(2014/15 workshop begins in November 2014. These older pages will remain, but look for updated versions and new topics as the workshop progresses.)
In Thing 12, we’ll explore Social Learning Communities and Learning Management Systems. This is a big topic, but we’ll focus on a small selection of tools that represent a range of services. As always, feel free to explore tools not mentioned and share your experiences with the group. We all gain from each other’s explorations!
Learning Management Systems
The phrase “Learning Management System” is a bit of catch-all for a variety of services that help educators manage student learning, regardless of whether the learning is taking place in an online course, in a flipped classroom setting or an in-school classrooms. LMS systems help you track student performance, provide learning materials and areas for discussion, among many other features.
Two services that are popular in K12 settings are Edmodo and Schoology. Both are free (with paid upgrade options) and students don’t need email addresses to join. These services let you share documents with students, conduct quizzes, track achievements, continue classroom discussions outside of the classroom and much more. Both have web-based interfaces that have a Facebook feel to them and apps for mobile devices so students can interact easily with the system. Popular library uses include book clubs, reviews writing, sharing “best of” lists, group discussions and more. Both are great tools for collaborating with classroom teachers.
- Schoology – 2 minute video overview.
- About Edmodo – short video at top of page provides quick overview.
OTHER SOCIAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) are free online courses that are taught by experts (ususally!) and anyone with internet access can participate. These don’t always have strong community connections built in and might be a bit isolating as a result. One MOOC that was very intentionally built around community interactions was the Hyperlinked Library MOOC run by Dr. Michael Stephens and Kyle Jones.
Some of the leading organizations that offer MOOCS include: Coursera , edX and Udacity. One role for schools in the MOOC movement could be to promote access to these MOOCS, provide course credit and if enough students in a region are all taking the same course, provide in-person or online collaboration opportunities. The LMS tools mentioned above would work quite nicely for that.
Other community based platforms to help mange flipped classrooms, enable blended learning, continue conversations outside of class time and for professional development include:
- Mightybell – Set up group spaces called “Circles” for collaboration, discussion and sharing. No classroom tools. Practice by joining the BookClub group set up for this workshop
- Goodreads for book groups, study groups, reviews and more. Check out this list of classes using Goodreads.
- Facebook – Private or public Facebook groups can be used for classroom or group discussions with students over age 13.
- EdWeb – Live webinars, chats, online discussions with other educators.
- TeacherLibrarian Ning – A community for teacher-librarians and other educators.
- TL Virtual Cafe – Chats, live webinars and more.
- Classroom 2.0 – Free network for those interested in Web 2.0 and social media in education
- Edutopia Groups – A great resource for news and interesting articles. And also includes forums for discussion of a wide range of topics.
RESOURCES TO EXPLORE
- Edmodo – first year using it with my students – so far, AWESOME! – Quick post on experience using it w HS students
- Schoology v Edmodo – good discussion of the two. Includes a video demo of Schoology.
- 7 Brilliant Ways to use Edmodo that will Blow. Your. Mind. – Tons of tips in the comments as well.
- Facebook, Edmodo, & Schoology. Oh my! – Choosing a social network platform for learning.
- A Guide to Getting Started with Edmodo
- Why I Chose Schoology Over All the Rest
- Schoology connects students to their teachers whenever and wherever – Shannon Mersand’s (SLMS) experience working with schoology.
- Creating rich learning management systems – Video by Judy O’Connell and Tara Brabazon, educators from Australia. (And more videos on Tech Topics)
- Survey of K12 Educators on Social Networking, Online Communities, & Web 2.0 Tools – Interesting survey results about adoption of social media tools and communities by Teachers, Librarians and Principals.
- Reading Challenge idea – Great tips for running a reading challenge by Tiffany Whitehead. Schoology was used for discussions. @librarian_tiff
- Ideas for Using the AASL Best Websites: Edmodo This is an older article, but ideas would work for either Edmodo or Schoology.
- Summer E-Book Club With Edmodo – example of setting up a summer reading book club.
- Schoology App Center – Free and paid addons to Schoology
- Edmodo Store – Free and paid addons to Edmodo
As always, we encourage you to explore tools that YOU are interested in and relevant to your needs. Some suggested activities are:
- Explore Schoology
- Explore Edmodo
- You Pick!
- Pick one or more of the other services listed above or pick related tools that we haven’t mentioned. Explore them and assess how you might be able to use them in your school setting or in your professional life.
YOUR BLOG POST
Some discussion ideas:
- Discuss your experiences with Learning Management Systems in your school.
- What tools did you test? What features worked well? What was missing?
- How would you put these to use in your school setting?
- Will you be able to use any of these services in your school?
- Will they benefit you professionally?
Log your blog post – Let us know you finished your lesson by filling out this short form. You’ll need the URL of your first blog post to complete the form.