As an instructional technology coach and a Schoology Ambassador, I am often told by other districts, "We don't use an LMS in the elementary, it is just too hard and complicated." My response - "Why don't you let me show you?" Then I proceed to tell them how our amazing teachers are using it Pre-K on up.
First let me start out with how we got our teachers on board, or at least some of them:
1. Listened to them - First we met with them to see their needs. What are they currently doing? How do they use the iPads right now? What would they want from our LMS - Schoology?
2. Created Content - The other technology coach and I, started out by making some content for them. One of the first things we did was create true/false tests to replace flash card tests. Our Kindergarten teachers must assess letter and number identification. Typically they use flashcards and a check sheet. Well why not use true false and click true if they got it right and false if they got it wrong. When on the iPad it goes really quickly. Once we started showing these examples, we had 1st and 2nd grade teachers asked about putting Cold Reads on there, so we did a few. This actually grew and teachers started creating and sharing.
3. Shared and Coached - Us just creating the content would not be helpful in the long run. So once we started sharing, we then went in and coached those interested in how to make their own. We also started looking for new uses. I must say that we have some of the most creative and innovative teachers. The teachers who bought in, ran with it. We also created a place for materials to be shared. Our rule was if we made it for you, we were sharing, if you made it with us, we were sharing, etc.. The thought was we wanted to create a cross-district collaboration. The idea gained a little ground, but it really took off within the schools. Teachers started taking turns and sharing their resources with each other.
A. Attitudes - We found those teachers with a will-do attitudes. We really made sure we were there to support them. There are always going to be bumps in the road and I felt it was important that support was provided. Sometimes when working on something new, when you hit snags you might quit. If support was offered, maybe teachers would not give up so easily.
B. Basics - One of the things we almost forgot about was the basics. We went in assuming that these early elementary teachers knew how to use the platform. We quickly learned that we had to pause, rewind, and review for them. We had been using the LMS for almost a year and so many teachers were using it religiously, so we made an assumption that was incorrect. Once we realized our mistake, we corrected it. We went back and made sure the teachers of younger grades knew the basics of our LMS. Once we did that, teachers were more open.
C. Creativity - Sometimes to get started you have to think outside the box, but not as far as you think. What was really fun about this was meeting with teachers and hearing all their ideas. Everything from spelling tests, to the classroom newsletters, my teacher's creativity and innovation is truly amazing.
This all started when we listened to what the early elementary teachers said they needed. We created them some actually products they could use immediately and coached and supported them in their own use. It only took a couple of teachers at each school to see potential and then it took on a life of its own.
Here is a list of ways my early elementary teachers are using Schoology. There are many many more, but this is just to get you started.
Flash Card Tests
Updates to parents - Touch Cast videos loaded as an update for parents.
Media albums - Keep all the classroom pictures in one place.
Use iPads to take pictures of writing samples and submit as assignments
Using the assignment function to submit any digital work so parents can see the product.