Tag: Canvas

Tools4ever Announces Partnership with Education Technology Leader, Instructure

See the source imageTools4ever, a leading provider of identity and access management solutions in education, is proud to announce a partnership with Instructure, an education technology provider.

Tools4ever has offered customers an integration between its cloud-based single sign-on (SSO) solution, HelloID, and Instructure’s web-based learning management platform, Canvas.

Tools4ever and Instructure are now officially formalizing the partnership.

Both Canvas and HelloID are deployed in the cloud, offering joint customers a streamlined user experience with instant and secure access.

By using HelloID’s SSO dashboard, students can easily access all of their resources, including Canvas, within one centralized location. HelloID was created to simplify any district’s access and approval processes and offers a large selection of features, including “service automation” (self-service), single sign-on, access management, account provisioning, and other solutions.

“We are excited to officially announce our new partnership with Instructure,” said Tom Mowatt, managing director of Tools4ever. “For a while now, we have integrated our solutions identity management solutions with their learning management system, Canvas, and we are pleased to formalize this collaboration.”

Instructure provides a learning management platform, Canvas, that makes teaching and learning easier. Canvas helps teachers personalize learning for students in an effective and scalable way.

Education and Technology During the Coronavirus Lockdown

Patrick FogartyResponses from Patrick Fogarty, director of technology, Jericho Union Free School District.

How are school districts and colleges and universities responding, and what technologies are they using to connect with students and even parents in an attempt to minimize the disruption? What have been the results? What works? What only causes more friction?

Once we knew a shutdown beyond one or two days was coming, we plotted out a distance learning program that incorporated software our teachers are comfortable with, like Canvas and Classroom, and new software, like Zoom and Meet, into a larger tapestry of services. The most challenging aspect of this was distributing hundreds of Chromebooks on short notice. Not only are you accommodating families, you also have to take care of your own staff, who are now working from home with their spouses and children also needing devices to use.

Are you moving to e-learning platforms? Which vendors are you partnering with to deliver these solutions?

Our district is fortunate in that we were already using Canvas by Instructure as our learning management system, and so we had a digital learning platform available from the first day we were shut down. Canvas has built in video streaming through their Conferences feature, and while it takes quite a while for recordings to be uploaded to course pages, it does provide a solid foundation for synchronous virtual instruction.

We are also supporting Google Classroom and Google Meet. The tools we can use are limited, because we are working to comply with Ed law 2-d (including the recently adopted part 121), and several popular streaming services are not currently compliant with these regulations. I think Canvas and G Suite have worked well for most students, though I wonder if using these platforms for Kindergarteners doesn’t create more friction than it resolves. We’ve had success using Zoom for administrative meetings and teacher-to-teacher conferencing.

Are your IT and service teams able to meet the need in the new era or have you been caught flat footed?

We did three things to slow the immediate crush of support needs: began using Slack as a team, created a helpline phone extension, and began using a dedicated tech support email address, since users no longer had one-click access to our ticketing system. I feel like those three actions, combined with staggering shifts a bit to increase the surface of our coverage, have helped us stay ahead of the support needs.

Lessons learned, best practices and guidance for others?

I think this is an amazing, perhaps unprecedented opportunity for us to reconsider how our schools work. Hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, and administrators are using new digital tools, flipping their classrooms, providing synchronous instruction remotely, and doing exciting, innovative work with little prep time.

If this encourages more districts to send students home with mobile devices every day, and if it shifts our perceptions of when, where, and how schoolwork is done, those are significant steps forward as we incorporate digital tools into instruction.

Teaching and Technology In The Time of Coronavirus

Responses from Noreen Lace, professor, California State University, Northridge.

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Noreen Lace

I’m a professor at California State University, Northridge. We went online pretty quickly. We had little notice; however, in addition to my traditional classes I’ve been teaching online for a number of years, so making the transition was pretty easy for me. Even in my traditional classes, I use a variety of online methods, including ebooks, websites, and online activities.

A large number of our faculty have never taken any sort of training. Our tech department is great. They were able to schedule back to back online trainings for people to be able to set up their classes during spring break, so they could be ready for returning students. Since then, they seem to have kept up with the demand. I called the other day and there was no hold/no wait time. My questions are answered right away.

We use Canvas as our learning management system. It’s simple to use. I tell my students, if you can upload an attachment in email, you can do this. 

Many of the faculty have been using Zoom (in conjunction with Canvas). They’d hoped to use it to hold live classes — and I do believe some people are; however, we’re finding the system is becoming overloaded and not working well. Furthermore, we’ve recently found people have been hacking — or somehow crashing the live class and sharing/posting inappropriate screens and pictures within the live zoom sessions. They’re calling it zoombombing. 

Because of the drain on the system, one of the methods I use is to record within the Canvas program and have the students respond the same way. I also use the traditional methods of written lecture notes along with their written responses. We have discussion boards, live chat features, as well as document sharing available to us within the program. 

My students were supposed to do a presentation in class. I’ve since given them creative freedom and they can use any program they want and present in any way they feel works best for them. One of my students just asked me if they can use animation — so I’m quite excited to see the results.

Schools and Education Technology In The Time of COVID-19

Christopher Lazartic
Chris Lazartic

Responses from Chris Lazartic, middle school STEAM coach, student leadership and enterpreneurship coach, Aspen Academy

Are you moving to e-learning platforms? Which vendors are you partnering with to deliver these solutions?

 On March 16th, Aspen Academy transitioned to a virtual learning platform. Luckily, most teachers, students and parents were already familiar with their learning management system (LMS): Canvas. This online tool allows teachers to communicate grades, assignments, and much more to students and parents. Aspen has also purchased Zoom Education host accounts for every teacher, which allows them to teach live classes and record those lessons if needed.

Additionally, all students in grades two and above are provided with Google accounts, which allow them to use Google apps, such as Docs, Classroom and Slides. Students can also continue to use nearly all of their texts and academic learning tools because they are available online. In some grades, students were issued iPads or loaned computers.

Are your IT and service teams able to meet the need in the new era or have you been caught flat footed?

Two weeks prior to this transition, Aspen Academy began proactively communicating, training and preparing for virtual learning and created a Virtual Learning Hub with FAQs for parents. Although the technologies and systems did not work perfectly the first week, teachers were flexible and quickly adapted to this new style of teaching. The middle school, lower school and programs directors, along with the school’s technology manager, were available around the clock to help all users.

In the event of a significant technology issue, Aspen also supported by an outside IT company, Alerio Technology Group. We’ve received more than 90 testimonials from parents who felt the technology and teaching exceeded their expectations, like this one:

“It went surprisingly SO much smoother than I anticipated for the first day! There were no technical difficulties, you all had your lesson plans organized and were able to clearly explain the work the kids needed to do! THANK YOU for your dedication and hard work to all of our kiddos – you are so greatly appreciated!” — parent of third-grade student

Any and all perspectives wanted. Good and bad, lessons learned, best practices and guidance for others.

Our teachers host online office hours, and one thing we’ve noticed is that students are wanting more connection and support during this social distancing. In some cases, teachers are Google Hangouts with students until 7 p.m. For the teachers, it can also be a balancing act if they’re teaching from home and have their own children at home. Many are working longer hours than anticipated to create lessons and provide the personalized experience they pride themselves on. The school sent our faculty GrubHub certificates after the first week as a way of saying, “thank you,” for teachers’ Herculean efforts to go live over the weekend.