Integrating technology calls for a lot of shifts in thinking. One shift is the workflow between teacher and students. The bin for papers on the counter isn’t going to allow students to share their digital creations. A digital rich classroom needs an organized way to communicate in a digital environment. A learning management system (LMS) is the answer. Even without a device for every student, this can still be the digital hub for the classroom.
What is an LMS?
Think of a learning management system or LMS as the digital hub for your classroom. Some standard features on most LMS platforms are posting assignments and resources, discussion boards, the ability for students to submit work, and parent access. Some more robust systems may include a grade book, student portfolios, and data management. The use of an LMS may vary by grade level, but all grades can find features that are beneficial to students and parents from Kindergarten through College.
Why do I need an LMS?
- Create a smooth workflow in a digital environment- Teachers are able to post assignments and discussions for students to have all the resources they need. Students can turn in work in an organized manner.
- Share resources with students- Videos, graphic organizers, and any other tools or resources can be saved to the LMS for students to refer to as needed.
- Make content accessible to all students – Anchor charts, for example, are usually hung in one place in the room. If the teacher snaps a picture of the chart and puts it in the LMS, all students can use it while they work.
- Organize content for students- Content from many different programs can be centralized into one location.
- Differentiate activities easily- Activities can be individualized or students can be put into groups that allow for the differentiation of activities.
- Create self-paced learning- When students are finished with an activity, they now have access to the materials to move on to the next task at their own pace.
- Easy feedback- Assignments can be annotated and the feedback and comments can go directly back to the students.
- Student Portfolios – It allows students to organize their learning in portfolios that can be used to show the progression of learning.
- Parent Communication- Parents can access the platform to support their child in learning.
- Collect data- An LMS helps track qualitative data by keeping the students’ work in one place.
- Teach Digital Citizenship – Students can use online discussions and share their learning with the class is an environment that is safe and overseen by the teachers.
Which one do I use?
Some school districts or buildings choose to use the same LMS with all teachers to develop consistency for students and parents. Even if an LMS is not provided by the school, there are many free versions that teachers can use with students. Here are a few systems, but many more exist. Check out a variety of them and see which system best fits the needs of your classroom.
No matter which one you choose, a learning management system will get the digital environment of your classroom running smooth.