Having A LMS Connects Educators Throughout Districts
Guest post from Ken Royal.
Here are 6 great reasons for having a common learning management system (LMS) for easily connecting educators, students, school leaders, and even parents throughout a school district.
- In most schools educators at one grade level very rarely get a chance to talk or work with colleagues below or above their grade level. While it may happen for a short time at the beginning or end of a new school year as a way of introducing students, that is most likely very little more than an hour or so.
- Teachers rarely get a chance to work with colleagues at other schools in a district unless it is during a district workshop day. It can happen regularly, and even daily with a district LMS in place.
- Teachers almost never get to work with fellow educators at different grade levels on collaborative projects. While it’s possible to have a high school student work as a buddy of an elementary student for the day, a lasting academic collaboration between widely different age group students usually doesn’t happen. It can happen with a common district LMS.
- An LMS allows educators to connect, as they would in a personal learning network (PLN), sharing, understanding, and friendships can be built across all grade levels. Lessons can be modified to work across mapped curriculum boundaries, too. Connecting can help avoid misunderstandings as well.
- One of the most basic reasons for having an LMS is the education importance of sharing what works, which goes beyond the wondering. Every educator, student, school leader, as well as parent can know and learn what’s happening everywhere in a district. In that way, a district can bring everything and everyone together.
- An LMS also helps avoid drama and keeps the education conversation on connecting, sharing, and learning. Here’s an example:
In a district without an LMS, a seventh grade language arts educator was teaching a poetry unit. Rhyming couplets, simple two-line poem, were used as examples. The students understood how to write them immediately, and were spurred on by fellow classmate compliments to read them and write more. In this particular educator’s classroom rhyming couplets were a hit.
Most educators know that this sort of learning avalanche is a teacher’s dreams come true. What was supposed to be a one or two day part of a poetry unit had a much longer life of its own for students in this particular classroom. Rhyming couplets became a touch-base for other instruction, and not just during the poetry unit. Rhyming couplets appeared in social studies, writing prompts, daily journals and math class, too.
At some point the language arts teacher mentioned William Shakespeare as a famous author who wrote entire plays using rhyming couplets. The next day, three students brought copies of Romeo and Juliet to class. Other Shakespeare copies followed—more for show than actual reading cover to cover, but they came to school. Rhyming couplets was a positive for this class, the students, the teacher, and the parents at home, too. Unfortunately, teachers at the high school, who had learned through some meandering grapevine that a seventh grade teacher was teaching Shakespeare and using Romeo and Juliet, didn’t appreciate it. That specific subject was curriculum mapped for ninth grade, and teaching any part of it was crossing the line. The high school educators lodged a complaint; the seventh grade teacher met with his administrator, and was told to stay away from anything that wasn’t mapped for grade seven—especially anything that involved Shakespeare.
The seventh grade teacher sent a letter to the ninth grade educators at the high school explaining the situation, as well as apologizing for any misunderstanding. They never, ever worked together, but imagine if they had. Knowing isn’t complete without sharing.
In this case, the stepping-on-toes could have easily been avoided if a good and useful LMS was in place for educators throughout a district to work together. In all the drama the true lesson and learning was lost. These students had learning fun with rhyming couplets, and wanted to learn more. That was certainly obvious. Without an LMS in place, you can only wonder what teachers at the same grade level, who had only covered one or two days on the subject thought. What about their students? What if they all had connected? It would have been possible if they had an LMS place fostering personal learning networks across grade levels throughout schools and district.
Ken Royal is an education writer, editor, and social media consultant with many years’ experience teaching at all levels and writing/editing for major education publications. To follow more of Ken’s writing, subscribe to PowerSchool’s blog below.