Pressure on LMS Companies to Provide Quality PD - Education Week

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Complete Coverage Piecing Together a Smart LMS Strategy Tech Advances Fuel LMS Identity Crisis Tearing Down the Walls Between Software Silos Pressure on LMS Companies to Provide Quality PD Ed-Tech Leaders Outline Their LMS Needs Making the Big LMS Buying Decision Picking the Best LMS Delivery Model Is Tricky Published Online: September 29, 2014 Published in Print: October 1, 2014, as PD Evolving to Address Growing Complexities Pressure on LMS Companies to Provide Quality PD Expanding array of LMS features can be overwhelming By Sean Cavanagh When language arts teacher Susie Weetman was taught how to use her district's new learning management system, her biggest hurdle wasn't figuring out how to master all the platform's features. It was picking and choosing the ones she needed most. The new LMS offered "so much functionality," recalled Ms. Weetman, who works in the Gwinnett County, Ga., school system . "In the beginning, it was kind of like jumping into the deep end and not knowing how to swim. But in a way, that's kind of like teaching." The third-year educator's experience last school year paralleled those of teachers and administrators across the country who've gone through professional development meant to introduce them to learning management systems, which have become commonplace in schools. For many teachers and administrators, the trick is to grasp which LMS tools have the greatest potential to meet the needs of their individual students and classrooms, while also acquiring the skills to juggle myriad academic and managerial duties. LMS companies try to meet those needs by training K-12 officials directly, or by training educators to advise their peers. Getting to know an LMS is different from becoming adept at using a single computing device or other technology tool, partly because management systems are meant to do so many different tasks, as Ms. Weetman and her colleagues in the 170,000-student suburban Atlanta district have come to understand. For instance, the LMS used in the Gwinnett school system, created by the Canadian company D2L, formerly Desire2Learn , allows teachers to juggle a wide array of tasks. They can build course content for students within the platform, give quizzes and tests, establish and manage grading systems, track individual students' attendance and progress (even using detailed online seating charts), establish by-the- Pressure on LMS Companies to Provide Quality PD - Educatio... 1 of 4 9/29/14 3:28 PM

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