Using an LMS with Little Learners
We often think that little learners can’t use an LMS because they may not be able to read what is posted or since they don’t get assessed like older students. However, little learners should not be underestimated. Our role is to offer students opportunities to learn in a fun and engaging way, to provide parents with access to be actively involved, while allowing teachers to duplicate themselves for students and parents alike.
Engaging, Fun, AND Educational
Learning can be fun and engaging. An LMS should be able to be manipulated in such a way by teachers to engage their young learners by allowing them to make their courses/class visual, engaging, and stimulating.
One way to do this is to make sure they provide images that are colorful and interactive, and that reading isn’t necessary for students to navigate the course. Being able to embed other websites that allow students to remain in one location, not having them redirected outside of the LMS is incredibly important. Students, especially the youngest learners, need ONE location to respond to prompts, find resources, and interact with websites. BrainPOP jr, Flipgrid, Padlet are just a few examples of interactive websites that can be easily embedded and that students can easily interact. Teachers from K–5 cite juggling multiple digital tools as a clear obstacle to student learning. If all the digital tools can be housed in one spot, it makes using these tools within the classroom manageable.
Home to School Communication is Key
An LMS is just as important for parents as it is for the students, especially young ones. Keeping parents in the loop with a calendar and updates that allows them to get notifications is vital to home-school communication. Whether it be a field trip or color days, give parents a head’s up and/or electronic forms to fill out for those most important events. This communication carries over to when parents need to reach out to a teacher as well. Parents don’t want to have to look up an email in order to reach their child’s teacher. If they are connected to their LMS they should be able to message within the system with no exchange of numbers.
Maximize the Teacher
Lastly, teachers need an LMS where they can post their own content for both students and parents. Teachers can post a screencast of directions for students in a collaborative station, so that when they are working in their small group instruction, the other students can rewatch the video to make sure they understand what to do and not interrupt the teacher. This allows the teacher to duplicate themselves digitally within the classroom. This goes a long way for parents as well. Nearly a quarter of teachers that teach in K–2 classrooms cite parent involvement and/or lack of understanding as an obstacle to student learning. Often, when their child comes home with work or a project and a parent doesn’t understand it, it will create disgruntlement. If a teacher can direct a parent to a specific location in the LMS to watch a short video that clarifies the content or project, it helps create a clear line of communication between home and school.
Our youngest learners can benefit from a robust LMS and learn to be independent, confident students. Parents can feel confident that they are actively involved in their child’s education while knowing they have a means to communicate quickly and effectively with their child’s teacher. Teachers can simplify class instructions and duplicate themselves by posting short videos for students and parents alike. For more ways that an LMS can engage and help elementary learners, consider coming to my session at Schoology NEXT!