16 Feb 2016

Here's what's happening in tech integration! Last week students from Pearson 6th Grade Center and West Junior High and Kindergarten teachers from Jackson and Sun Path presented to parents, teachers, and community members at the Referendum Update Open House to demonstrate ways we are using technology to enhance student learning. Middle level students gave live demonstrations about using green screens, collecting data in science class, coding, programming, and using Notability and Canvas. K teachers presented Osmo, Book Creator, and Seesaw to illustrate creative and innovative uses of iPads in K-1 classrooms across the district. It was an exciting night for students to demonstrate 21st Century learning in Shakopee! Read the January 2016 Special Edition CommUNITY newsletter for a Referendum Update.

Here are more highlights:

  • Pearson students are using HSTRY to create Civil War timelines.
  • 7th grade science students at West JH are starting genius hour explorations.
  • Kindergartners at Eagle Creek and Sun Path used Book Creator for Project Lead the Way science projects on body structures and functions. 
  • Sweeney 1st grade teachers are appsmashing without reservation, using the camera app, DoInk, and Seesaw to finalize a reader's theater green screen project.
  • Kindergartens recorded videos retelling stories (Red Oak) and explaining the writing process (Jackson). 
  • West Junior High counselors and school psychologist rolled out a student support course in Canvas.

Read the latest Catching Creativity for details, photos, and videos. 

29 May 2014

Exciting news! The Technology Design Team recently selected Canvas as the best available Learning Management System (LMS) on the market that fits the needs of our school district. Check out this video to get a quick explanation of Canvas.

Here are a few commonly asked questions that many staff members have been asking about.

How was this decision reached?

Our Digital Learning Coaches vetted available products, met with vendors, discussed with administrators from other districts, and then suggested a short list of three platforms: Canvas, Schoology, and itslearning. From there, the Technology Design Team (comprised of representatives from many subject areas, grade levels, and buildings) met with these three companies to select the best platform for Shakopee Schools. We also received detailed feedback from current high school seniors who attended all three presentations. There was a clear consensus amongst both groups that Canvas was the LMS for us. Pending board approval and additional work by the Technology Design Team, more information will be provided to all staff throughout the summer and early next fall.

What’s an LMS?

  • LMS stands for Learning Management System. Examples of LMSs are Schoology, Blackboard, Edmodo, Canvas, D2L, Moodle, etc. They are used to distribute and grade class content, assignments, assessments, host discussion threads, keep track of due dates, and much more!
  • Why do we need one? What are the features?
  • There are a lot of benefits to using an LMS which can simplify the lives of teachers and students.
  • You can create discussion threads based on class objectives.
  • All assignment files can be in one place for students.
  • Attach rubrics, standards, and objectives to specific assignments and assessments.
  • Canvas supports traditional grading practices and standards-based grading.
  • Professional development could easily take place outside of school hours for additional CEUs while still sitting in our PJs at home.
  • You can track your student progress, as well as when they’ve viewed your assignment or correspondence.
  • An LMS can provide a platform to gather formative assessment data--it will even grade for you!
  • Not only can assessments be grading automatically, you can provide feedback and suggestions if they get a question wrong.
  • Grade assignments using annotations and comments quickly, easily, and paperlessly.
  • Integrate 3rd party programs into one easy login area, i.e. Google Drive, Turnitin.
  • Differentiate curriculum efficiently by allowing students to progress through your course at their own pace and assign content to specific student groups.
  • Provide video conferencing as well as video or audio comments on assignments.
  • Quickly assign peer reviewers to have students give each other feedback.
  • Completely customize your curriculum!

How is this different from Infinite Campus? Will Canvas replace Infinite Campus?

Infinite Campus will be used for attendance, grade reporting at the end of each quarter and semester, registration, paying lunch accounts, and more. Canvas can be used by teachers and students in a more interactive way. The Technology Design Team will be making decisions in July on what teachers will post in Infinite Campus compared to Canvas and determine what we feel needs to be a part of our standard practice here in Shakopee Schools.

Will we be trained on using it?

Yes! The Tech Design Team is meeting this summer and will be developing a professional development plan. However, we have people in the district that are using our chosen LMS, Canvas, and have done much training on their own. They find it very easy to use. Canvas also provides extensive guides, multiple videos, and customer support. Ultimately, as a district we want to support you. In addition to district staff development, your Digital Learning Coaches are extremely excited about the use of this platform and are happy to meet with you or your PLC. We can examine how our LMS might streamline workflow and allow you to maximize your student contact time.

What are the expectations of use?

You will not be required to have Canvas up and running for Fall of 2014. The Tech Design Team will meet this summer to consider the role of Canvas, our SchoolWires websites, and Infinite Campus to determine the best way to utilize Canvas across the district. Canvas will bring many new capabilities that will make teaching and learning easier, more organized, and more efficient. Schools that utilize LMS platforms report higher student organization, the ability to have better record keeping and management, increased student engagement, better communication with students and parents, and less paper shuffling.

Initially, we know that we will have some teachers who will want to dive right in. Awesome! You also have the option of sticking to the professional development roll-out schedule.

Do I need to be ready to use this next fall?

The short answer: NO! You will not be expected or required to use Canvas next fall (2014). The Tech Design Team will determine expectations and devise a viable timeline for implementation that will include training and on-going support.

Okay, cool! When can I get in to test it out?

Once the school board approves the selection of Canvas, we will be moving to the Enterprise version. Your work that you’ve created will not be lost, and can be incorporated into our district version. Contact a DLC to learn more and get help trying it out!

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