By Randy Mancilla and Tomas Palmieri
The school adopted Canvas as a new learning management system (LMS) this year that will eventually replace Google Classroom. Canvas is now used by the majority of both students and teachers alike everyday in the classroom.
The school decided to switch to Canvas due to its beneficial student and teacher tools. It has many unique features that can aid teachers during class instruction. The organization can also be helpful for students to move through course content.
For example, depending on the score a student receives from a test, Canvas can unlock or show the student a new activity. If a student receives a good score demonstrating they know the content, Canvas can show them an activity that furthers their understanding or expands upon certain concepts. If a student doesn’t score the best, Canvas can direct them to content the teacher has linked to help them get a better understanding of what they may be confused about.
Another feature Canvas offers is an anonymous submission tool. This means that when students submit their assignments or tests, the teacher grading them does not see a name on the submissions. This allows for the removal of bias when teachers are grading tests, making scores possibly more accurate.
Canvas even has digital textbook integrations available for certain classes. This allows for digital textbooks to be built into Canvas so you can view them and pull up your sources with ease. Canvas has partnerships with Kami, Nearpod, and even Google as well as other digital workspaces so users can use their websites on Canvas with no need to open a new tab.
Canvas also offers new interactive experiences with languages. For starters they have a translator for non-native English speakers and for those English speakers trying to learn a language.
Another major factor in the school’s decision to switch is because it is utilized by most UC’s, Cal States, and other universities in California. By switching, students will be more familiar with the most common college LMS before entering college, setting them up for success.
However, despite all the potential benefits, there has definitely been confusion among both students and teachers when using Canvas.
Most in the school began using Google Classroom in 2015. It was also mandated for teachers to use during quarantine. Teachers were required to use a similar Google Classroom organization in order for the student experience to be streamlined. Teachers and students alike have become very accustomed to Google Classroom, which is why there is unfamiliarity when using Canvas.
Teachers were told about the switch to Canvas in the last weeks of previous school year. They were then given optional training over the summer and two days of professional development before the school year started. So, most everyone is still in the learning phase with Canvas. There are 13 experienced Canvas users called “Canvas Power Users,” who are available to help teachers.
“The whole campus is learning together and our goal is to make the learning environment more enjoyable” Administrative Director Nicholas Weber said.
The school will officially switch to Canvas in Fall 2023.
Overall, getting familiar with Canvas is definitely going to be an adjustment that takes time and practice for both students and teachers, but once we get through these growing pains Canvas will be able to offer new types of opportunities in the classroom that we have not seen before.