CANVAS BY INSTRUCTURE
How to choose a Learning Management System
Selecting a new Learning Management System (LMS) is a tremendous undertaking that requires a careful evaluation of your school’s goals, technology infrastructure, and the varied needs of the entire learning community
How do you choose an LMS you’ll be happy with?
One of the best ways is to learn from those who have gone before you. After compiling information from K12 schools that have gone through the process of selecting, implementing, and supporting a new LMS, here are seven tips to help make sure you’re happy with your LMS.
Clearly determine goals
An LMS should be a toolset that amplifies your school’s strengths and accelerates progress toward your goals. Having goals in place can help your evaluation team focus on meaningful outcomes and avoid the tangled weeds of competing checklists.
Do you want to empower students to take ownership of their own learning, or suggest new ways teachers can design and deliver online courses? Maybe you want to establish tools that make integrating blended and online models easier. Start with clear goals.
Re-imagine teaching and learning
Simply put, an LMS should improve teaching and learning. Since that can seem vague, a good way to visualise that improvement is to re-imagine what teaching and learning looks like after adoption of a new LMS and how your teachers and students use it.
Will their workflow become more complicated, or will the platform enable them to focus on what matters most? The best technology opens new doors for teaching and learning in a way that is intuitive and easy.
Get community feedback
Find teachers, IT administrators and even students who are currently using your learning platform, to see what does and does not work in blended or online learning. For example, a survey with generic and specific questions for each audience will help you to recognise a wide range of user types who may have rejected the current LMS and why.
Understanding this will help you choose a new LMS that will get used and enhance teaching and learning.
Think about the future
While adaptability and usability are key to getting the most out of an LMS right away, choosing a flexible, adaptable platform will support your schools’ future needs.
• First, brainstorm things that could affect technology needs and usage. Platforms that are easily customisable and highly scalable will adapt and grow as you do.
• Second, the constant influx of new teaching apps and websites requires an LMS that integrates with third-party tools through an open API feed, as well as an app centre with hundreds of technology tools that teachers can install and use without ever having to talk to IT.
Whether the LMS is down for maintenance, an unexpected outage, or even just slows to a crawl, nothing causes stress for students, teachers and IT like an unreliable learning platform.
Thankfully, modern technology makes 99.9% uptime possible. A reliable LMS instills confidence in your school’s initiatives, empowers teachers and students to engage whenever they want, and makes everyone breathe a little easier.
Find a partnership
The LMS is a vital part of your educational ecosystem, so look for an LMS partnership that is responsive, supportive, and collaborative. The best way to do this is to connect with peers already using your LMS platform. Ask what it’s like to deal with the service provider when something goes wrong, as well as when things are going well.
Try it out!
Everyone knows the best way to learn is by doing. Ask the LMS service provider to grant full administrative access to a sandbox environment. This way you can get a first-hand look at the platform’s capabilities and receive vital feedback on what users think of it.
CANVAS MAKES TEACHING AND LEARNING EASIER
Making teaching and learning easier is the ultimate test of an LMS, and that’s what Canvas does better than anyone else. Your LMS should be simple. It should be easy. Canvas is designed to get out of your way, to let your teachers do their thing. Effortless updates, speedy grading, easy course creation, simplicity of collaboration, and intuitiveness of the system are all built in.
Every last feature is crafted to save time and effort and to make teaching and learning easier. That’s why, in such a short time, Canvas is now used by 1200+ colleges, universities and schools, and over 18 million students.
We know choosing the right LMS for your school is no simple task. We invite you to ask Canvas about additional
resources in finding the best-fitting platform for your school.
Education for K–12 schools of the future will be collaborative, personalised and any time
Teaching and learning has evolved from a structured and formal environment into a virtual, mobile-enabled, informal, and social activity based environment
Schoolbox has ‘grown up’ with digital K–12 learning in Australia, continually developing to meet the needs of digitally-hungry teachers, students and parents. Starting with just one school in Melbourne in 2002, more than 200 high profile campuses in Australia and New Zealand now use our unique all-in-one learning management system (LMS), portal and intranet.
The Schoolbox community continues to expand, doubling in the last 12 months, growing into new international markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
Schoolbox is not a ‘re-purposed’ tertiary education LMS. It is based on what Australian Primary and Secondary educators tell us they want for their students, teachers and parents. In a virtual feedback loop, their expertise and practical suggestions are shared with our schools in two comprehensive system upgrades each year.
For business managers and IT staff, Schoolbox is a robust and flexible system that can be easily adapted to the individual school’s needs; will work seamlessly with new devices as they come along; and is providing schools with the technology needed to further improve learning outcomes for students, based on meaningful information.
More time to teach
Everything that the teacher needs to use can be accessed from the home screen, such as information about a child in the school’s Student Information System, without needing to exit and log into another area.
In Schoolbox, the class teacher might start off with a look at the school news feed; check the diary and calendar; mark the attendance roll; take classes; set homework assignments; check individual and class progress; mark students’ work …and use Schoolbox to create a new lesson with embedded video clips, images, notes and online resources, then send the lesson to students to prepare at home for the next class.
