“…oral communication remains as strong today in education as ever, but has been incorporated into or accommodated by new technologies.” Teaching in a Digital Age – Chapter 6 by Tony Bates
When Amy and I began brainstorming our ideas for the course that we would develop this semester we first began with trying to decipher which LMS (learning management system) would best fit the requirements of the project but also the needs of the students who could potentially use this course in the future. I was lucky that Amy was on board with jumping into developing a course for primary students!
One of the pieces that Amy and I want to ensure we do with our project is to make the learning is not just engaging but something that the students are going to want to be involved in. As well as something that has them up and using their hands for learning. Since we are taking on a Science unit, I don’t think this will be too difficult a challenge. I was reminded of this thought when I read the Audrey Watters post Beyond the LMS. In this post Watters discusses the large dislike for the well know LMS , Blackboard and how many companies have taken something that Blackboard has already created and essentially just make it ‘pretty’ so to speak. As she states:
“..the solution then … is to build the same thing, just with a nicer, more modern user interface. “It’s like Blackboard,” I hear them say, but with the blue colors we now associate with Facebook. “It’s like Blackboard…” but with a news feed. “It’s like Blackboard…” but with responsive design or with a mobile app. “It’s like Blackboard…” but you don’t have to have permission from your IT department. “It’s like Blackboard…” but it’s free.”
We don’t simply want to create something that students that is the same as they would have always done. We want to create a new and varied learning experience that involves the learner throughout the whole process.
When considering a LMS for primary students there are potentially some factors at play that may not be as prevalent as you move into the older grades. So what might those factors be? Although we are still working out some logistical details, we have discussed and considered a few of the following:
- Ease of use
- Student access to technology
- The need for incorporating time for teachers to have to explicitly teach certain tech features to students as they may be experiencing some pieces or tech in general for the first time
- Read ability – many primary students are still learning to read
When you look at this list, can you think of any other factors we should be considering?
Please feel free to share and tips or suggestion you might have in the comment section!
After some careful consideration around the needs of primary students, looking at a few LMS options and about 5 too many promotional emails from Edmodo we have settled on Weebly as a space for our course, that will be supplemented by Seesaw. Along with other possible suggestions/options for teachers who do not have access to Seesaw. There are definitely a few kinks and specifics to work out but we are making progress! Have I mentioned yet just how great it is to have such an awesome partner to work with? We are completely on the same page and even better, she totally gets my love for Snapchat!
So we’ve picked Weebly, now what? Amy and I have set up our space and are working on the development and details of the course along with the aesthetic and logistical pieces. I’ve put together a short screen cast to show you a little bit about the sign up process, how Weebly is set up and where we are at! Any feedback, guidance or suggestions are always welcome!