Note as of 2019-03-11: The H5P content below has been disabled because of a desire to reduce the publicly running code on this blog. H5P bundles a very large range of other libraries and embeds them inside the H5P WordPress plugin. That was simply too much of a maintenance and security burden for me to leave active for this one experimental post.
Once you have your own space online you can start using some of the great authoring tools out there to build native online materials and then host them directly on your site. This helps your students by eliminating online third parties from your classroom while opening up a number of different tools and possibilities for you.
One such tool I’ve been working with recently is H5P, a young but rapidly growing set of tools for building interactive media elements that range from simple fill in the blank texts and drag and drop picture exercises that are developed by the H5P team directly up to more complicated tools that are built by other developers and then wrapped in the H5P editor to make them easier to create, share, and re-use. These more complex tools include interactive annotated video, interactive timelines, and browser-based video chat. All of which is gives you quite a list of capabilities to choose from.
To get started you just need to add the H5P team’s WordPress plugin to your site. The plugin is available from WordPress’s built-in plugin directory so installing is very easy and you can refer to these simple instructions available from H5P if you want a walk-through.
Some examples of the built-in exercise tools include these text drag and drop exercises:
And this picture drag and drop to help you visualize where different sounds are produced while speaking:
A couple of things to note about the picture drag and drop lesson. The first is that the picture is not mine so it is not available under the usual Creative Commons license though I will update this if I get permission from the creator. The second, related, point is that the H5P editor has support for explicitly setting the copyright of picture elements wherever they are used in your exercise. You can see the copyright information in the “Rights of use” button at the bottom of the lesson, right between the “Download” and “Embed” options.
This is important because one of the goals of H5P is for the individual materials to be downloadable and reusable by other people on different sites (at least if the materials are freely licensed to begin with). Since keeping track of what license individual elements in a work are under and where you got those elements from can be a big headache for people when they actually start reusing and re-mixing material from multiple sources, I am very happy to see this kind of record keeping being built into the authoring tools. Anything that lets the materials speak for themselves should help everyone in the community. Unfortunately, as of 2015-01-06 this copyright tool is only implemented for picture elements, which means you cannot bundle up copyright information for all of the text you put into a lesson or for the lesson as a whole. Hopefully that is addressed as the tool continues to grow.
Tutorials for most of the H5P activity types are available from their site.