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Are you using an LMS or considering using one, but feeling overwhelmed by all the possibilities?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
As a secondary teacher who has been using an LMS for over a decade, I have learned some valuable lessons that I want to share with you.
Whether you’re diving into your LMS this summer to prepare for the next school year or looking to tidy things up, these 10 tips will help you make the most of your LMS setup.
Tip 1: Simplify Navigation
To ensure your students don’t get lost in a labyrinth of options, simplify the navigation in your LMS.
Remove any unnecessary elements and make it foolproof. This will make it easier for students to find their assignments, resources, and materials.
Keep it simple!
Tip 2: Maintain Consistent Assignment and Assessment Structure
Keep your assignment and assessment structure consistent throughout the LMS.
Using a “template” or following a uniform layout, reduces confusion for students.
Create a template for assignments, including clear instructions and submission guidelines. Stick to one or two submission methods to avoid switching back and forth. This consistency will make it easier for both you and your students.
To help older kids understand what activities we’ll be doing each day, I use a wall calendar. And as my kids have gotten older, they’ve gotten more involved with the scheduling process, too. We’ll sit down together each week to plan out our activities.
Tip 3: Avoid Requiring Photo Submissions
Save time and streamline the submission process and don’t use photo submissions.
Instead, provide feedback while walking around the classroom.
Students can show their work to you, eliminating the need for them to capture and upload photos. This simplifies the feedback loop and saves time for everyone involved.
I know, it may feel like you’re not using your LMS fully. But…while it seems like it will save you time, it won’t.
Tip 4: Use Rubrics for Your Benefit
While rubrics can be helpful for students to understand expectations, don’t expect them to read your comments. They won’t.
Use rubrics as a grading tool for yourself.
Students often focus on the final score rather than the detailed feedback provided. Consider alternative methods, such as verbal feedback, to supplement your LMS’s rubric system.
Tip 5: Use Help Forums
Take advantage of the available help forums specific to your LMS.
These forums can be a goldmine of information, offering solutions to common issues and providing guidance on features.
It’s an excellent resource to enhance your LMS skills.
Tip 6: Embrace the Power of Video
Make use of videos within your LMS whenever possible. Record yourself giving instructions, demos, or general content.
Video content provides numerous benefits, including differentiation, accessibility through subtitles, and the ability for students to rewatch and reinforce learning.
By leveraging video instruction, you can deliver concise and effective lessons that can be revisited as needed.
Tip 7: Provide Examples
Just like in your classroom, offering examples is a valuable teaching practice.
Digitize your examples, allowing students to access them even when they are not present in the classroom. Providing clear examples helps students understand expectations and desired outcomes.
Tip 8: Keep Your Grade Book and LMS in Sync
Keep your grade book and LMS updated as much as possible. While some LMS platforms automatically sync with grade books, others need manual entry.
It’s tedious, but as a former middle school principal, having both systems up to date will save you heartache.
Check to see if there are integration options to streamline this process.
Tip 9: Preview from a Student’s Perspective
Before publishing any assignment or resource, preview it from a student’s perspective. Many LMS platforms offer a “view as a student” option.
By utilizing this feature, you can catch errors and gain a better understanding of how students will experience the material.
It’s important to ensure that everything is clear, accessible, and user-friendly from the student’s point of view.
Tip 10: Analyze Student Data Regularly
LMS platforms collect valuable student data that can inform your teaching practices. Use the grading features and quiz results to identify areas where students struggle or excel.
Analyzing this data helps you pinpoint gaps in instruction and make necessary adjustments to support.
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