As someone that works in the IT industry, I was recently very impressed with the tools now available to our kids to help them learn in new ways. It’s amazing to see what is available to them now, from devices to portals and apps, all free of charge, connecting teachers, students and parents. What a difference a generation makes since I was in school!
Technology is evolving really fast in the classroom as school boards across North America and in Canada invest more and more into new infrastructure that is less costly, more secure and easy to maintain while leveraging Google cloud-based learning tools and resources. This is leading the way to a transformation in the classroom that enables teachers with technology to create learning environments that value students as learners and more conducive to success.
The classroom has moved from pen and paper to devices like Chromebooks and apps like Google, preconfigured for the Education market. Many school Boards have also adopted portals to make it easier for teachers and students to organize their day, view assignments, and communicate.
developed a platform that’s free for school districts. All they need to do is register their school to use it. It includes a cloud-based productivity suite with these apps: Mail, Drive, Classroom, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Calendar. They even get support included.
This was designed to be simple to setup, use and manage, allowing schools to help teachers and students to work smarter and focus on what really matters. To take these learning tools further, learning platforms have propped up. These provide robust, secure and integrated systems to create personalized learning environments. Platforms to Make it Easier to Plan Students Day
I’m aware of two platforms out there: Google Classroom
. The Google platform lets teachers save time by offering them a space to create a learning environment, distribute assignments, communicate, and stay organized—all in the class stream. They can also see who has or hasn't completed their homework, and provide direct, real-time feedback and grades right in the Google Classroom.
All class materials are automatically filed into Google Drive folders and students can share resources with each other and interact in the class stream or by email. It’s a complete publishing platform for the learning environment. However, internet access is essential to be able to see the information and get work done.
Moodle, the other free platform, is an open-source software learning management system designed to provide teachers, administrators and students with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalised learning environments.
I could not believe the level of organization and the degree of thoroughness of the York Region District School Boards Moodle portal when my daughter showed it to me. She was organized, on task, progressing well and excited about what the Google-based platform had provided her. To me, it made her feel even more connected to her work and responsible for her assignments that she submitted for evaluation.
Being free and open-source also assures that Moodle will continue to evolve and improve to meet the changing needs of its users. Here are a few examples of how this environment can be used:
• Provide extra practice and review exercises for listening, grammar, reading, and writing, with the capability to have video and audio files
• Offer quizzes and exams
• Store class material also accessible from home
• Provide links to other websites and resources
• Submitting assignments
• Make class announcements
• Conduct polls, surveys, and discussion forums
• Track student activity and marks
These technologies now offer parents more access to their child’s learning progress that they have been craving for. Teachers can easily keep parents in the loop without the extra work. Parents can check homework and timetables, access reporting, and engage with their child's learning.Devices That Are Affordable For Schools
To keep costs affordable for schools and parents, devices required for these tools and platforms are designed to use the Internet, and therefore don’t require the processing power to run full-blown software applications. Chromebooks
are stripped down, inexpensive laptops that don’t come loaded with a version of Windows or a Mac operating system. They run on Google’s Chrome OS, a streamlined platform with the web browser as the main feature. This provides a computing experience that’s extremely simple, very stable and more importantly, very secure. Students can also share a single Chromebook, while having a personal experience just by signing in to their personal account. Benefits From All This Technology in the Classroom
These are exciting times where we can see education progress. Having such a powerful platform to leverage and making a fleet of Chromebooks available to all students is a huge step in the right direction by using technology as an enabler in our public school system.
There has never been so much information available so readily to so many people in the history of mankind. Teachers can have more time to teach, help their students learn more independently and collaboratively, and parents can more easily get involved in their child's learning. Students can extend their learning, better manage their work and be more accountable while gaining more independence. These integrated tools work for the whole school - bringing teachers, students and parents together to help students learn more.
It has been demonstrated that education contributes to the economic prosperity and social environment of a community and society. Well-educated citizens get to work in higher level jobs, drive business development and earn more money. Therefore, investing in our children and all levels of education is a very good thing!For more information about:
Google for Education in Canada, click here
Moodle, click hereChris West,
Director of Sales, Sentia