CANVAS has been the Utah standard for LMS (Learning Management Systems) for several years. CANVAS is now used in all Utah public universities and colleges. This cloud-based program is now also widely used in the western half of the United States for students in grades 6 through 12.
Quite simply, CANVAS, with its many bells and whistles, can be easily utilized to set up a basic online, blended or real time environment online for students to use either inside or outside the classroom. Students and teachers can download for FREE the respective apps on their smartphone or their tablet to easily see and edit content on their course. Students can even complete classwork on their device and upload their work directly into their CANVAS class as long as they have access to WiFi.
CANVAS many nifty time-saving features for teachers such as quizzes which CANVAS grades for you - even retake tests, speed grader for assignments and online rubrics.
This LMS can even save you time if you are using Standards Based Grading (AKA Proficiency Based Grading). CANVAS added this new feature in 2016 to give teachers the ability to use SBG inside of CANVAS. You can load your standards right into CANVAS and attach your standards to your assessments and Voila! Instantly crunched data via CANVAS software doing the math work for you!
Not sure how to set up standards based grading in CANVAS? Check out the links below to learn how to jump on SBG while using CANVAS!
#4: .Get a linked in account
When you're job hunting or looking for an easy way to showcase your stuff, Linked In can be an invaluable tool to make that happen. Most educators don't have their own website or online portfolio. Linked In is an easy way to have an online presence without the fuss of up keeping a website. Linked In is also in the PLN toolbox for making connections online. Look for groups, others with your interests or job search on Linked In. Message people who you'd like to network with.
#5: Create a youtube channel with videos
Daunted by how to create videos? The easiest way to create non-professional but still good-looking videos is to take video with your iPad and upload your video onto YouTube. If you are looking to have a real presence, create a channel. Channels are different from a personal YouTube page. Instructions are on YouTube. Channels are FREE (the best 4 letter educator word) and you can easily upload your video onto YouTube and edit them with the YouTube editor. Make sure to monetize your videos - if they're good you can end up making some extra cash.
6. Blog on academic websites:
Blogging and writing for current websites such as Edmodo can create a presence for you on the internet. Educational blogs offer a great outlet for your writing, however, keep in mind that the content you put on their blog is owned by them, not you. The benefit is more people get to notice your writing on their blog as it gets more traffic. Checking out ed blogs is a great way to see what the newest trends are in education.
The PLN, that acronym in education is one buzzword that has buzzed around our heads for the past several years. You'd like to create a PLN, but don't know where to start. When I first dove into creating my PLN, I dabbled in a myriad of places, some online and some face-to-face. Each month, I add a few new members to my PLN community. After several years, my PLN consists as a blend of people whom I have first met online, have only met online and a few whom I only network with in person. Your PLN is crafted from your ability to network with professionals. Networking has many benefits, so get out there and start creating your PLN today!
#1: Jump in an online Twitter conversation
If you don't have a Twitter account, sign up now! This is where I make the most of my networking and adding people to my PLN. The best place to start is this EdChat Calendar where you can search for Twitter educational chats by date, by subject or by time. The calendar even gives you a time zone conversion so you don't miss that awesome ed tech chat because you miscalculated by an hour (like I did one time!).
#2 Pinterest for Education
Not only is Pinterest a great resource for recipes, home decor and DIY craft ideas, its a myriad of teachers whom you can follow, repost and post your ideas on your own board. I'd suggest creating a separate account for your teacher account for ease of use and to post all of your teacher ideas in one space. Network with others, get great ideas and even use Pinterest inside your classroom!
#3 Conferences Away!
Whether near or far, a great educational conference is a good way to network and build your PLN. Network with presenters, other educators or vendors. Ask vendors if they have communities online for their teachers, as you can use this for a lesson resource and build your PLN at the same time. It's double dipping PLN! Check out this link for EdTech Conferences You Need to Know from EdSurge
Remember to use a variety of sources for your PLN. Find what works for you. The coolest part of PLN? Meeting someone FTF whom you've only networked with online!
Teach them coding for the other skills they will learn...CS for All Week brings computer science skills awareness to the forefront of education. One of the main topics we see during this campaign is the push for students to learn coding. As a coding teacher and instructional technology coach, I believe that we shouldn't teach kids code for code's sake. There's a whole world of benefits why you should teach coding in your classroom, and the main reason isn't to create programmers.
This year alone, students at my elementary school have been exposed to Scratch Jr., Code.org, Hour of Code, Swift Playgrounds, Ozobots, Sonic Pi, Beebots and KIBOS. Then why expose students to a myriad of programs and teach coding if the main goal isn't for kids to learn code? Simply put: soft skills. Kids learn more soft skills learning coding in my elementary classes than my students were able to learn in my middle school science class. Why? Isn't science based on inquiry? Absolutlely! Science's inquiry based skills are essential for learning and finding information to answer your inquiry, however, the difference lies in a few essential soft skills which students are more motivated to learn in coding than in general science class.
There are several soft skills which students develop when learning how to code: persistence, problem-solving, working well in a team and decomposition. Watching K-5 students code, here's what I've seen them develop through learning coding.
Persistence, persistence, persistence!
Students will first the coding program we are learning. Persistence is the major player soft skill within the coding world. Students will drag and drop their blocks and test their program. Does the program work? If yes, then awesome! If no, then they will need to return to their lines of code over and over again until they finally have the code correct. I've seen students work on the same level of a coding program for 15 minutes until they finally are able to put together the correct sequence of code. For a 5 or 6 year old, that's pretty heavy duty time commitment when their attention span is about 5 minutes.
Call in your friends for teamwork
When employers look for people to join their team, that new member should be able to work successfully with others in their department. Not playing nice in the sandbox can lead to not having a sandbox to work in. I did not expect the level of teamwork from my kindergarten and first graders, but every class in which I teach them coding, they are eager to work with their peers who do not understand a concept, puzzle or directional event. They are so eager, they are often found trying to complete the problem for their friend and not with their friend. Reminders to be a "navigator" and "teacher" are needed during class and often times, preloaded before the lesson. Fine-tuning the teamwork process at an early age will build students who understand how to work well within a peer group.
Problem Solving: a Step-by-Step guide
Independent problem-solving was one of the biggest stumbing blocks I viewed teaching middle school science. Having students create a hypothesis on their own demanded many hours of teaching, preloading and explanation until students were finally able to create their own hypothesis. Students learning code have a two-skill cycle: decompose and debug. Decomposing requires the student to look at each line of code and break down the lines of code to figure out which line of code is incorrect. After, students must debug and fix the problem line of code which is coding for an incorrect activity. The activity may be movement, gathering an object or a speech bubble. At first, most students are easily frustrated, however, when I show them they can build code in small increments and test the code, they quickly utilize the skill to figure out how to successfully code in a program. The more skills they pick up, the more ways a student can solve a problem.
In the End
What if a student becomes a computer programmer or ends up working in a computer science field because their interest had been sparked in coding class in elementary school? Great! They can use their skills learned in coding whether they are a nurse, farmer, technician, artist or even a computer programmer.
Leaders do not see technology as a choice, rather as a tool. Showing our children and our peers how to use our technology to be creative, not just participative will shift the paradigm of our thinking about technology.
Students are in the "nearly now" with the ability to communicate immediately with other friends using their devices. Connecting students to opportunity through their devices can shift to global connections which will give them more diverse information.
Teachers have a significant role to change the paradigm of our children's engagement with technology. As teachers, we need to utilize the student device instead of push it aside and see their technology as a hindrance. Rather, look at their device as an opportunity to