EdTech Ideas: 7 Ways To Use Your LMS as a Digital Hub
With so much of teaching and learning—not to mention everyday life—happening online these days, it can be hard to keep everything organized. For example, an average teacher may be juggling:
- A work email platform
- A personal email platform
- One or more text and/or instant messaging systems
- Three or more social media accounts
And that's just for daily communication. Once you add in the demands of working in Google Docs and Dropbox for some items and another cloud resource for sharing MS Word suite creations, plus various other programs, managing your data and messaging starts to feel overwhelming.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way. Your LMS provides a valuable tool for streamlining your entire digital work life. By creating a single hub where you can find everything you need, you'll free up time and energy to do the work you love instead of toggling between screens and platforms.
Not sure where to get started? Try these edtech ideas to get more out of your LMS:
1. Publish Resources
Keep curriculum guides, students handbooks, and even HR documents at everyone's fingertips by uploading these resources into shared folders that all staff can access. By building a library of resources for everyone, you can make it much easier for all stakeholders to find what they need and cut down on the digital storage space required to house information across multiple platforms. Your LMS also makes it easy to provide updates and make sure everyone is working with current versions of policies, procedures, and more.
2. Flip Your Meetings
The flipped classroom is changing the way many teachers deliver content to their students, assigning videos and relevant online readings to engage with material before discussing it in the classroom. Why not apply this strategy to staff and department meetings? Consider providing documents and reading materials on a shared "meeting" module ahead of time and using your valuable time together to debate, discuss and collaborate instead of presenting information. You'll get much more out of the time, and important documents will be stored for everyone to access as needed.
3. Offer Asynchronous Professional Development
Just as your students can benefit from online learning components that allow them to access lessons from home, so can your staff. Are there important PD and other training sessions that could find a home in your LMS?
In addition to uploading documents, consider creating training modules that educators can complete on their own schedule to free up valuable time on campus to work with students or collaborate with colleagues. This is an investment in the future, as you'll be able to use your lessons and courses for years to come.
4. Encourage Collaboration
Speaking of collaboration, you can facilitate learning groups and mentoring by creating chat rooms and message boards that staff can use to keep in touch any time of day. In addition to uploading shared resources and commenting on shared lesson plans, messaging allows teachers to quickly ask each other questions and come up with new edtech ideas—even when one is up late grading papers and another is feeding a baby or catching up on Game of Thrones.
5. Share Successes
Boost morale and create a virtual newsletter at the same time by dedicating an online space for staff to publish updates about classroom happenings. With too little time in the day to touch base, this allows everyone to get a glimpse of the school as a whole and creates a supportive culture. Add photos, videos and links, and you have an engaging bulletin board that can easily form the basis of your school's email and social media announcements to families as well.
6. Get Competitive
Your LMS has plenty of ways to create quizzes and share assessment data, but you can also use these features to "gamify" aspects of work life to engage staff in a little friendly competition. For example, if you have a lot of paperwork at the beginning of the year, track completion and offer a prize to the first 10 people who get their items turned in. You can also encourage volunteer hours or health initiatives like tracking steps per day or pounds lost to build community. Try creating a leaderboard for ongoing initiatives to keep the competition fun.
7. Schedule and Plan
One of the best features of your learning management system is the calendar tool. This is a great way to create a full picture of everything going on in your building or across your district at any given time—and to prevent the frustration of double-booked meeting spaces or packed nights that make it impossible to get to the school play, a parent conference, and the varsity gymnastics meet. You may consider color-coding or other ways to keep events organized, but an online, instantly updated and shared master calendar is a must-have for any organization
There's no right or wrong way to use your LMS—what works for one teaching and learning community may be different than what works for another. As you explore features and implement new learning tools for students, pause to consider how that same tool could work for teachers and administrators. Chances are good that there's a parallel use that can make your staff just as happy as your students are to take learning and collaboration into their own hands.
What do you think of these edtech ideas? Tell us on Twitter @Schoology