if Babelium detects that there is any other user editing the same subtitle group. It is up to the user to continue editing or not but at least he or she has been warned!
  • Allow multiple subtitle lines (changeset)
  • Added a link to home in Babelium’s logo (this one is currently applied in babeliumproject.com)
  • Customized permalinks in this blog. Forget about the babeliumproject.com?p=XYZ. Now we have semantically rich permalink (look at the URL of this post) 🙂
  • Fixed issue #16: “My assessed responses” should show “Last assessment” date (in Evaluations module)

I plan to post a more detailed article about the first highlighted feature (Detection of multiple concurrent users editing the same video’s subtitles) in a few days. I’ll see you then!

Babelium applied for GSoc 2011

Yesterday I filled and sent the form for Babelium Project to be part of the this year’s edition of Google Summer of Code. The list of accepted mentoring organizations will be published on the GSoC 2011 site this friday (on March 18th).

You can read more about our ideas proposal here. Don’t be shy and add your own ideas and comments!

Cross your fingers! 🙂

Video Slicing module coming up soon!

We have been working during the last semester of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 on a new feature to be included in babeliumproject. It is none other but the video slicing module, with which the user will be able to search for their favourite language learning videos hosted in Youtube and by a simple “copy-paste” action, preview the video in our video player, slice up the most interesting part and upload it to babelium’s server.

This could not have been done without Youtube’s Chromeless Player API, the youtube-dl command for downloading temporarily the video, and ffmpeg command to slice up the video. Moreover, we also had to use Youtube’s php API for various aspects, being one of them the control of the video’s maximum duration as we currently do not accept videos longer than 2 mins.

But enough of explanations for now! Let us show you how it looks right now:

Granted that it is only a draft, we feel it is enough for getting a grasp of how it could look like. We are currently at the final stage of development, trying to have it integrated with our current video player, and will soon start running tests  on the module. Hopefully, it will be available during March’s last weeks or first part of April.

The idea is to make it work in a nearby future not only with Youtube, but also with Vimeo and Dailymotion. Hope you enjoyed this piece of news! See you soon!

rsync-ing remote videos to a local machine

We have crafted the following bash script using rsync to get all the videos from the stream folder in Babelium Project (a remote to local backup):

rsync -r --partial --progress -t --ignore-existing --rsh "ssh  -i certificate.pem" username@babeliumproject.com:/red5/webapps/oflaDemo/streams/* .

Quite long rsync command, isn’t it? Well, there are a lot of options involved here:

-r reverse rsync (copy the remote files to local hard-drive and not the other way around)
–partial keep partially transferred files
–progress show progress indication during transfer
-t preserve modification times
–ignore-existing skip updating files that already exist on the destination
ssh -i certificate.pem use a certificate to login via ssh

A handy script that you could be interested in…