In the school world there is something special about late winter. The hustle and bustle of starting the year is long gone, but the pomp and circumstance of graduation hasn’t yet arrived. We feel neither the idealistic optimism of summer nor the fatigue of early winter.
In other words it’s the perfect time to make strategic decisions.
One strategic decision many schools are making is the selection of a learning management system (LMS).
Choosing an LMS might not seem like a strategic decision at first. Used primarily by teachers and students, the LMS might appear to be within the scope of an academic dean or perhaps the technology integrationist.
But the impact of a good LMS goes far beyond an effective gradebook or online quiz module. Try asking this question at your school: “Who needs to communicate with parents, students, and employees and what kind of information do they need?”
Chances are you’ll answer that question with a much longer list than just assignments and grades.
For example you might include:
- Teachers need to give assignments to students
- Teachers need to communicate student progress to parents, advisors, and coaches
- College advisors need to alert parents and students to a testing deadline
- Coaches need to tell students when practice is taking place
- Coaches need to tell parents the score from the game
- Student government needs to brainstorm ideas for a service project with other students
- The theatre program leader needs to remind actors to bring their costumes to rehearsal
Selecting an LMS is a strategic decision because it involves communication with all of the students and adults in the school community.
If selecting an LMS transcends the scope of the academic dean or technology integrationist, it now becomes a much more complicated decision. What features should schools look for when selecting an LMS? Who should be involved with making this decision? Once you’ve selected an LMS how should you roll it out?
To help schools answer these questions (and many others), we created a comprehensive e-book to server as a roadmap for choosing and rolling out a learning management system.
What do you think? Have you been a part of a particularly effective LMS rollout? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author
I've been an educator since 1995 when I first stepped into the classroom as a Fulbright exchange teacher in the former East Germany. Since then I've been an Outward Bound instructor, a teacher, tutor, admission officer, house head, evening administrator on duty and I ran the experiential learning program at New Hampton School for almost ten years. Today I focus on technology integration centered on values-driven technology integration and 1:1 iPad initiatives. Recently I had the chance to help New Hampton School become an Apple Distinguished School and I co-authored the iBook Teaching with the iPad (available on the iBookstore). Now I'm the founder of a scrappy little company (one employee!) called Hans Mundahl and Associates, inc a digital strategy consultancy for schools and non-profits.More Content by Hans Mundahl