Over the past several weeks, we have gotten a lot of communication about issues with Google Classroom. Many teachers rely on Classroom as their go-to place for distributing and collecting student work, sending out links and announcements and many other purposes.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons (all of which are beyond our control) there is a known bug with using Google Classroom on the iPad. Many teachers have been forwarding updates to me from Google saying that the issue will be resolved soon.
Winter is coming.
As a teacher, I see this to be extremely frustrating. So, you have basically two options:
- Hold out. Wait for the update. Winter is coming.
- Move on, find another solution.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of other learning management solutions (LMS) available, all of which integrate nicely with Google Apps, Office365 and other web services that you already use (or planned to use) with your kids. Here are some options with brief descriptions and links to more information.
Edmodo is a solid LMS that has been around for a while. The interface looks very similar to facebook (by design) and provides a place for you as a teacher to post information, students to post comments allowing for collaboration, and parents to keep tabs on what the kids are doing in your class. It does sync up with Google Drive, allowing you to post documents and files to your Edmodo course from Google Drive, although the file organization and ease of document distribution workflow to students is not as easy as Google Classroom.
Schoology is a relative newcomer to LMS, and I view it as Edmodo’s “step up”. If you like the features of Edmodo, but are looking for something more, Schoology may be a good option. Offering many of the same features as Edmodo, including the ability to create assignments, tests, quizzes, provide links to online resources, connecting with educators, importing content from other services, and more, you should be able to do many of the tasks you are looking to accomplish in your online classroom and more. The integration with Google Drive, as well as OneDrive, Dropbox, Evernote, and other services is clean and simple, and, in my opinion, superior to Edmodo.
Moodle is an open-source, free LMS that is used worldwide by K-12 schools as well as higher education. It is very similar to platforms like Blackboard that you may be familiar with from taking DESE courses or grad level courses at a local university. Moodle has a multitude of powerful features that lend itself well to collaboration and communication. The interface is not as slick as Edmodo or Schoology, but it is updated regularly and I am working on updating our Moodle installation to the latest version to make it more user friendly. It also integrates well with many online services including Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Evernote, and YouTube as well as content repositories like CK-12, MERLOT, and others. Moodle also uses the SCORM format that easily allows for exporting and importing course content in your classes allowing you to share with other educators.
Need more help?
Let me know. I will be happy to work with individual teachers or groups of teachers to help decide which option is best for you and to help you get up and running.