Hey everyone, this past week in our ECMP 455 online meeting we discussed Learning Management Systems (LMS), which are systems that allows for teachers to give notes, assignments, tests, etc. online via these systems.
In my Internship, I was in the Regina Catholic School Division (RCSD) which uses an LMS called HomeLogic for the purposes of giving assignments, but mainly for keeping students and parents up-to-date on the grades of the students’. This was interesting, as I had only seen a system like this once before, in my Pre-Internship, and so was still very unfamiliar with it, as I had not used anything of the sort to see my grades when I was in school. Overall it was really interesting, and I found it a good tool, but that it definitely added a lot more responsibility on the teachers to be more timely in sharing their students’ marks.
Another tool that we (my cooperating teacher and I) had the opportunity to use was Microsoft OneNote, a cloud-based application. As stated before, I had the unique opportunity to be paired with one of the few Connected Educators in the RCSD, and so had a class set of computers to use every day This allowed me to use, or at least begin to learn how to use OneNote. A teacher can use OneNote by first creating a Classroom Notebook for each of their classes, so that whatever resources or assignments they put into OneNote would be specific to the class that said resources and assignments are for. Within this Classroom Notebook, there are a few main sections where the teacher places resources; the Content Library, the Student Notebooks, and the Collaboration Space. There are other sections, such as the Teacher Only section, but they function similarly to the ones listed.
The Content Library serves like a giant filing cabinet that can be accessed by everyone within the Class Notebook but can only be edited by the Admin (Teacher). This is a great place to put resources and assignments that students can find. The Teacher Only functions like this but with only the Teacher being able to access it.
The Student Notebooks are where OneNote begins to differ from just a website or wiki. There, the teacher can place items for students and a student can only access his/her individual notebook, but can also edit the items within. This is a great place for digital assignments as students can work freely on assignments within their notebooks and only the Teacher can observe their progress. I personally used this a lot in my own teaching because instead of handing out notes every other day I would send the students notes through OneNote, saving a lot of paper if nothing else. Another perk of OneNote is that students would then be able to access these Notebooks wherever there was an internet connection, getting rid of the excuse that they forgot their notes at home or school, because they could access them wherever.
Lastly there was the Collaboration Space, a section wherein all participants can see and all participants can edit. Ideally, this is a great place for group projects that everyone can then see, but personally I had issues with OneNote being unable to support 30-some devices at a time, making the app useless, so I used this section significantly less than others.
Overall, I found that OneNote was a very useful application to have in the classroom, though I would also say that it can only successfully work if there is ratio of 1:1 for students:devices, which is not always an option within the classroom. It worked well in my classroom because the RCSD was already using Office 365, which gave each student the account and each teacher the ability to add students to the Classroom Notebooks. If you have the opportunity to use it I would say that you should try it, as there is a lot that can be done with it in a classroom.