Creating Collaborative, Creative, and Active Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and Learning Management Systems (LMS)!
"The number one benefit of educational technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative … productive … learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential." - Steve Ballmer
Get your copy of Hacking Digital Learning, The 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!
It is important we help our students create meaningful messages and learn to effectively collaborate and respect their peers. This is best taught when an adult is able to guide online behavior and interactions in a learning management system (LMS) or virtual learning environment (VLE). Virtual learning communities enable every student to share their thoughts, ideas, and creativity with their peers in multiple formats, such as text, video, audio, and embedded media. Students are motivated to share more when they see feedback from their classmates, teachers, and parents. These platforms are online and accessible 24 hours, 7 days a week on multiple devices (computers, tablets, mobile devices and Chromebooks). Below are slides, resources, and bookmarks to help you get your students to learn effectively on the virtual learning environments (VLEs) you create for them. This way you can facilitate and guide your students to make positive choices when they interact online. Find the slides, tips and resources for my presentation, Creating Collaborative, Creative, and Virtual Learning Environments!
Free Learning Management Systems (LMS)
- Seesaw is the student engagement platform and digital portfolio tool I use with my elementary students. The free version allows teachers to set up 10 classes managed by 2 teachers. Students express their creativity, collaborate and complete tasks with a variety of tools, including the ability to draw, add audio, create videos, add text, take photos, and upload work. Families and peers can leave comments. Teachers can communicate privately with parents in multiple languages.
- Google Classroom is a favorite with teachers, because it is quick and easy to set up and integrates with various web tools and apps. Teachers can create classes, distribute assignments, grade and send feedback, and see everything in one place.
- Edmodo is another safe platform that enables teachers to share content, distribute assignments and quizzes, award digital badges, and quickly communicate with students and parents. Students can respond to each other’s work and
- Canvas is a learning management system that allows teachers to create courses, create quizzes, deliver assignments, set up online discussions, and monitor student progress, absences, and more.
- Moodle is an open source learning management system you install on your own server. Moodle offers several free features, such as the ability to create discussions, quizzes, assignments, surveys, and more! Grade and send feedback.
- Check out your LMS and VLE to see what tools and features already support collaboration and creativity. Does your VLE have forums, offer badges, or allow you to embed?
- If you are deciding on a VLE, consider the following. What are your students’ ages? Some platforms only allow 13+. Will it be private or public? Does it have the ability for synchronous and asynchronous teaching? What is your connection? What is your access and your students’ access outside school? It is frustrating to only have a Learning Management System (LMS) or VLE accessible when you are on campus. You, your students and their parents should be able to access the VLE outside of class. What is your class size? Some platforms will be free for only a certain number of students. Platforms like Moodle require server space.
- Get a foundation in pedagogy and instructional practices that support digital collaboration and literacy. Take my accredited online graduate course with EdtechnologySpecialists!
- Get students to use digital tools to create interactive mindmaps, multimedia presentations, digital stories, comics, games, blogs, scavenger hunts, videos, podcasts, digital fliers, posters, infographics, and more!
- Discover which tools your students already have access to or know how to use by surveying them. Here’s my student Google Survey template to get you started.
- Need the right tool for your project? Check out Edshelf.com, a free search engines for teacher recommended digital tools.
- Create a community with digital icebreakers. Find a list of digital icebreakers I’ve created and a presentation here!
- Get students to social bookmark and curate with free tools, like Wakelet, Diigo, Pearltrees, Livebinders, and Google Keep. Find more resources here!
- Students can create eportfolios with social bookmarking tools and as a final project create eportfolio presentations in which they reflect on the learning for each module/unit. Check out my students’ reflective eportfolio presentations here!
- Give them learning missions you grade with digital badges. Check out my bookmarks for creating digital badges.
- You need to get parents on board with your technology integration. Get them to sign Responsible/Acceptable Use policies. Find example templates and other resources for engaging parents in my survival tips for engaging parents!
- Read about the impact of these ideas in my course, Bit.ly/intefshelly.