I was recently asked by my principal to create a secure storage area where teachers and staff can access documents such as the School Policies, Lesson Plan Templates, Handbook, Class & Testing Schedules, Rosters, Calendars, etc. I looked at using a webpage as the storage area and there were many choices (Google Sites, Weebly, WikiSpaces, etc), I also considered using a password secured Google Folder in GAFE. After talking to my instructional specialists at the district level they suggested using the Learning Management System (LMS) Canvas.
Canvas is created as a secure storage area where teachers (and students) must log in with their district ID's. This LMS is also where you can manipulate Canvas to be the host for your website. Therefore, the security is automatically present! Wow...first requirement complete without much work!
The second requirement would be an ease of access to these documents. I learned how to create buttons and link them to each document (a canvas page) where staff can read and learn at their own pace. Staff will have access to the 'Canvas House' in the navigation column on the left of the Canvas screen. All they need to know is their log-in information for the cloud space housing Canvas as well as other Apps and important links to grading materials. The ease of use will be facilitated by an introductory course to Canvas during the first few workdays of the school year. Videos and Courses will also be available for those who need to work on their own time.
The third requirement is for the teachers to be able to take documents and make them their own, i.e. Lesson Plan Templates, School Calendar and other documents they can take and customize to their own curriculum and schedule. This is where Google comes in. All of the documents can be housed in Google Drive (a secure location within GAFE in our district) and the staff can choose to view the original or make a copy and put it in their own Google folder to edit.
With these requirements in mind I set off on my journey to create a 'HOUSE' for our staff in Canvas. Not only will I be able to create this safe home for our documents but I will be mastering different sections of Canvas as I progress through the construction of this course. If you want to learn more about my progress and/or the completed 'house' feel free to send me an email.