Instcon 2019: K12 Users Group Takeaways

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey everyone! 

It was great to meet with you all at InstructureCon and have the chance to collaborate on some really awesome topics. I want to say thank you those who participated and shared your ideas, it made for some great conversations. Below are the notes from the meeting (as best we could for having several different tables with note takers. Unfortunately not everyone was credited for their comments, we apologize, we could have done a better job being on the same page with our note taking method). 

Here are the questions that were asked:

  1. How are you getting your new faculty up to speed and on board with Canvas? What kind of success have you seen with your training plan? What have you had to change or tweak?

  • HCPS - Face to Face sessions, Budget cuts have gotten in the way. Built an orientation course, landing page, 12 modules, learn how to create Canvas Quizzes. Custom tool for sandboxes 
    • Onboarding and Orientation - Onboarding is for teachers Covers the Basics, this will start us off, Orientation is for Students and Parents.  Built a sandbox, teachers can create as many Sandboxes without actually destroying real courses. Teachers attend for county wide professional day, communities for every Content teachers. 
    • Some blueprinting is done, lots of Content is delivered to the teachers.  The teachers prefer a blueprint as a team, and then can decide as a team what they like and how they use it.  
  • Beaverton - Stipend out Canvas facilitators to help out at the schools.  They will create a student orientation piece that goes to all the courses, goal is to push more of the bigger steps.  Converting off of Google Classroom. 
    • Canvas Ninja in 3 steps - and you will know exactly what you are doing. 
  • Oshkosh - Onboarding Class that teachers have to take, gets them started, a bit involved and then moved to growing with Canvas, and have now updated to a .5 version.  All teachers in Secondary will be using Canvas. Have not added badging yet. Want to get involved in Badging. This will be the gradebook of record. Minimized some of the requirements 
    • Level up all the courses .5 beginner, then 1.0 moderate and 1.5 for more advanced. 2.0 even more.  
    • Use BP’s to have a second sandbox.  Added some simple content and already use some of the items and information for it.  New teachers will get these.  

  • Springfield - Brought in Canvas prior to 1:1 and started with Online, then moved to PD across the district.  Tiering the PD, a number of coaches across the District - Canvas, Google, Digital Citizenship. With in the first hour of their employment they are in Canvas and getting started. 
    • Canvas Catalog - 15,000 people in a course - 
    • Digital Coaches in the building.  Stipend about 200 teachers across the district/system.  The innovators are the leaders and get this stipend. 3.5 days with team and then 3.5 days that are in the building.  Blended Learning Mentor Piece - Badging and Certification happening in the District.  
    • Bootcamp, three day bootcamp.  Day 1 here’s where you need to go and what you will be using.  ]
  • Beth Crook - St. Andrews School: Skype Sessions with specific topics.  Start with the basics and go from there. Anyone who hasn’t used it group it.  Uses student buy-in to put pressure on teachers.  
  • Kathleen Stephany - Oshkosh: Canvas Pathways course (Canvas is optional.  2020 school year, Canvas will be mandatory 6-12). Canvas Resources class they use for PD in each building (state testing is coming up, here is a module). 
  • Brett Lettiere - Argo Community HS: No turn over with teachers.  Teachers create blueprints together. Leveling up- one instructional coach- works with teachers.  2-3 paid workshops throughout the summer and then throughout the year.  
  •     Induction week – 4 days for new hires before anyone else
  •     Canvas course – procedural intro to training course, sync to SIS
  •     Growing with Canvas available to all à get people started
  •     Cohorts -> some are 1:1, some are not,
  •     2-3k new teachers every year -> not everyone is pushed to use an LMS – due to state model – principal decides how much to use it; Kung Fu Canvas -> split into 6 courses and then you earn a badge and add to professional growth plans to get more money
  •     Small conferences that happen -> 4 teachers on special assignment
  •     Different teachers want to learn in different ways – put their own training in Canvas so they learn by default
  •     Onboarding employees – all the new teachers are in there for Canvas courses
  •     Lunch and learns / Canvas and coffee
  •     Principals meetings – show them the tool and what’s possible
  •     Including it in walkthrough documentation and teacher evaluation
  •     Starting with middle school and growing up
  •     Struggle: belief that Canvas is “too hard” for younger kids – need buy in from K-3 environment
  •     K-5 Pre-conference: those kids understand icons – teach them how to use media recorder so they submit voice or video – they don’t need to be readers
  •   K-3 templates – they help a lot too
  • Onboarding Principals and Admin - Build a PLC for every building - this is everything you need for their building  - Organic deployment - Teacher Evaluation and using a course and how they are using the digital tools.  Staff Course - and a page for them 


  1. How are you leveling up Canvas at your school? What advanced Canvas features are you leveraging? How have you helped deepen your teachers knowledge/experience in Canvas?
  • HCPS -  Canvas Studio - Interactivity of the video 
    • Student led communities - Group of Students who create a community  - Student life, they are creating the content, share their clubs, activities, student driven and student produced.  Students are the leaders supporting the teachers as well. New grading policy they don’t have to have 

  • Springfield - Blended learning Appy Hours, teacher led, get some snacks, gave prizes and then teachers really led the sessions 200-300 sessions.  At a High School. Newsletter each month highlighting folks and what they were doing. Shared the stories of what they were doing, built more of an actually what people are doing and using vs just building awareness.  Badging program to the next level… get those Carrots in there that will help.  

  • Oshkosh - Ignites days with tech folks and having top users and tech integrators who were presenting on what they do.  What’s transforming and being used in those sessions and how that all comes together in the hub. Canvas heavy - took away ed camp - Wisconsin Canvascon - this will boost the super users.  Helps to leverage who’s doing what and they can lead these sessions. 

  • Beaverton -  Gradebook is the trickiest part, Canvas is not the Gradebook of Record, The mindset behind the gradebook, turning the ship. 
  • Brad- Blue Valley onboarding process-  several sessions throughout the summer.  Taken all of onboarding (HR, etc) are all in Canvas.  K5 will use learning mastery gradebook next year. Canvas levels of learning courses in Canvas.  Teachers complete in their sandbox, screencast, and submit for feedback. Instructional design coaches- go through Canvas LOL and have ongoing trainings throughout the year.  Blueprinting for elem. FLOP- Canvas Conference hour every month. Little to no attendance- no buy-in.   
  • Nichole-  150-200 teachers turnover each year- gamified blended learning bootcamp.  Teachers get new device. Teachers go through bootcamp (Canvas Course) with stamp-sheet (at your own pace) then they get prizes.    Device training, classroom management with the devices, rollout all through bootcamp course. Teachers use Catalog to self select additional pd courses.  (google1, google 2, etc. etc.). Blueprint out content so no training on course design...more so how to customize. Intro CidiLabs in level 4 course. Teachers get credit for PD hours for completing courses.  Use Catalog and ARC (studio) analytics to track. 
  • Joe Allen- Howard County orientation for students and teachers and onboarding for teachers  self paced course (basics on how to build a course) . Sandbox automation tool with template.   Cidi labs users
  • Kristin Lundstrum - DeLaSalle HS: Kungfu Canvas and Growing with Canvas.  Front load before orientation. Mandatory weekly peer coach meeting.  First 2 years (for first year teachers)
    • Use high achievers as instructional leaders
    •     Mentor
    •     PLC leaders and TOSAs
    •     Ear-marking high flyers à tag and release and keep in touch with what they’re doing – get those teachers to present summer sessions
    •     Gifted kids -> sharing with each other