The start of a new school year means new pencils and notebooks and now, at one Ohio school district, taking a course in how to use the itslearning learning platform.
Starting this fall, all Grade 9-12 students at Edgewood City Schools, a school district in Trenton, Ohio, will be required to take a course in how to use itslearning. The course is the brain-child of Robin Phares, the Technology Integration Specialist at Edgewood City Schools.
"It´s just an introduction on how to use the learning management system. Our students have never used one before," she says.
All Edgewood students new to itslearning will be required to take a course in the platform that was designed by Robin Phares, the Technology Integration Specialist at Edgewood City Schools.
itslearning will be introduced to 950 students in Grades 9-12 this fall. Before starting their studies, students will be required to take the student course, which will be available on itslearning. "I want my students to be able to log on and be ready to go. Students need to be proficient in using itslearning, but teachers do not want to use class time to train their students in how to use itslearning," Robin explains.
This fall Edgewood will start its second year with 1:1 technology where every student has 24/7 access to an Android tablet. They decided the one thing that was missing from their first year initiative was a learning management system (LMS). The district had been using itslearning for online professional development and decided the platform was the perfect vehicle to guide its high school students and teachers towards success. It will be necessary for all high school students to have competence using the platform, Robin explains.
Common Core Standards stipulate use of learning platform
Part of the reason the school chose itslearning was to comply with the Ohio´s New Learning Standards. Teachers can easily host courses that are aligned to the Common Core Standards, which the state of Ohio has adopted. The nation-wide standards aim to prepare students for university and a career. "Most colleges and universities use a learning management system. So, in compliance with the Ohio New Learning Standards, our students need to be career and college ready. itslearning was a perfect tool for them to get used to using a learning platform," Robin says.
After Edgewood teachers were trained to use itslearning, the discussion turned to how to train the students to use the platform. They threw around ideas, including convening an assembly and training all the students at once or training them in small groups at a time. "Then we got the idea of modeling what we want them to do on the platform. Let´s make a course on itslearning," she says.
Online course teaches students to reply to online discussions and submit assignments
Students will log on to itslearning to take the course. They will learn how to personalize bulletins on the course dashboard, how to access the grade book and how to navigate the tree structure. They will also learn how to submit an assignment and how to reply on a discussion forum. "They have to be able to attach a file. That´s so important. If they can´t do that, they will not succeed. The course will cover everything on itslearning," Robin says.
The ‘final piece of the puzzle’
Edgewood is a 1:1 school, meaning all high school students do their schoolwork on an android tablet. Robin says itslearning is the "final piece of the puzzle" in the school's education technology offerings. "We´re hoping itslearning will be what has been missing and we hope it will have a great impact," she says, adding she expects 80 per cent of students will benefit from the course while the remaining 20 per cent will require follow-up.
When the course is available this fall, all students in Grades 9-12 will be required to enroll, as none of them will have used an LMS. Robin says the course will be a valuable resource at Edgewood, which has signed a five-year contract with itslearning, as future Grade 9 students can take it to familiarize themselves with the learning platform. They are also planning on keeping the course live for new students and students who need to review the process of using the itslearning system.
We want to hear from you! Is it important that your students know how to use itslearning before they use it in the classroom? How do you train your students to use itslearning? We want to hear from you, so please leave a comment in the field below.
Posted on Tue, May 21, 2013
by Mark Macdonald