Throughout last weeks class, I felt quite ‘Out of the Loop’ when learning about the different CMS (Content Management System), LMS (Learning Management System) & VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) platforms. Usually, when I feel overwhelmed during class, I hear my inner voice saying;
“You will figure this out, just give it time and this is just how you learn” Photo Credit
It usually works for me and I simply forge ahead. Reading some of the blogs always helps because I find that I’m not the only one. I have some experience with Google Classroom and I’ve used Blackboard for Alec and Katia‘s EC&I 832 class. I’ve heard of Moodle, Edmodo, and Canvas but have never heard of BrightSpace or Schoology.
No worries because I have started using Google Classroom this year and my students are currently enjoying their Google Slides projects in Science. Luckily, my group was interested in using Google Classroom as well.
After reading a few blogs, I appreciated that others felt the same. Jayme and Natalie expressed their unfamiliarity with the many LMS platforms available. As of last Tuesday, I was literally figuring out the acronyms that night. I was even googling them to help answer a question in the feed.
So, I am not surprised that this is just something else that is unfamiliar to add to my knowledge of educational technology. I know that I am not alone and will continue to allow myself time to learn.
I agree with Rochelle when she began her blog by saying;
how about we first realize that most educators in Saskatchewan aren’t even aware of what an LMS is! Heck, most of Saskatchewan’s educators are still “digital visitors.”
I think about this fact almost every Tuesday evening when I am introduced to another aspect of how to use technology as a tool for student learning.
There are still many 1.0 Educators (who dabble in 2.0) who do their best and provide learning opportunities within their comfort zone. Working in an elementary school, I see the apprehension and feelings of anxiety when “edtech” tools are unknown and misunderstood. So, planning Google Classroom and our upcoming project provides mixed emotions of anticipation, excitement, anxiety, with a dab of stress. Do I have a clear understanding of what LMS looks like for students? Not 100%, but I see engagement everyday during blogging, Mathletics, RazKids, researching, and assignments done through Google Classroom. I also see excitement as students rush to get a chromebook. It is the only time, all students “get started right away,” without hesitation.
I love that when my students do have the opportunity to use technology in the classroom, they are engaged and focused.
On the flip side, after reading Audrey Watters blog, Beyond the LMS, I certainly had mixed feelings. Each week I hear about all of the positive learning and excitement that occurs in our classrooms. So, reading Audrey Watters blog post put everything back into perspective. I found her blog post to be very powerful and insightful. It is important to be reminded that we need to think about why we choose a particular ‘edtech’ tool. I appreciate that I’m reminded to ask myself these questions. Does it enhance student learning? Does it provide individualized, blended, and/or interactive learning. Am I replacing an ‘edtech’ tool with an Education 1.0 and thinking that I am enhancing learning just because my students are using a computer? I learned to be cautiously aware of the next technology tool that everyone is talking about.
As far as choosing a platform for our blended/online learning group assignment, my group chose Google Classroom right away. I feel confident that I can answer “yes” to my questions and am happy with our choice. We have a variety of experiences using this platform, ranging from no experience to experienced. I am looking forward to creating our online blended course on Genius Hour. It will be a project that I will use with my classroom for at least the next few years (until the next big movement of “edtech” is created). I have no doubt that the members of my group, Adam, Danielle, Lorraine, Kyle and Jorie will find Google Classroom to be a great fit!