In an earlier post, I described the different tools within an LMS, specifically Haiku Learning, and how they could best be used for instruction. Now, I want to broaden the scope to the LMS tools that impact all of virtual learning, but do so in a way that is realistic for teachers. Below are the top ten tools every virtual teacher needs.
- Email – Communication with students, parents, and staff is a must
- Discussion board(s) – All classes must provide an opportunity for discussion
- Student blogs – Students should have a place to record and share reflections without cluttering the dropbox.
- Calendar – Students and parents need to know when work is assigned and due.
- Embed Video/Audio – Both video and audio make the content more accessible to students.
- Dropbox – You don’t want to clutter your inbox with student work, and the dropbox ensures work is turned in.
- Gradebook – Naturally.
- Report Generation – This tool lets you track student progress in the class, and most will allow you to send reports through the LMS to parents and students.
- Commenting/Feedback – Students need feedback regarding their participation and work.
- Rubric integration with gradebook – Rubrics allow the teacher to fairly assess projects and written work.
The next set of tools is my “I’ll take it if I can get it.” These aren’t as necessary, since there are other ways of performing the same functions using other online resources, but if they’re there, I recommend using them:
- Assessments like quizzes and tests
- Notification system
- User progress
Some LMSs offer additional tools whose purposes overlap with other options, so don’t get overwhelmed by the following options.
Instant Messaging – when conducting a synchronous event, you’ll have a chat option.
Social Profiles – Students can express themselves using their own forms of social media and use the discussion board to share their opinions.
Alert systems – Websites offer a multitude of text-alert options.