I stumbled upon “Poodle” yesterday and had to try it. It installs a Moodle and all the underlying software needed to your compuer so that you can work on Moodle locally (away from prying eyes or testers).
Why use Poodle?
In a sense, Poodle provides an “offline” testing and development environment for those that are constructing or editing existing courses. Since it’s a full Moodle installation you can easily restore courses to your Poodle, make edits, back them up and then restore them to an existing web-based Moodle site. If you have materials that need to make it into a Moodle classroom but don’t have internet on holiday or on a trip (in an airplane, etc.) then boot up your computer, startup Poodle and you can configure your classroom resources there. Note that this is not, in anyway, linked to an existing Moodle site on the web, so any work you do on your computer through Poodle would have to be manually backed up and restored to a Moodle later.
What to use it for?
I’ve been waiting for a program like this so that I can get my hands dirty customizing themes and playing with plug-ins. With Poodle I can navigate to the Moodle directory (just like you would via FTP or by command line) and drop in and customize themes, blocks, plug-ins and other extensions. It’s not a perfect live environment, but I’ve already been able to install MoodleDan‘s “Pretty Simple” Moodle theme just to make sure it works. And it does work swimmingly.
Get Poodle at http://www.maflt.org/products/poodle.
According to the site Poodle is actually designed to allow offline access to course materials (but I think it’s a huge benefit for testing),
One expected benefit of the Poodle software project is that educational institutes can expand their training to offline students in a format they are familiar with. Learners no longer need to find a computer with an internet connection, but only a computer.
Poodle was created through MAF Learning Technologies which originated as a non-secular training and educational technologies organization. I used it on a Windows 7 desktop and it installed after downloading the .zip file, unpacking it and running the auto start. It runs through a program called “PortableApps” (www.portableapps.com) and comes with several other programs that would allow it to work through a thumb/flash drive.
The screen shot below is of my personal Poodle with the Pretty Simple theme installed.