While the core premise of a classroom has existed for millennia – an educator in front of a group of pupils discussing new ideas and thoughts – the classroom dynamic has also remained relatively stagnant, but this is on the cusp of change. One of the greatest opportunities given to educators in the 21st century is the possibility of integrating new technology into the classroom.
As with any change to an existing model, the integration of new technology has not been an easy change, and while there is still resistance in some corners, the introduction of personal computers, tablets, SMART boards and other devices has been overall a success in aiding teachers with their task at hand.
However, there are many more ways enterprising teachers can use technology to aide them with their work. This blog will be focusing on what may be the biggest complaint teachers have with their jobs – the paperwork and administrative tasks – and how this can be dramatically simplified with smart use of Learning Management Systems (LMS).
Learning Management Systems are used in a growing number of schools and educational institutions to do everything from automatically monitoring roll call to administering online quizzes to tracking student’s grades. Below are the functionalities and faults with what we believe to be the top 3 options for educational Learning Management Systems:
- Google Classroom – classroom.google.com
Google Classroom ties in Google’s many other features into a neat and efficient package that has the immediate benefit over other Google products by not showing any advertising in its interface (either for students or faculty) and that none of the data is scanned or saved for advertising purposes.
Google Classroom allows staff to store and grade assignments within the platform, and is also part of a push towards a paperless system that ends the need for printing out worksheets and essay guides, and the potential for students homework to be lost – or worse, eaten by a dog!
In addition, Google Classroom is available in app form for iOS and Android devices, with the app students can easily take photos and upload images to join with their ongoing assignments, as well as receive immediate communication from teachers regarding assignment drafts and ongoing projects.
Unfortunately, the lack of class discussion forums and automated tests and quizzes means there are some downsides to transitioning over to Google Classroom completely, but in the scheme of things Google Classroom is still a strong, clean, reliable Learning Management System.
- Schoology – schoology.com
While strikingly similar visually to Facebook, Schoology is another excellent LMS option that has heavily gone down “the simple is better” ethos for this technology. Easy to pick up, Schoology offers attendance record tracking, an online gradebook, easily configurable tests and also a dedicated homework dropbox. The second part of Schoology is its social media interface that allows for streamlined communication in a monitored and controlled platform between staff and students that can be split into classes, year levels and extracurricular activity groups as well.
However, this social media interface can be distracting for some students, and can provide a diversion from their studies.
Schoology is also free for educators, with optional extras available for those who sign up to a more premium enterprise package.
- Edmodo – edmodo.com
Edmodo is another powerful Learning Management System that includes attendance tracking, online quizzes and grading, and easy teacher-student communication. The development of their recent Snapshot software however has catapulted Edmodo into the upper echelons of Learning Management Systems.
Snapshot is suite of assessment tools that better measure student progress on educational standards. Snapshot removes the need of creating and grading your own assignments, and instead can create standardized quizzes that provide immediate feedback and reports on students’ progress. This informs teachers on where students are tracking compared to the average, and identifies which lessons have been the most effective, and which students may need more personal attention.
This powerful software in addition to Edmodo’s other mentioned features are why we believe Edmodo to be the best Learning Management System available on the market today.
Three key takeaways:
- Utilising technology in the classroom is a vital skill for a 21st teacher to have
- Smart use of Learning Mangement Systems can dramatically aide teachers in administrative and also teaching tasks
- Edmodo’s Snapshot software places it ahead of other Learning Management Systems for the moment.