Websites can be incredibly useful resources for education. Unfortunately, this requires that teachers make effective use of websites, which many do not. One of the biggest reasons for this problem is most likely that many teachers lack technological literacy, at least to the degree required to integrate the internet into their teaching process. Luckily, there are systems already online just for this purpose: Learning Management Systems (LMSs).
Online LMSs like Edmodo and Schoology are services made exactly for the purpose of allowing teachers to use the internet to organize their classes. These websites serve to create an online component to any course by allowing teachers to put their assignments on the internet and allowing students to view them from anywhere.
This is something modern classes have access to, and something they should be using. The potential for classes to improve by using resources like these is extraordinary, and could vastly improve the learning experience for students. Besides simply stating the assignments, these services can have students turn them in online, and do far more—from helping teachers organize documents to calculating grades to analyzing the students’ performance.
Classroom was designed … to help [teachers] save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.
Even Google has put effort into making an LMS with Google Classroom, an extension of the larger Google for Education. While highly limited compared to more developed LMSs, it should be easy to integrate in a school already relying on Google, as Ashland High School does. On the other hand, those limitations make it considerably less effective than other LMSs. Also, many major LMSs have google drive integration.
The hardest part is the conversion. Public education has been called the slowest-changing sector, and implementing a new technology can be mind-numbingly difficult. Luckily, some of the major LMSs have some system to ease the transition. For example, Schoology offers training for their services (actually, they train people to train others, which is even better).
There are certain downsides, of course. The first that comes to mind is the possibility of teachers beginning to use the internet to turn out-of-class time into class time by having assignments due outside of school hours. The internet should not become the primary carrier for assignments; it should be used alongside offline assignments to create a more efficient form of education that does not weigh on the students’ lives.
And not all LMSs are free, and even those that are often require payment for some of their services. This could be one of the biggest issue with some aspects of LMS implementation, but the investment is well worth the price.
But the potential is there, and the benefits outweigh the challenges by far. The internet is an amazing resource, and education is the most important industry in the world. Why not use one to fuel the other?
References and citations:
- Boan, Andrew. Digital image. EdTechToolkit. WordPress, Jan.-Feb. 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <https://edtechtoolkit.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/lms-smackdown/>.
- “Introducing Classroom.” Google for Education. Google Inc., Aug. 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <https://www.google.com/edu/products/productivity-tools/classroom/>.
- Various comparisons between LMSs: