Thursday, May 16, 2013

Learning Management Tools

We're going to be getting a laptop program next year (yay!) in Grade 7 and 8, and as the technology coordinator part of my role will be to ensure that the laptops are used effectively in the classroom.

I've been doing a bunch of work on looking at the various learning management tools, and I've settled on Edmodo.  Some reasons:

A number of the tools are either extremely complex, or emphasize a number of things that we don't need.  For example, we don't need the ability to create and grade quizzes on my tool, first because I'm not confident that the results will be reasonable, but secondly because I and my colleagues utilize Socrative on a regular basis.

In addition, the courses don't have to be planned in the same level of detail that some of the more advanced (Blackboard, Moodle) systems allow. We utilize Google Docs to share files and much prefer that interface.  The calendaring system on Edmodo is just fine for our students to use and allows for easily sharing information between the various subject teachers.

Thirdly, while the level of integration may work for some, we've developed a number of very nice tools that we use for various projects.  Google Docs accomplishes much of the writing and analysis, Socrative allows for student response, YouTube channels for sharing videos, etc.  All this is distributed by links which can be easily sent out over Edmodo.

Finally, free is nice - at a small school with a limited budget, the advantages of a free system that doesn't require server support is huge.

The other systems have their uses, but for us, now, it's just going to be nice to be able to track assignments and have a centralized gradebook and discussion forum.

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