This week, we kick off our series of weekly challenges to help blended teachers design better courses. Teaching students with online tools opens all kinds of doors for teachers. We can experiment and tinker with the latest and best education technology to help our students.
There are so many tools that it can be hard to know what is available and how it can be used. The challenges are here to help build your awareness of the tools available, to encourage you to test it out, and to include it within your own teaching.
A learning management system (LMS) is possibly the most important tool a blended learning teacher has. An LMS is kind of like your command center. It is where you post your assignments, organize projects, post lessons, track student progress, give feedback on student work, keep in contact with students and parents, maybe even track attendance. The available features vary greatly between each of the LMSs. Google Classroom offers a “minimalist” approach, with few featuers. While some of the more powerhouses like Schoology, Canvas, and Haiku offer everything a teacher needs to run their class.
This Week’s Challenge
To kick off the weekly challenges, let’s start with an easy one. Challenge #1 is to show us your LMS. Google Classroom, Schoology, Neo, or your own website, it doesn’t matter. Whatever online tool you use to post assignments and collect work, show us what you use.
I know that this is a light challenge but I wanted one to help all of us get started.
- If you don’t already have an LMS provided by your school, almost all K12 LMSs are free for individual teachers.
- If your LMS is up to you (not chosen by your school), you might run into LMS overload. Which one should you use? First, come up with a list of things you want to do with your class online. It is easier to pick an LMS if you start from a list of your needs. Then poke around the LMS and see if it offers features that you might not have considered or things you might want to do in the future. If you are planning on putting a lot of your material online, you may want to go with an LMS that offers more features than your minimum so it offers you a little room for growth.
- If you are looking for an easy LMS to use, try Google Classroom. It is free and if you already have an Google Apps for Education Account, then it is probably already enabled in your district.
Share Your Expertise
- Comments: Use the comments section below to share a link/screenshot to your example.
- Forums: Start your own thread and share a link to your example.
- Personal blog: If you have a blog, please consider writing about your challenges. We’ll link back to your posts so the great work you’re sharing gets even more exposure.
- Twitter: If you share your examples on Twitter, tweet @Guildway or @MJ_Linane so we can link back to your tweet.
- Facebook: Share your work on Guildway’s Facebook page by replying to this Facebook post with a link to your example.
I wish you all an awesome and successful week!