Learning Management Systems in the Classroom.

Why Google Classroom?

As Dr. Will will tell you, Google Classroom is not a full blown LMS in the traditional sense. It does not maintain district student records, deliver report cards or even go too far beyond your own classroom. It is much more of a CMS, a Classroom Management System, for use between teacher and student, it is the ideal tool to move digital content from a teacher’s laptop to a student device.

Easy setup — Teachers set up a class in a couple of minutes, invite students and co-teachers, and then share information — assignments, announcements, and questions — in the class stream.

Less time and paper — The simple, paperless assignment, workflow allows teachers to manage student work quickly, all in one place.

Better organization — Students can see assignments on the Work page, in the class stream, or on the class calendar. All class materials are automatically filed into Google Drive folders.

Enhanced communication — Teachers can create assignments, send announcements, and start class discussions instantly. Students can share resources with each other and interact in the class stream.

Other options for K-12 Learning Management Systems.

There are currently a lot of options for LMS platforms available for K-12 schools, and while they do provide overlapping coverage in certain areas, it is not a closed circle Venn Diagram. For instance my school district uses Blackboard, Schoology, a proprietary system called Synergy as well as Google Classroom. The reasoning is they provide different levels of content delivery as well as being more applicable to different populations within the school system. Synergy keeps our grades, runs our student information database and provides a parent portal. Our foreign Language Department uses Schoology to deliver textbook content to their whole department. We use blackboard as a student login content area in our upper grade levels (although most of the schools are moving that over to google classroom), and as a teacher login resource collection area.

Schoology — Schoology is an online course management system that allows teachers to create and manage academic courses for their students. It provides teachers with a method of managing lessons, engaging students, sharing content, and connecting with other educators. There is a good amount of overlap with the others, schoology is considerably cheaper to get set up than something like blackboard, which does have more features. Check out this page for a more complete walk through.

Moodle —Is a far more open platform used for delivering online content in a class format. You are allowed to download, install and operate your own Moodle installation, a first for any LMS. Google does something similar to this, allowing school districts to operate their own domain, but not host. Moodle is well known as something whose product can vary greatly depending on the application and time spent by the instructor in the online classes creation. You can watch a 6 minute walk through below, but be advised, you would need to spend a lot more than 6 minutes setting a class up.

Blackboard — Is far more encompassing in its reach than the other 4. Blackboard allows for full course delivery, as well as general content housing, training modules and full scale video collaboration. You can manage student information on a smaller scale, many school districts only employ parts of blackboard, relying on other services to fill in the gaps. You can read more about the pros and cons of BlackBoard here, or compare and contrast it with Moodle at the bottom.