Navigate- Tools for Deciding on an LMS

Explore: When considering which LMS is best for my organization I have to consider many things. The number one thing I have to consider are the stakeholders including: administrators, students, teachers and faculty, instructional technology, development, support, and parents. I researched the top 20 most popular LMS Software Solutions. I found the top five to be Moodle, Edmodo, Blackboard, SumTotal Systems, and Skillsoft. I was already familiar with Moodle and Edmodo, but knew little about the latter three so I explored them a bit. I found myself going back to what I knew best which was Google Classroom. Then I thought, is Google Classroom really an LMS? At this point I had to do a bit of research into my question. I found that it is not “labeled” an LMS, but can be utilized as one. One expert labeled it as a “Google Drive Management” System. It is the best of both worlds. It has pluses and minuses just like any management system. Pluses include: collaboration and feedback are easy, students learn Google Suite which is utilized by many companies worldwide, no time is wasted sharing files, and teachers can download apps and extensions to do many things including grading assignments. Minuses would include: archiving can be tedious if not well planned and it does not automate course enrollment (exactly). The best thing about Google Classroom is that it is ever growing and changing. It does not become stagnant. Bottomline is that Google Classroom is not an LMS, but it is better.

Answer: After researching many LMSs, I have come to the conclusion that Google Classroom is the best LMS. It meets the needs of all stakeholders within my organization by allowing: 

  • students/teachers to save drafts
  • parents can be added to classrooms
  • co-teachers can be added to classrooms
  • assignments can be graded, commented on, and returned to students
  • collaboration & feedback
  • use of Google Forms to take tests and have real-time grading
  • their is a mobile app
  • user friendly
  • continuously updates
  • *Any functionalities that are not found within Classroom can be found in out Google apps.* Currently our county is working with Google to make our grading platform sync with Google Classrooms so grades will automatically transfer!

Google Classroom aligns with the initiatives, growth, and technological needs of my county. In our organization, our number one initiative is to create students that are ready for the world. It is not a secret that Google is a mainstay in industry worldwide. Our students are growing and learning 21st century technology skills that they will utilize not only in life, but in the workplace once they are productive members of society. As a middle school, our technological needs have to keep up with the growing minds of our students and Google is able to do that. Not a week goes by that something is not updated within the Google Suite.

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