Determining which LMS to use can be a daunting task. When beginning the journey for Kinkaid I decided to focus on our school mission and the things that we are currently lacking and that would improve each child's personal education.
An LMS is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs.
When picking an LMS that best suits our school, I took a look at our core values and the basic necessities that will help us to succeed academically. Because the mission of our school implores individual growth, the LMS should guide students individually to success.
How to pick?
The LMS Canvas, like many others, allows for e-learning for students with disabilities. E-learning allows for growing opportunities for students with physical disabilities, English language learners, and students who are at risk of failing out of school (Education week, 2019, p 1). The assistive technology that Canvas provides allows teachers to differentiate instruction for students of all different learning abilities.
Teaching to Everyone
Canvas allows for different features such as synchronous learning (students and teachers work together at the same time in a certain time frame to complete coursework), asynchronous learning (where students are able to work on their own time at their own pace within a given time frame), open enrollment, and closed enrollment. Each of these options allows teachers to customize their online classroom based on how they prefer to teach and what works for them and their students.
Canvas is a cloud based LMS. All information is stored in the cloud and teachers and students are able to retrieve it from any digital advice. Of course there will still be technical difficulties and challenges, we do not need to employ staff to be responsible for installing and running the LMS properly. If we have a problem with our LMS, IT can take a look or we can go straight through Canvas.
Cloud vs. Installation
Canvas has an easy learning curve. All teachers that are comfortable with technology will be able to understand and navigate the LMS without teacher training and time. Canvas can accommodate as many students as necessary without short notice, “Cloud-hosted solutions provide the greatest flexibility when expecting an increase in scale over a short period of time or when impact to students needs to be minimized”. (Jumping into online learning).
Because Kinkaid is a freestanding school we are allowed flexibility and able to use a server like Canvas instead of an LMS that is cost per user and installed.
Canvas delivers as many courses as necessary for a teacher. When conducting once course organization is easy and files are saved into the ‘files’ page. Once a course has been completed teachers can leave the information for future use and access while also beginning a new course.
Necessities: Organization, administrative tools, data collection tools, classroom tools, interactive opportunities, and flexible usage. Canvas checks each box!
Education Week. (2019). E-learning for special populations. EDWeek.org
Papas, C. (2018). The 20 best learning management systems. E-Learning Industry.