Teach education

Reflections of an IB science teacher

Leave a comment


For a long time now I’ve had a model in mind of the perfect LMS for my classes.

Khan Academy had some great idea’s, but it wasn’t in the hands of the teacher at all. So whilst inspiring, and probably my first encounter of a legitimate personalised learning journey for self-paced mastery, it was more a glimpse of what I wanted every teacher to be able to create as opposed to what I wanted every teacher to be able to use.

For a while I thought I’d nailed it by embedding Google Sheets and Google Docs into Google Sites templates, but even then there were limitations. It proved difficult to create a system where I could track individual students without them being able to track one another. And every solution I thought I’d found ultimately became clunky and a nightmare for students to navigate.

Then there was a time when I thought I’d solved all navigation issues by using a tool called BlendSpace. That worked for a little while, but it only added to the whole “Clunkyness”

3D-GameLab introduced better tracking and flexibility than all of those options combined, it allowed me to set pre-requisites and introduce points and badges for student tracking. So far, I’m still very impressed with 3D-GameLab in its ability to map and track a course on the “Task level”, and by embedding Google Forms and Google Sheets, I can even track mastery on the learning objective level. But again this is clunky and either sends students to too many different pages, or offers a slow behemoth of wrapped up system.

Enter “Canvas“.

Canvas came to my attention by an e-mail sent to all 3D-GameLab teachers. The e-mail was underwhelming and uninspiring;

“3DGameLab: Canvas integration coming this summer!”

But when I followed the link to check out what Canvas was all about, my jaw dropped.

This could be it.

I keep promising future posts that will outline the tools I’m using for my core “Mapping and tracking” of courses, but the truth is that I’ve been too busy actually exploring these tools and developing these courses. When I originally started this blog I wanted it to reflect a developmental journey that was moving towards an ideal, but things have been moving so fast these last couple of months that at least for now, I’m afraid that I can’t achieve that without writing some posts in hindsight.

Whilst it might be a little too early to definitively say that Canvas answers all, or at least a lot, of my problems, it certainly looks like it’s going to be a step forward.

My next couple of posts will be on small Tech Ed tools that I use within my lessons for various activities (Quizlet for “Retrieval practice”, Padlet for class collaboration, TedEd for inquiry cycles, ClassDojo for encouraging IB learner profile traits etc). In the mean time I’m going to figure out the ins and the outs of Canvas and make a final decision towards whether or not it’s a platform I want to use for my courses. With upcoming 3D GameLab integration, it certainly looks like it will have a lot to add with nothing to take away!