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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
In this video, we're going to explore three free learning management systems particularly looking at what makes them unique or sets them apart from other LMSs on the market. In addition to that, I'll also talk about which grade levels each LMS is appropriate for. The first LMS we're going to look at is called Schoology. Schoology is probably the leading LMS in terms of design and teacher tools. It has a lot of functions and integrations that really allow you to manage your classroom, not just the classroom portion of it but, also analyzing data and helping inform instruction. Some of the perks of Schoology is that they have an iPad application.
Here, you, the educator, can access parts of the class and make decisions directly on your iPad, Android, or cell phone, and students can also access the classroom on their mobile devices. Schoology also offers a school-wide solution. If you're using a free account and you decide this is a great tool for your entire building, well, Schoology will put together a building-wide application that allows you to collaborate with the other teachers. Now one word of caution, the school-wide or enterprise solutions often do cost money. There's also integrated teacher tools. One thing that sets Schoology apart is that as you collect information from students in online tests and quizzes, you can then, turn around and analyze that data directly inside of Schoology.
It'll then help you make informed decisions about how to move forward in your class. It also has a really modern design. A lot of the LMS's look very bland, or, they give you a lot of control over the look, and so every class looks very different. Schoology's done a great job of making the design easy to use for, both teachers and students. And there's also a parent portal where parents can log on and view the progress of their individual student. The schoology LMS is going to be great for middle school students, high school students or even university or college level students. It's really one of the LMS's that captures the entire K-12 through university setting.
The next LMS we're going to look at is Edmodo. Edmodo has often been described as Facebook for the classroom. When it comes to the benefit of Edmodo there's a little bit of overlap with Schoology. For example, they have a great iPad application, students can login and manage their documents, turn in assignments and even take tests directly inside of their iPad. There's also a focus on collaboration. This is for both the students as well as the teachers. Inside of Edmodo, because it functions a little bit like Facebook, teachers have the ability to follow other teachers that are using Edmodo.
You can see articles and ideas that those teachers post online. You can even share lessons and collaborate. When it comes to students, students have the ability to join groups the same way you can join a group on Facebook and they can collaborate directly inside of Edmodo. There's also content monitoring built-in. Because Edmodo's designed for a little bit of a younger crowd, you, the educator, have the ability to turn on a feature that says that no student can post information to the entire class without you first approving that. There's also a student backpack. This is a great free feature.
Its gives students a small amount of space directly inside the Edmondo servers where they can upload their assignments. For example if your working on a long class project and your using laptop cards for example students may not have the same laptop from day to day. Well at the end of the day they can their assignment and save it to the Edmodo backpack. The student can then access that assignment from any internet connected computer. Another great student work are the Award Icons, built directly into Edmodo is also a behavior management and award system. You, the educator, can create awards that you then give to your students.
For example, if a student gives a great presentation, you can create a great presentation badge, and then award it to students accordingly. As I've already mentioned, Edmodo is great for the younger grades, particularly elementary school and middle school. Because of some of the content filtering and some of the design styles, even though it could be appropriate for high school, it's probably not the best suited LMS for high school and college aged students. The last LMS we're going to look at today, is Canvas. Canvas, which is made by instructure, is a great LMS. It was originally designed entirely for online classes, but has a ton of features that can be beneficial for the K-12 market.
Once again, Canvas has an award winning iPad application, including an iPad application called Speed Grader, that's designed to help you quickly move through assignments that have been turned in by students. It's also a simple and intuitive design. There's not a lot of customizing you can do inside of Canvas, but that creates a very streamlined uniform experience for both you and your students. Canvas also allows for modular course design. What I mean by this is, when you go in and you build your Canvas class, you can say, I want assignment a, b, and c to be in module one. You can then limit students from seeing all of the additional assignments until they've completed module one.
This is a great feature if you have students working online and you want to make sure that they've completed prerequisite material prior to moving on in the rest of the class. It also has great built-in grading tools. You can open papers, add comments to papers, all directly inside of Canvas, and then send a grade and feedback straight back to the student. Students then also have the ability to respond to your comments, and you can create an ongoing dialogue that really pushes the student thinking, as well as the learning. When it comes to using Canvas, Canvas is absolutely great for high school students, university/college level students and even continuing education.
Because of its easy to use interface, and the ability to really control how you want your to class to flow, older students that are working at a much more individual or independent level, find it a huge benefit. I hope you've enjoyed exploring these LMS's and that you found a tool that will be perfect for you and your classroom.
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