As the new school year dawns, many principals are doing their best to ensure 2017 starts off as smoothly as possible.
According to some educational technologists, one crucial factor in achieving this is having a streamlined Learning Management System (LMS) in place.
Technology is changing the way schools manage and interact with their staff, students and broader communities. However, with new LMS options entering the market, choosing a ‘right fit’ system can be a daunting task.
Key players include Canvas, Schoolbox and Moodle, each of which are helping schools to simplify and enhance teaching and learning in the classroom.
Haileybury – one of the top private schools in Melbourne – rolled out Canvas in May 2016 and soft launched the platform in June. However, the school has only recently introduced the platform to its wider network across all classes and year levels.
Leigh Morrow, acting chief digital officer at Haileybury, told The Educator that since implementing the LMS, the school has received nothing but positive feedback from students, parents and teachers.
He pointed to an “inspirational” example involving a Year 4 student who was struggling significantly with his maths work and was able to dramatically turn his academic outcomes around following the roll-out of the new system.
“When we brought the new LMS on board, we were able to access all areas of this student’s classwork and planning in the one place. His dad then sat down with us and looked at the data, and together we were able to discuss strategies to bump up his scores,” Morrow explained.
“That same student is now getting extremely high scores compared to before. For example, he used to get marked around three out of 20, now he’s up to around 17 and 18 out of 20. It really gives you a warm buzz when you see this kind of progress.”
Morrow pointed to another example involving a new teacher who addressed the faculty at the end of last year and explained about how using the calendaring system had greatly enhanced how she managed her classes.
“She told us how having everything in one spot and being able to measure the metrics was very helpful,” he said.
“By the time we have all of the students engaged with online learning and doing the quizzes, we’ll be able to see the analytics. That will give the school a great insight into how the students are tracking, as well as their interactions.”
A smooth integration of technology
Morrow said rather than having “disjointed and multiple systems”, Haileybury was able to roll many of them into one using its new LMS.
“Bringing everything together under the one umbrella has made our processes really simple. For example, staff no longer need to navigate to any other systems because everything they need is streamlined into the one place,” he said.
“It quickly became clear to the school that things were working a lot better this way, and we saw this with the uptake, which was 100%. We soon incorporated Canvas into the PD sessions that we ran every Tuesday night with staff.”
Morrow added that another reason why this particular LMS was implemented was because it worked well across multiple devices, supporting the school’s iPad and BYOD programs.
“Canvas has enabled significant cost savings of more than 33% each year compared to the previous LMS in place. The cloud solution has removed the need for IT to manage, support and provide updates as this is managed by Canvas regularly,” he said.
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