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Many of you teachers out there are currently working an LMS or an enterprise level LMS, at your school. LMS means Learning Management System. The first objective in using any LMS with the iPad, is to test how that system works within the Safari browser. Secondly, see what features work on the iPad. Some activities and features are just better done on a computer, inside the LMS. Finally, check to see if the companion apps have been developed for the enterprise system that you have at your school.
Did your school purchase that? Are they turned on, are they adopted, are they implemented, are they being supported? Again, the version and permissions are a factor in it's compatibility with the iPad. In this movie, I will compare features and apps of several of the main learning management systems, but I must remind you, this is a fast evolving area, new iPad apps and LMS systems emerge weekly. Blackboard is one of the largest and oldest learning management systems. They have created a Mobile Platform.
On the Blackboard website, you can go to the Mobile Platform to see the overview of what they're supporting and how they're integrating mobile devices with their LMS. They are now supporting for cellphones, tablets, and other devices. They have in fact created an app that works with the Blackboard system. In looking at any app that works with the learning management system. The first thing you want to do is click on the More button. Not all of the apps that work with learning management systems are free. As you can see with the Blackboard one it does cost money. And don't forget to read the little notes at the bottom. It says that your institution has to enable support for this feature. Finally, when you're looking and evaluating apps for your learning management system, be sure and check out the screenshots. These will let you know if it's doing the kinds of things you expect it to do. Are these features for teachers or are these features for students? Is this what I'm expecting to see? Does this environment look similar to the environment of the learning management system on a website? These are all important questions to ask yourself.
A relatively new entry to the learning management system is Canvas. Canvas works in a much different way than many of the other learning management systems. It is particularly web based. It works not dissimilarly to the way Facebook does. They do a lot of iterative development, daily, weekly, things change. They also have a very strong API development, so that many, many things are being added every day that plug and play within the learning management system.
Their feeling is that its not really about apps as much as the functionality that this website works anywhere in any environment. It works on a station, it works on a cell phone, and it works inside a tablet. Canvas supports two apps. One of the apps is Student Facing the second app is Teacher Facing. What we're looking at right now Canvas for IOS is the student app. Again it's important to go down and look at the screenshots. As you can see it's very similar to the way the LMS looks inside a browser on a workstation or a laptop.
And you can do many of the things you would expect to do in a LMS system directly from this app. The second app developed for Canvas is SpeedGrader for iPad. It's targeted at teachers. It's for grading things that they're doing within the LMS in their course. If you go down and look at the iPad screen shots, their idea is that a lot of teachers are using the iPad as a management tool, and that this app is to support them in what they are doing in the classroom in grading. You can edit and annotate, you can actually send videos to the students and give feedback, and you can preview the different things that students have done in many many kinds of media. Desire2Learn, also has a mobile platform just like Blackboard. As you can see on this website, they describe what their platform is and how they're supporting things on mobile devices.
Primarily through Assignment Grader, Campus Life, and what they call the Binder. We're going to take a look at the Binder, which is really targeted on students. The Binder is literally what you might think of. It's a metaphor for a notebook. They're thinking that the student will want to aggregate all of their notes, their lessons, and everything that they do in the learning management system in one place. So, they've created an app that does that on the iPad. When you look at the screenshots, you can see that it sets up a metaphor like I said of a notebook. You can see the different topics in the courses you're taking. You can click on those topics, you can go further in, read, annotate, make comments, refresh, and do all kinds of things inside of this iPad app for the learning management system provided by Desire2Learn.
Moodle, or Moodlerooms is an open-source learning management system. Most schools have developers that do proprietary development for this Moodle learning management system on their campus. So, from one campus to the next, Moodle might look very, very different, because you can customize and because it's open source. As you can see, they have four different applications that they're supporting, mtouch, mtouch+, moodlEZ, and mtouchu. It links to the different places on the store, and you can see what each of them do, or you can take a look here.
I'm going to go straight to the store and show you the one that most of the people are using. mTouch+ is being used by a lot of students today. At first when you look at the screenshots, you may be a little disappointed. Because it's open source, it leaves open containers for school's to customize and develop according to the way that site would appear at that school. But as you got further into the screenshots, you see there's a log in, you see the tabbed references on the side like many of the learning management systems have. You see there's a place to set up your profile settings, and a way to share documents and do a number of things on the iPad. It particularly accommodates doing video, the camera roll, and it references and integrates into some of the systems already available that ship with the iPad.
Edmodo's not really what you might call a learning management system. But I put it in to this list because it's being used by a number of K through 12 institutions as a community platform for teachers, parents, administrators, and students to share ideas about teaching and learning. Edmodo also has created an app. Its won all kinds of awards, it works with iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. Its an easy way for teachers and students to stay connected. As I said it has a little bit of a community, or social networking environment to it.
As we look at the screenshots you can see that it's very visual, it's very easy to understand what you can do and what you can't do. And that you can give lots of commentary and feedback to students, and students can have that with each other as well. You can also see that it integrates with some of the key features that ship with the iPad. That you can open in drop box, you can have quick looks, you can do mail. And again this idea of file sharing and using different kinds of media within your learning management system. Sakai is also an open source learning management system. It's used by many of the major insitutions in this country. It's use by Indiana State University, it was just adopted by Duke. It doesn't really support Safari browser in the way a lot of people would like, and therefore, there are a lot of comments on the bulletin board and on the chats about how Safari and Sakai are maybe not good matches. But, there's a workaround for this.
If you download the Bing app or the Google app, you can put those apps on your iPad and then access Sakai from there. All of the major LMS work within a browser and they support both on-line hybrid and face-to-face teaching. Take the time to evaluate the apps that integrate with your existing campus systems. Test the apps on the iPad with your students to make sure that they work for you and you can use them inside the class. Discuss with your LMS support people on campus about using apps and the LMS in your iPad classroom. Consider if your school does not have an LMS using one of the many free systems available such as wikispaces.com.
With the integration of the iPad in your classroom you're creating a virtual and location-based learning environment. Design this environment, so the students can seamlessly move between the two worlds.
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