FWSU Launches Learning Management System Commitee

Target 3 – Flexible Learning Environments. FWSU will maximize flexible learning environments by redefining the school day, promoting learning experiences that extend beyond the school classroom, and fostering creativity, innovation, and differentiated learning opportunities for all.

Action Step -Provide students with access to content, resources, and methods for learning beyond the school day and beyond the school walls.

Indicator of Success – Staff, students and community embrace the digital, social, mobile and “always on” learning styles of 21st century students.

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In response to a charge by the FWSU Board of Directors, a committee has been established to study and implement a new Learning Management System (LMS) for all FWSU schools beginning next year. A LMS, is a software that will allow students, families and teachers to communicate on single platform to achieve a seamless educational experience – sometimes referred to as a school e-portal of learning. Many teachers currently use LMS platforms with their students, but this is not a coordinated effort in our schools or across our districts.

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The committee is comprised of educators and administrators from all FWSU schools. They are Tony Hardy (GEMS), Jasmine Tremblay (FES), Mary Lynn Riggs (FWSU), Rhonda Siemons (BFA), Frank Calano (GEMS), Angelique Fairbrother (FWSU), Eric Hadd (GEMS), Dayle Payne (GEMS), Joe McSoley (BFA), Ned Kirsch (FWSU) and Vicki Pinault (BFA).

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The LMS selected will be used by all K-12 teachers in our system. It perform a variety of functions that will support students. Our students will greatly benefit from being able to access all of the valuable resources available to them at school while at home. Some of the elements that will be part of our system are:

  • The ability for parents, students, and teachers to easily access all content in one location.
  • The ability to create class rosters using our current student management system (PowerSchool)
  • The ability to upload and manage documents containing curriculum content.
  • The ability to deliver course content over a web-based interface, facilitating a remote educational experience for the instructor and student.
  • The ability to create and publish course calendars.
  • The ability to interact between students using functionalities like instant messaging, email, and forums within a protected environment, monitored by the school system.
  • The ability to establish methods for assessment and testing if needed.
  • The ability for students to maintain their e-portfolio (PLP).

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The committee began its work with the realization that many teachers in our schools have been implementing various LMS systems over the last several years. Using the appreciative inquiry process, the committee identified important elements (seen above) that we guide our exploration explore throughout the inquiry process. Twelve systems were identified and then narrowed to four using a rubric with indicators and criteria identified by the committee. The four finalist are Canvas, Schoology, JumpRope and My Big Campus

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The next phase of the process will be to survey the entire faculty to gain insight and expertise. Then at our next Inserivce, all four LMS finalist will provide webinars for all teachers to view the features and provide feedback to the committee. The committee will use the feedback to narrow our list to two finalists. At that time, the committee members (and any teacher wishing to participate) will participate in a pilot prior to making a final selection this spring. Training for trainers will occur over the summer and the system will be implemented in time for the launch of the 2015/16 school year.

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