The State of the Union is strong! We have had a great 1st quarter with Canvas and Chromebooks. I thought I would take this week to highlight some of the great features teachers have been using and absolutely love! Although we have a long way to go our level of buy-in at all levels is rather impressive and speaks to the level of professionalism of our HS faculty!
Rubrics are the newest in our arsenal. Teachers are loving the variety. Our English department is loving the option to use ranges since that is what the state standards require. Social Studies teachers are loving the free form rubrics where they can create custom comments for each assignment. We will be running a rubrics session at our November PD to allow them to share their rubric love as well as dive deeper as we continue to explore the enormous quiver that Canvas provides us.
SIS integration has been the number one item that all instructors love. Our Learning Support and Phys Ed departments will really love this feature since they tend to have multiple sections in the grade book. This will allow them to post one time and have it spray out into their 20+ sections in Skyward, saving them enormous amounts of time. On that note, we do have two known issues with our Skyward Sync. We have seen an unchecking of our Student and Parent Access. Once we reset our Skyward assignment display defaults to "always post" then the issue seemed to subside. The other issue is that for a small number the assignments seem to sync successfully, but somehow the assignment end up in the deleted area of Skyward requiring the teacher to 'restore' the assignment. So far though, we LOVE the sync to SIS option! It really has saved our instructors' time with grading.
Quizzes/Quizzes.Next has been another great find for our instructors. The ability to give warm ups and exit tickets has allowed teachers and students to get valuable feedback in a timely manner. I really believe the timely manner of it is what is extremely valuable for all involved. We need to use assessments for learning, so that we know what in fact students are learning. Some teachers, such an our online and hybrid teachers, have been using the quizzes as actual summative assessments. Our Chemistry teachers are even working on giving their final through Quizzes in Canvas! Our online Ecology teacher loves the ability to use Question groups so that no two tests are the same, allowing her to create equal but different questions. We are eager to have Quizzes.Next offer more functionality like partial grading for Categorization, Ranking, and Multiple answers. Also the ability to offer access codes has been helpful in preserving integrity for 504 and I.E.P. students who get extended time.
Kami has been another great tool teachers are using to make use less papers and waste less time photocopying. We are able annotate PDFs digitally. This will have benefits for note taking as well as worksheets and even professional documents. The functionality of the free version is limited, but effective. We need to spend time helping the students understand how to organize their Google Drive and how to make sure they save their annotations before their final submission, but Canvas + Kami integration is in the works so hopefully as more teachers use it we can think about asking for subscriptions to help alleviate the need for paper unnecessarily.
Our students were recently surveyed and they are so appreciative of their teachers really diving head first into make more interactive lessons with less paper. While not always doing things digitally is the answer; it is nice that we decrease paper when it makes sense. Technology is good in moderation and it will take us a bit to understand where it makes sense and where it is necessary to have paper. But for now it really has been amazing to see how our staff and students are really moving into the 21st century with all of this new technology. Eventually we will begin to look at models like ISTE and SAMR to help us augment learning in our classes!