As the education world continues to evolve so does the K-12 classroom. There are now terms out there like flipped classroom and blended learning, but what can these strategies do for your district? In this blog, we will discuss 5 reasons why you should consider implementing an LMS. (And no, we are not talking about Google Classroom. We are talking about a fully-functional district-wide LMS!)
Prepare Your Students for the Future
Your students are counting down the days until graduation, but will they be prepared for what they will face next? The more exposure your students have with an LMS now, the better off they will be for their future endeavors, whether that is college or the workforce. At this point, almost 100% – if not all -colleges and universities in the U.S. are utilizing an LMS. There has also been rapid growth of LMS usage within the corporate world as it adjusts to the millennial generation entering the workforce. Becoming acquainted with an LMS in K-12 education provides an easier transition into the future while also allowing students to form a foundation for self-paced and self-motivated education.
Flip the Classroom
Flipping the classroom allows teachers to maximize their time in the classroom and also better engage students. With an LMS, students can be introduced to content prior to entering the classroom, making it more likely for students to have questions and thus easier to encourage engagement in the classroom. Students can also break out into small groups as the teacher delivers content through the LMS, allowing for more of a student-centered classroom rather than a teacher-centered classroom.
One of the pushbacks we have heard is that students have limited access to wifi at home. If your students have limited access to internet, using the Moodle Mobile App allows your students to download their work while at school and complete the assignments while offline. When the student enters back into a stronger wifi area, homework can then be submitted.
Save Time by Automating Processes
How many hours are spent each semester grading your student’s schoolwork, then transferring these grades from one system to another? With an LMS like Moodle, teachers are able to cut down on the amount of manual labor because they can automate these processes with automatic grading within Moodle with tools like the quiz/test feature. Furthermore, students are able to receive more immediate, detailed feedback on their submissions as grading is streamlined through the platform.
Also, here at eThink, we are integration specialists. Whenever possible we look at integrating with other systems, such as the Student Information System or Google Apps for Education, to help increase efficiencies. One of our favorite lines from a happy customer is: “Utilizing the LMS has saved me 40 hours per semester.” That’s a week’s worth of work!
Blended Learning Leads to More Interactions
One of the misconceptions about blended learning is that it will lead to less student-teacher interactions. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Gone are the days where a student can duck their head or hide in the back of the classroom when the teacher asks the class a question and calls on one student to respond. Now with the discussion forum feature, a teacher can post a question from last night’s homework while in the classroom and require that all students respond, thus increasing active participation. Students can also be broken out into groups to complete an activity hosted online, allowing the teacher to circle the room and interact with students more closely.
Utilizing an LMS like Moodle can help increase communication across all aspects of your district including: teachers and students, students and parents, parents and teachers, teachers and administrators, and teacher-to-teacher communication.
Moodle has a great chat feature that can allow all aspects of your K-12 district to communicate with each other. eThink has also created a parent role within the LMS allowing for the parents to better involved in their children’s academic success. Furthermore, teachers are now able to share information, including best practices and lesson plan content, with their colleagues right within the system. Lastly, administrators can empower teachers by offering professional development courses and sharing assets within the online platform. (See how the New Jersey Department of Education uses Moodle to train educators across the state here.)
Through eThink’s customized reporting, administrators can see which teachers are excelling at incorporating blended learning into their classrooms and can then empower these teachers to share their strategies with colleagues. For example, teacher X may be doing a great job with discussion forums and can now lead a session on how he/she has been using the discussion forum within the classroom.
As you can see, these are just a handful of ways you can benefit from incorporating an LMS into your learning strategy in the K-12 classroom. The main advantages are the increase of communication and engagement that blended learning offers – not just with students in the classroom, but with parents, teachers, and administrators across your K-12 district – as well as the increased efficiencies, including more immediate feedback to students and less manual labor for teachers. Using an LMS inside and outside of the K-12 classroom presents the opportunity to meet students where they are – online!