Anywhere, any time learning
Schoolbox is a rich platform of learning opportunities for students. A few examples: it’s a place to keep on top of what they need to do and when; communicate and work collaboratively with their peers; research and write and submit assignments; keep an ePortfolio; and even check if they might have inadvertently plagiarised an author’s work.
What are the students up to?
It is also a resource for parents to check what their children are doing; how they are progressing; to contact teachers and administration; and generally be part of class and school life.
Schoolbox adds up
We believe that it all adds up to an integrated LMS, portal and intranet that is unlike any other. We invite you to contact us for a preliminary discussion and demonstration of how Schoolbox can enhance communication, collaboration and learning at your school.
SCHOOLBOX IS UNIQUE
A unique all-in-one learning management system, portal and intranet. Schoolbox will be customised to your school’s requirements and the image you want to present.
• Self or cloud hosted
Vital data is securely hosted on-premise on the school’s server or in the cloud.
• Platform independent
Schoolbox is a fully web-based platform. It is device agnostic and will support any device, streamlining 1–1 and BYOD for schools.
Strategic and integration partners
Our live integration with student information systems (Synergetic, Denbigh, Edumate, SchoolPro, OneSchool, Cases21) ensures our systems are more heavily integrated than anything else available on the market.
Schoolbox is also integrated with leading edtech solutions including Google Apps, Office 365, ClickView, Rubicon Atlas, Plagscan, Edval and many others.
Your Schoolbox licence includes all the support you need. Our customer success team fully maintains, manages and supports every aspect of your Schoolbox service.
HOBSONS – EDUMATE
Edumate Learning Alignment System – a true Australian first
The result of a load of passion, a healthy measure of research and a genuine desire to improve learning, Hobsons has introduced their newest product within the Edumate Suite – it is bound to be a true game-changer in the LMS landscape
A Learning Alignment System
The latest product in the Edumate Suite goes by a slightly different name than the ordinary, as fits its design. Edumate’s Learning Alignment System has been designed to serve the needs of a traditional learning management system (LMS) but with greater emphasis on the integration and alignment of a school’s specific goals, which in turn drives systemic change in K–12 schools. Before we explore what that really means, it helps to understand Edumate’s rationale for entering the LMS market.
21st century digital learning
Working with the sector for nearly 15 years, and with collective experience spanning much longer still, it became apparent that the work of many K–12 schools was unnecessarily frustrated by traditional learning management systems.
Typically, a learning or content management system had no direct links to the unit plans teachers developed; instead, because of the nature of their core functions, the message was sent that an online curriculum was little more than isolated exercises, recording results and reporting. This left little opportunity for leaders to identify whether carefully planned, value-added units had transferred from the teaching programs into the learning space, or if school-wide curriculum initiatives were positively affecting day-to-day learning. Furthermore, many systems had originated from the higher education sector, which means that while they may come with ‘add-on’ features or bells and whistles, typically these address the needs of tertiary learners and instructors, illustrating providers’ limited experience in the nuances and intent of K–12 education.
Limitations, such as inappropriate nomenclature or counterintuitive ‘course’ design, often result in poor adoption among teachers and an array of disconnected systems being used sporadically across the school. These inconsistencies in best-practice K–12 delivery – coupled with frustrating duplication of efforts, significant data leaks between platforms and missing links with school vision – made it evident that there was a genuine gap in the market.
In true Hobsons Edumate spirit, as well as being motivated by elements that were missing or under-delivered, we aspired to create something above and beyond the ordinary: a strategic tool deployed to help leaders drive change and track and measure the value-add of the school’s policies and initiatives. This product had to create an environment that fosters continuous improvement and encourages collaboration between teachers, all the while being thoroughly grounded in school vision and curriculum.
To transform online classes into genuine 21st century digital learning experiences, the platform needed to do much more than hold documents, host a discussion forum or auto-mark rudimentary quizzes, it needed to seamlessly and elegantly connect all the points across the students’ learning lifecycle at that school, and in doing so, finally ‘close the loop’ between a school’s vision for its students and the ultimate success of those learners.
After much consultation and action research, Edumate’s Learning Alignment System (LAS) was launched. Edumate LAS is a completely integrated web-based solution that brings curriculum mapping, results and reporting, tracking and analysis, and digital learning experiences together in one elegant, easy-to-use platform.
Through well-considered and thorough design, Edumate LAS is a genuine K–12 learning solution, based not on a list of software features, but on building on approaches that help a school achieve its mission. The manner in which a school realises these benefits is simple. The initial scaffold of Edumate LAS is created in curriculum planning, which allows the keen planners on your staff to design a guaranteed and viable curriculum, while the creators can focus on developing engaging content and a rich learning space – all innately informed by your chosen curriculum initiatives.
