Today, I hosted a teacher feedback event as our district looks at two potential learning management system choices — Canvas or Schoology. It would be easy for me to make a recommendation for one over the other without getting teacher feedback or buy-in. However, this is a system that is used hundreds of times per hour by my teachers and thousands of times per hour by our students… If they are going to spend that much time and that many clicks in a site, I want to know it will work for them. So, I have been making a concerted effort to involve my key stakeholders in this process.
Given that we have just finished up our preparations for our AdvancEd external review, I wanted to be sure that we had a casual environment to relax and entertain some new ideas. In consultation with my student help desk staff, we decided on a menu themed around the LMS acronym, which we re-appropriated to lemonade and meatball subs from learning management system.
During our lunch periods, our student help desk team developed a 10-minute pitches of each system and answered questions as they gave their tours. During non-luna periods, I did much of the same. We were looking for first impressions, likes and questions of each system. I really enjoyed the competitiveness that students brought to the presentation. While I need to be impartial during this feedback-gathering process, they went all-in.
In general, teachers saw the benefit of having an LMS that is accessible to all of the students affected. We talked a good deal about whether middle school students (who are not our own) could handle the text-heavy design Canvas. Math and science teachers really pushed us into detail on equation editors, which my ELA background would have overlooked. Overall, I’m very pleased with the discussions that came up and feel more informed to make a decision with teacher input… next up: pitching these systems to our student council!