Thursday, June 11, 2015

Insight about the Mighty LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM...

Love it or not, the LMS is going to be part of the EdTech picture, including your school! Here's an interesting article from T.H.E. Journal...
"Learning Management Systems

4 Features to Look for in a 21st Century LMS

Two districts share their experiences of choosing a learning management system that does a lot more than help teachers post assignments."
Choosing an LMS"If sheer choice is any indicator, there has never been a better time for school systems to adopt a learning management system. The traditional market leaders that have delivered LMSes into higher education for years — Blackboard, D2L, Moodle and Pearson — have expanded their reach to support K-12. They join plenty of products that have been there all along: Aspen, itslearning and Edmodo, among others. And there are plenty of relative newbies in the LMS ranks angling for their own slice of the education pie, such as Google Classroom and Instructure with Canvas.
Unlike their higher ed counterparts, many of the 13,600 public school districts in the United States have never adopted an LMS, so there's a ripe market opportunity for vendors. What's driving schools into this category of software is the uptick in student computing, the pursuit of technology that can simplify the personalization of instruction, a desire to broaden communication throughout the school community and a craving to use data to guide decision-making.

21st Century LMS Shopping List
It's a sure bet that every program calling itself an LMS these days offers the course-management basics: providing a way for students to submit assignments and for teachers to run online discussions and deliver announcements. But those were the same features LMS users wanted a decade ago, and they pale in comparison to what users are looking for now:
  • An intuitive interface that mimics consumer social networks;
  • Collaboration that goes far beyond standard teacher-student communication;
  • Assessments with analytics responsive enough to drive instruction for that day, week or month; and
  • The capacity to provide a structure for organizing digital learning resources and sharing them locally and broadly.
Like districts all over the country, Roaring Fork School District in Colorado is in the midst of an LMS evaluation right now. According to Technology Integration Facilitator Ben Bohmfalk, the teachers have never had an LMS, and they are trying two. About 20 percent of the teachers have picked up Google Classroom; and a handful of educators are piloting Schoology.

The district arrived at this point after adopting Google Apps for Education several years ago, then beginning the steady trek to 1-to-1. Because it seemed to be a simple fit with Google Apps, the district picked up Google Classroom when it was officially introduced in August 2014. While the free program has added to what teachers are "doing in the classroom," he noted, it lacks some of the curriculum features teachers most want, whereas Schoology appears to fill those gaps.

Evergreen School Division in Manitoba, Canada, sought an LMS as a way to consolidate the functionality being provided by a bunch of different software its schools had adopted through the years. According to Superintendent and CEO Paul Cuthbert, the district used one tool for attendance, another for a gradebook and various programs for classroom-based Web sites and blogs. A two-year assessment process whittled the choices down to one: Edsby. After a year of piloting and a year of rolling it out to teachers in its high schools, the early and middle school teachers have access to the new LMS...."

Read the Full Article at Its Source:

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