The roots of this concern lie in a misconception about the 1:1 program: it is a mistake to think that the teachers and the students will use the laptops without interruption in all classes, and that all the activities will be based on laptops. This erroneous perception creates an excessive pressure on the teachers, lowers their motivation, and brings a technology-focused perspective that isn’t centered on learning or the students. Teachers need to get used to the idea that they will create their digital content over time, and the administration must support them in this process. It is essential that the school provides the various technologies which relate to content development, and offers continuous professional development opportunities about the use of these tools. The LMS (Learning Management System) encompasses a wide range of such tools.
Initially, I can define the LMS as a platform for teachers to compile and organize the content, and share it with their students. But it offers much more than that. It transforms the students into more active users via the medium of a large variety of modules, like forums, wikis, and assignments. Moodle, Blackboard, Sakai, Haiku Learning, Canvas are among the most popular LMS. Teachers use these platforms primarily to share the digital content and to create a page where they can guide their students towards activities. With time, they begin to use other modules which involve the students more actively.
I recommend that the schools adopting the 1:1 system consider using the LMS; it facilitates digital interaction between the students and the teachers, and offers as safe an environment as the classroom. Besides, it encourages the teachers to design their original digital content in a creative way.
One of the meaningful particularities of the LMS is its ability to integrate with other platforms and the web 2.0 technologies. For example, Moodle’s integration with LDAP and connection with tools like Turnitin via various plugins make life easy for teachers and students.
At my school, Moodle has been used since 8 years and Haiku Learning since 2 years. These two LMS are used as preferred by teachers or departments. Students are quite happy to access the content online, to participate in activities and to connect to the platform independently from time and space. The introduction of a second LMS cause some confusion for students and teachers at the beginning, but the opportunity to work over a variety of platforms turned into a life skill for all. My school adopted the blended learning model, and the use of LMS is quite intense. Based on the experience, I may say that the LMS is used more effectively by sharing the activities mutually between the digital platform and the classroom. Thus the teachers and the students can feel that the LMS environment is not an add-up, but an integral part of the classroom.
These days the use of social media like Facebook in education is being discussed. Whether you are in favor of it or not, this question comes to mind: why do teachers want to use Facebook instead of LMS? The first answer is “because all the students are there”. But, in my opinion, there is a different answer. There are so many nice tools on the web that neither the teachers nor the students want to spend time with boring, linear and teacher-centered LMS. Consequently, Edmodo, which has very similar interface with Facebook, became highly popular recently. Some teachers find it too complicated. They want to stick to pages where they can create their own content, organize the activities, and keep in control. But in our days, as we talk about project-based learning, collaboration and aim for the students to manage their own learning, new generation LMS which are student-centered, support socialization and collaboration and easy to navigate will no doubt replace the existing ones.