One energised teacher could certainly develop all these aspects, but Edumate LAS enables crowd sourcing that enables all to contribute their best efforts and results in an optimal outcome for all. Such collaboration is a natural opportunity for ongoing professional development and increasing the body of organisational knowledge.
Over time, you will refine your written and delivered curriculum because it is part of the same system that provides data on the ‘learned’ curriculum, as evidenced by student performance and progress within the platform. Through this process, your school’s vision comes alive and is visible in the daily activities driven by teachers united with a clear and actionable mission.
Edumate’s passion springs from a genuine desire to improve all students’ learning. Truly an Australian first, Edumate LAS is the latest product to enhance the Edumate Suite and to advance this vision.
Through a healthy measure of research and elegant design, Edumate LAS is the platform that can truly deliver your school’s vision, making it a total game-changer in the LMS (or LAS!) landscape for the K–12 market.
EDUMATE AT A GLANCE
• Inherently K–12, Edumate LAS has been built specifically for schools, informed by well-regarded research and best practice, and supports a wide range of pedagogical frameworks and initiatives.
• Drag-and-drop functionality combines aesthetics with usability to purposely empower schools to focus on what really matters.
• Edumate LAS natively links curriculum design and delivery with formal markbook, assessments and continuous reporting, as well as informal student feedback and reflections, thus eliminating data leaks and duplication of efforts.
• Collaboration is fostered between teachers in an environment informed by school vision and curriculum initiatives, leading to consistent quality design across the school.
• In-built emotive responses from students provide a unique feedback feature that can lead to adjusting and improving curriculum.
• Personalised and aligned learning pathways are always underpinned by targeted discussions and journals for reflective learning.
• Learning in Edumate LAS is a truly longitudinal experience – nothing is deleted and assessment results are traceable over time.
How your school will benefit from FrogLearn – the unbeatable award winning learning platform
…it’s not just about providing everyone with the right tools – it’s about giving everyone the opportunity for a world-class education
Multi-award winning and web based FrogLearn is used by over 13,000 schools and 12 million users around the world – now it’s available for Australian primary and secondary schools through Civica Education.
FrogLearn works seamlessly across all current mobile and tablet devices, including iPads. It is built from the ground up using the latest HTML5 web technology, so schools can be assured that their investment in devices and online resources is secure and future proof.
FrogLearn for senior leaders
FrogLearn is refreshingly easy to understand and can be used across the school to support collaboration and improve communication. Senior leaders can share information with staff, students and parents so everyone is up to date without the need to trawl through endless emails. Faculties can share their sites to reduce their workload and support less experienced staff or relief teachers. Many schools are using FrogLearn to investigate different pedagogical approaches and how they can provide increased engagement and interaction with their students.
FrogLearn for teachers
Through FrogLearn, teachers can create high quality sites to complement and extend what happens in their classroom, without any technical expertise. They can focus on the learning, not the technology. Whether it’s a revision site to complement classroom teaching, a collaborative project site or a co-curricular club site, all can be accommodated in FrogLearn.
The free, FrogSnap app works with both iOS and Android phones and provides a unique way of collecting and storing video evidence for assessment or sharing the experience of an excursion with those at home. Images, video and audio can be uploaded directly into a site to create a dynamic stream that adds a different dimension to the user experience.
FrogLearn for students
The FrogLearn interface is highly visual and multimedia rich, making learning more interesting and engaging. Students can access sites and assignments in class, in school, at home – every day of the week, around the clock. Work never ‘gets lost’ and it’s always there for reference and revision.
Students can work individually or collaboratively, receive teacher’s comments on an assignment as it develops; share work with other students and show it to parents through pages that have the look and functionality of the technology that they love to use outside of school.
FrogLearn for parents
Parents never miss a moment, they can keep informed by receiving school news, letters, events and excursions and view their child’s work direct from their dashboard.
Drag and drop Widgets make building a site easy and intuitive. So easy in fact that most first time users can build their first content rich site within minutes.
There is a long list of Widgets and they all work the same way – drag the Widget onto the page, click to open and then start adding content. You can add your own resources, browse and add images and videos with a simple click and incorporate the richness of free Web 2.0 tools. Google and Office 365 documents can be integrated direct from their cloud location, using embed and html widgets. Forms, polls, surveys, quizzes and discussions add real opportunities for students to interact and get involved.
FrogLearn and Civica
FrogLearn is provided as a hosted solution from Civica’s secure Australian based data centre, removing any requirements on your school to provide and support additional infrastructure. Civica Education carries out all upgrades and maintenance with minimal downtime, giving you peace of mind that your school is always connected.
Civica has more than 15 years of experience in implementing technology to support teaching and learning and a dedicated education consultant will ensure that you get the most out of FrogLearn.
Civica’s Help Desk Service operates on weekdays during business hours by phone or email. In addition to prompt telephone assistance, they provide automatic call logging for emails and access to an online support portal and knowledge base.
If you would like to see for yourself how FrogLearn can help you address the key challenges facing your school community, book a demonstration with one of our education specialists and discover how the partnership of FrogLearn and Civica can benefit your school.