Magazine article Technology & Learning

Finding the Right Lms for Your District

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Finding the Right Lms for Your District

Article excerpt

A learning management system (LMS) should support every aspect of your district's digital infrastructure. How do you choose an LMS that will best fit the unique needs of your school or district? Find out what these educators have to say about why they chose their LMS and how it's working in their context

LMS: ITSLEARNING

DISTRICT: THE EVANSVILLE (IN) VANDERBURGH SCHOOL CORPORATION (37 SCHOOLS, 1,600 EDUCATORS, AND 23,000 STUDENTS)

What they love about their LMS: Tim Wilhelmus, innovation, curriculum, and technology specialist, says itslearning serves as a centralized hub and digital playground for teachers and students. The platform offers Google integration and its flexible architecture allows teachers to bring in "outside" Web tools and other functionalities, thus expanding the LMS and letting it "live outside of the itslearning space." Wilhelmus particularly likes itslearning's planner and pages features. The fact that it can be used with primary grades is also important for this K-12 district.

LMS: D2L

DISTRICT: THE DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD OF NIAGARA IN ONTARIO, CANADA (109 SCHOOLS, 3,000 EDUCATORS, 36,000 STUDENTS)

What they love about their LMS: Robert Dunlop, blended learning resource teacher, says, "we love that we have a platform that can grow along with the students and their needs," documenting student learning with D2L Portfolio from kindergarten through grade 12. Primary teachers can keep parents informed and extend learning at home, while middle-school teachers love that D2L provides assessment tools and houses learning materials that are accessible to students on any device. "In high school," Dunlop says, "we use D2L for both blended learning and e-learning. With a district-wide voluntary adoption rate over 80 percent and improved workflow, Dunlop says, "D2L has changed the way that teachers teach ... and many could not imagine not using D2L now."

LMS: CANVAS

DISTRICT: SPRINGFIELD (MO) PUBLIC SCHOOLS (54 BUILDINGS, 2,500 EDUCATORS, 25,000 STUDENTS)

What they love about their LMS: In a pilot, Springfield students unanimously chose Canvas for its clean design, mobile device capability, and user interface. "Canvas is so easy, even our teachers can use it!" one student quipped. The district uses Canvas for everything from their online school, Launch, to credit recovery, curriculum, digital libraries, professional development, and student courses. "Canvas is one simple package with all the tools and resources that a teacher needs. It's an all-in-one, out-of-the-box solution," says director for blended learning Dr. Nichole Lemmon.

LMS: EDSBY

DISTRICT: THE GREATER ESSEX COUNTY DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD IN WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA (70 SCHOOLS, 36,000 STUDENTS, 4,700 EMPLOYEES)

What they love about their LMS: John Howitt, superintendent of education, says Edsby is a K-12 solution "with menus and workflows simple enough for kindergarten but robust enough for senior students." Integration with their existing SIS was a key factor. One key to success, Howitt says, has been to "limit the expectations of use." While everyone uses Edsby for attendance and group communication, teachers in this district with a robust infrastructure to support BYOD use the many other available features at their discretion. This "authentic implementation model" means that the use of Edsby in each classroom and school will look different. "As the user(s) become more comfortable with Edsby," Howitt says, "they grow into other uses."

LMS: POWERSCHOOL

DISTRICT: COMMUNITY (IL) SCHOOL DISTRICT 300 (27 SCHOOLS, OVER 20,000 STUDENTS, OVER 1,200 EDUCATORS)

What they love about their LMS: "By creating an onboarding curriculum to orient students to the Chromebook and Google apps as well as systems for obtaining support, we were able to have students fully engaged in PowerSchool learning activities such as discussions, polls, and formative assessments during the second week of school," says director of digital literacy and innovation Anne Pasco. …

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