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LMS- that is the question- still no answer though

LMS - Learning Management System
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What was first, a question or the answer?
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I’ll start with a question: why does it appear that all the LMS systems link me to business sites?

 

 

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I’ll second with a pet peeve: everyday it seems education is ran as more of a business.

 

 

 

My third statement is a confession: I can honestly say I would have answered that I knew nothing of LMS prior to this class.

That would have been a lie as now I recognize that I have been forced to use one everyday during my teaching- it was disguised and sold to me as SchoolLogic. Although it’s primary focus is for teacher and administrator use, there is a place for parents to access marks and assignments from home to ensure that “little Johnny”, and “little Lucy”, are indeed attending classes and doing homework- and monitor how well they do it.

Natalie and I have touched base about what LMS system, if any we want to use for our unit.  We haven’t anything in stone yet.  There is a lot to consider, and since you can’t know what you don’t know- a decent amount of research, atleast on my end.

While reading through Watters work, I can say that I connected to much of it.  I am not sure if my aversion to using an LMS is due to my level of comfort with the technology, or if my negative thoughts hold weight.

Where I’m Struggling

Does the LMS really improve student learning, or like Watters contends with technology,  a tool that allows us to  “simply perform old tasks a wee bit better, a bit faster”? I also wonder if the tool is benefiting students or adults.

 

What I do Now (or could do) What would I do with a different LMS
Enter attendance, assignments, assignment due dates, grades into division mandated School Logic Enter them twice: once for division, once for students/families
Post student assignments and rubrics in shared files for students to access Enter in LMS: advantage- students could access anywhere: their documents are only available at school
Show videos, SmartBoard lessons etc at school Post these to LMS, students could access all the time
Have student work on Google Doc for collaboration  
Have Student work on Blog Have student work on Blog and have them posted to one space

I see some advantages, but not many. The advantages I see are mostly in terms of parents being able to access homework or have a better understanding of work. There is no place that I am yet convinced that the LMS is the ticket to student learning or creating- just a place for me as the teacher to organize, and quite possibly micromanage.

Where I See it Falling Apart

falling apart
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I question how this will impact my students who are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.  I believe we have to ensure that our students are all using technology to be competitive in the workplace and in post secondary.  The majority of my students do not have access to technology outside the classroom.  Most have cellular phones, however they do not have data.  Few students have access to a desktop or laptop, and 80% of our students live on reserve, so proximity to a library makes that an impossible option.

Over 60% of our students middle years and up read atleast 2 grade levels below.  15% of a grade 7 classroom would have readers at a grade 2 or below reading level.  The LMS platform requires a level of reading, (atleast Canvas and Google Classroom do).

My dilemma- would I be increasing the divide or bridging a gap? As Bates points out, “It has proved difficult for machines to cope with the extraordinary variety of ways in which students learn, (or fail to learn)”.

 

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Am I on the right path?

I think so.  I think that technology is the way of the future, and so it is the way of education.  I know that each new skill I learn will be reflected in the education I give to my students.  I need to accept that I will always be on a path, as the learning will never be static, especially as it pertains to technology.

Where my path has led me thus far…

I have spent some time on Canvas.  Although after reading some blogs there are some negative reviews of the system. What I liked was that it was pretty easy for a rookie like me to navigate.  I liked that it supported work with Google Docs, and I also liked that students could link their blogs.  I would be unlikely to use all of its applications.

Google Classroom is also interesting, however because I am not a RP person, I won’t actually be able to access it other than for this course, which of course is what we all hope for right: an assignment that is going to be something we are able to use and expand on with our kids.

At the end of the day I want to say that I allowed tools for my students to create, and I provided them with technology that assisted their learning, not that I found a system that just made my job easier, (or not!)

Long story short.  Natalie and I will meet on Wednesday and get some solid plans in place!

 

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2 thoughts on “LMS- that is the question- still no answer though”

  1. I really appreciated your honesty about LMS platforms and the money aspect behind education. I agree that in more rural settings or lower socio-economic areas, LMS could potentially widen the divide between those who have and those who don’t. It is also unfortunate that Google Classroom is only open to divisions that have GAFE status, because I know that I received no special training on Google Classroom and I had to learn it all on my own anyway – so really, why does having a GAFE status open up Classroom if we aren’t receiving any extra training on how to use it? I personally like using Classroom because it is easy and I don’t get harassed by salespeople wanting me to upgrade 🙂

    Like

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