Ask five educators what an LMS is, and you’ll likely get five different answers. Viewed by some as an effective tool for teaching and learning and by others as a necessary evil, the LMS is ingrained in K-12 education. But the LMS, as we’ve come to know it, is changing.
Modern systems, such as Edsby, are improving user-interfaces with social features that mimic platforms teachers and students are familiar with outside the school environment, such as Facebook. This merges the functionality and capabilities of traditional systems with the collaborative, engaging elements students and educators need to succeed, fundamentally changing how school districts operate on a daily basis.
Let’s take a look at how a “new-school” LMS works.
What exactly is Edsby?
Put simply, Edsby uses modern technologies to connect learning communities. It’s a cloud-based software application that blends social networking with class and student management. Edsby’s intention is to increase engagement between K-12 students, teachers, parents and administrators. It features tightly integrated capabilities like social learning, school news, group collaboration, assessment management, timetables and calendars, course planning, report cards, and attendance.
Sounds good enough, but how does it work?
Many LMSes were originally developed for higher education and later adapted for K-12, but Edsby is designed specifically for the unique needs of a K-12 school district, integrating with legacy systems like the district’s SIS and leveraging existing data and security policies. By plugging into previously installed systems, Edsby uses single-sign-on functionality to simplify access. Additionally, the platform allows for deep customization based on a district’s needs.
How does it help teachers?
Too often, teachers are left to make their own technology decisions and fend for themselves without support from their school or district.
Edsby has been designed to be deployed district-wide to every teacher and student and quickly streamline many tedious administrative tasks, like attendance and grading, while allowing for classroom collaboration and resource sharing. The net effect is making teachers’ lives easier, so they can spend less time finding and maintaining ad-hoc applications like Edmodo and Moodle, and more time engaging with students.
Most importantly, teachers have increased ability to connect with students and parents by facilitating online conversations, sharing class information and asking questions. Think of it as a Facebook timeline for every class.
What about for administrators?
With Edsby, the administrator becomes the eyes and ears of the school and is given a 360-degree view of what teachers, students and parents are doing.
Based on the analytics Edsby provides, administrators can be confident in answering parents’ specific questions about their children’s progress, view student achievement or workloads, and follow up with teachers based on their observations. This sort of academic dashboard is a real strength of Edsby’s. Real-time insights like these are only available when you deploy a system this sophisticated district-wide.
What’s in it for students?
Edsby helps students organize every aspect of their day at school. Students manage their activities in and out of the classroom, collaborate with peers and communicate with their teachers. It’s a central location for teachers to upload important class documents and serves as a main meeting point for students to get what they need, whenever they need it.
School districts often see an increase in student participation as teachers leverage the LMS’s social learning features. Students are taking advantage of Edsby’s accessibility on multiple devices and constantly login from their phones, iPods, tablets and laptops as districts embrace BYOD policies. At one of Edsby’s largest districts, student posts in Edsby classrooms and groups are up 186 percent this year over the previous year, according to the company.
Parents in the LMS
Parents get their own Edsby logins to view student progress, important news from the school or district, and an easy to way communicate with teachers and administrators without having to pick up a phone or send a note. Even better, when a whole district uses Edsby, parents only have to learn and use one application, instead of the bewildering array parents are faced with when teachers pick their own technology class to class, teacher to teacher. The problem multiplies for parents with multiple kids in different classes.
By connecting disparate education tools into one platform, Edsby brings administrators, teachers, students and parents together to create a productive and well-informed educational community. While traditional systems have raised skepticism about the usefulness of the LMS, Edsby and its modern approach restore the promise of connected teaching and learning.
[source : teachthought.com]