In the first blog post of our ‘Technologies for School Resilience’ series, we focused on how schools can use video conferencing tools like Zoom to conduct classes as seamlessly as possible. In today’s blog, we will consider education technology platforms that your school can use to complement video conferencing. We will be looking at platforms that facilitate teacher student interactivity, whereby teachers can share rich multimedia content (via slides, images, videos etc.), conduct tests/ assignments, facilitate submission of assignments by students and then finally, grading these assignments.
After all, one can’t imagine school life being complete without them, can we?
Today, we will do a deep dive into two of the recommended digital learning management systems (LMS) which low cost private schools in developing countries can adopt, in order to make the transition from offline to online – Edmodo and Google Classroom.
With interfaces that match two of the most popularly visited websites on the internet – Facebook and Google, students and teachers will find these recommended platforms easy to adapt to and use based on interface familiarity and ease of navigation.
- Both platforms are free.
- Parents / Guardians of school students can be kept informed about the class schedule, homework given, performance in class tests and assignments
- With these platforms, your school can also bid adieu to paper-based assignments and class assessments.
In the section below, we have curated content and video links and relevant documents that can help you in your decision to implement these recommended platforms for your schools to make synchronous online education effective.
What is Edmodo?
Edmodo is a free Facebook-like learning management system (LMS) that serves as a great stepping stone toward online instruction. Teachers can create an account, classes, and their first poll or assignment within minutes and can invite students and parents to join them via a class code that is sent to the parents/ students by email (Or SMS, separately)
Users can share documents, links, video, and images using the drag-and-drop feature, integrating files from Google and Microsoft.
First brush: What’s it like to use Edmodo? Watch video
Why Edmodo would work for your school?
- Facebook like interface, making online education an extension of a social media experience.
- Integration with Microsoft and Google documents for uploading files
- Quizzes and Assignments get automatically graded (if they are in MCQ – Multiple Choice Question format) helping teachers save time
What is Google Classroom?
Google Classroom is a free web service, developed by Google for schools, that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless way. The primary purpose of Google Classroom is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students.
Google Classroom combines Google Drive for assignment creation and distribution, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for writing, Gmail for communication, Google Forms for Quizzes and Google Calendar for scheduling. Students can be invited to join a class through a private code, or automatically imported from a school domain. Each class creates a separate folder in the respective user’s Drive, where the student can submit work to be graded by a teacher. Teachers can monitor the progress for each student, and after being graded, teachers can return work along with comments.
First brush: What’s it like to use Google Classroom? Watch video
Class Quizzes – How can teachers conduct quizzes in online classes? – Click link
Why Google Classroom would work for your school?
- Ad free interface
- Integration with Google Drive for uploading files. Teachers can use slides for classes and students can use them for assignment submissions.
- Teachers can copy a course (content set prepared for one class) for any other class without importing the names of the students of the previous class. This is a time saver as teachers do not have to recreate the content and set up all over again for a new class where the same content is needed.
While both Edmodo and Google Classroom are helping schools continue to impart education, their effectiveness depends entirely on how well planned the teachers are in having content ready before a class or preparing assignments – all in digital format (something which they may not be used to). Also, using these in conjunction with video conferencing may pose a challenge as the teacher will have to keep alternating from one platform screen to another.
These are but challenges that can be overcome once they become more conversant with teaching on digital channels. To address the challenge of preparing class content digitally, please click on the video link, to help your teachers use Google Slides better
As always, do let us know your thoughts, inhibitions or concerns on implementing these recommended LMS in your school in the comments section below.