Product focus: LMS
With personalized learning on the rise, more K12 educators are looking for learning management systems that easily identify content based on individual student needs.
Platforms can pinpoint specific concepts students don’t understand, allowing instructors to help struggling learners more effectively by focusing on the areas that need extra attention.
Some systems can even identify gifted and talented learners who aren’t challenged enough, allowing them to skip subjects they already understand. Developers are also adapting LMS interfaces to accommodate Just-In-Time Teaching, a popular method that many instructors are incorporating into lesson plans.
Schools are under pressure to find systems that exceed the expectations of students as well as parents. This means that schools must use technology that is easy to navigate—regardless of what device the user is operating.
Jupiter iO is a fully integrated LMS, gradebook, analytics system and SIS that allows educators to create benchmark assessments. Teachers can test students online, analyze results without any data entry or importing, and track student progress in real time.
They can also develop online lessons to meet each student’s individual needs, and keep students and parents up-to-date on grades and homework. Students can complete tests, lessons and assignments on computers, tablets or smartphones.
An all-in-one LMS, the itslearning platform connects teachers, students, parents and district leaders to curriculum resources, instructional strategies, objective-based lesson plans and assessments.
The platform includes nearly 2 million open education resources and more than 14,000 collections of additional content, such as images, videos, games, textbooks and questions. Users can access dozens of peer-reviewed courses in math, science, English and other subjects, and can compare student progress by school, course and topic.
This student information and learning management system was developed specifically for small to mid-size schools. It connects administrators, teachers, students and parents to attendance information, grades, class schedules and assessments.
Twine users can make communitywide announcements, create correspondence groups for schools clubs, coordinate student needs and personalize schedules. Twine requires no technical staff time to implement.
Districts can meet ESSA’s family engagement requirements—which call for parents to be involved and consulted in education planning—with new updates on Brightspace, a cloud-based learning platform.
Parents can access their children’s work, and communicate with teachers on a new activity feed. The feed allows teachers to share activities and information using attachments, Google Drive, web links and school activities. Students can also access an ePortfolio, where they can share completed projects, assessments, links and media.
Blackboard Classroom includes high-definition videoconferencing, interactive videos and access to open education resources from CK-12 and Khan Academy. It can be integrated with Google, OneDrive, Dropbox and Box, and users can track and analyze classes in real time.
This LMS can also sync with student information systems, minimizing the amount of time district IT members have to spend on integration challenges.
Google Drive Integration
Recent Google Drive updates allow students and educators to more easily search, browse and use Google Docs directly within Schoology.
Using Google Drive Integration, teachers can distribute Google Doc copy to every student in class, place grades and feedback within Google Docs, and monitor student progress in real time without leaving the Schoology program. Students can also submit assignments with a single click.
This system comes with a virtual classroom that includes a message center for classroom announcements, group discussions and instant chats. Teachers can track student progress and personalize curriculum by adding videos, links and detailed notes.
Students can have text in the virtual classroom read aloud, can switch color schemes to help with organization, and can change course layout options. LMS tutorial videos are included.
LMS Version 8.0
LMS Version 8.0—which works on multiple devices—allows users to quickly build a course with lesson plans and goals. Updates include table improvements such as built-in pagination and sortable columns.
It also has a better calendar that can display multiple events per day, and a dashboard with new options, including a page to view earned certificates and course progress. Submissions no longer have to be downloaded from Dropbox and files can be imported from and exported to Excel.