SALT LAKE CITY, June 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Instructure today announced new technology for its Canvas learning management system (LMS) that encourages participation and records more of the educational experience that occurs in the classroom, enabling teachers to blend the magic of in-person instruction with digital efficiencies. By capturing real-time analytics and innovating toward a concept called "lossless learning," the suite uses on-the-fly feedback to help educators make the most of every interaction with their students by recording comprehension and skills assessment in face-to-face educational settings.
"Online learning trends like massive open online courses (MOOCs) have dominated the public conversation around education in recent years, overshadowing the tremendous potential for technology in the physical classroom," said Jared Stein, vice president of research and education at Instructure. "While face-to-face education is still the primary mode of teaching in our digital age, it has been difficult for educators to seamlessly assess and track learning when their attention should be on interacting with their students. These new tools change that."
Revealed at InstructureCon, Instructure's annual user conference in Park City, Utah, this new functionality marks a breakthrough in measuring the effectiveness of learning opportunities within the classroom and will allow educators to adjust instruction to meet individual, personalized needs of students. The suite moves education closer toward lossless learning by focusing on active learning that itself generates data on student participation and performance, even in the face-to-face classroom.
The release includes two mobile apps designed specifically to improve in-classroom education as well as new features that enhance the Canvas LMS and Learning Mastery Gradebook experiences. The new features will be made available at no additional cost to the entire Canvas user base, which includes more than 13 million educators and students at 800 colleges, universities and K-12 school districts around the world. InstructureCon attendees will have early access to the new functionality immediately, and the public release will be June 25.
"We are excited to see the impact of this new functionality in thousands of classrooms around the world," Stein said. "Lossless learning and personalized, iterative instruction have been practically impossible in physical settings until now, as educators would have to spend hours trying to retroactively document the learning that takes place in their classrooms. This technology suite is the most significant milestone to date in blending the power of face-to-face instruction with the efficiency of technology."
MagicMarker is an iPad application that allows teachers to track in real-time how students are performing and demonstrating their learning in group settings. MagicMarker bases measurement on outcomes or standards by simply swiping a certain direction to indicate if a student answered correctly or incorrectly. Teachers who provide students with frequent opportunities to respond can log performance with simple gestures.
This method of measuring demonstrated performance allows teachers to digitally gather data — down to the specific outcome — that can later be reviewed to see how their class is doing as a whole and how each student is doing individually. All of this data is remotely transferred back to the Learning Mastery Gradebook in Canvas, eliminating the need for educators to manually input results.
Canvas Polls is an application teachers can use to poll or quiz their students and gauge comprehension and incorporate formative assessment without the need for physical "clicker" devices. Instructors can pose questions to their students, give them any number of options and then let students answer the question immediately from their own devices, with results automatically recorded in Canvas. The app can be used on both iOS and Android devices and provides teachers with analysis to track various learning outcomes for individual students, cohorts or classes. As a software solution, it also provides flexibility and functions that have never been available with clicker hardware, and without the associated costs.
Learning Mastery for Students
Instructure has added new visibility for students in the Learning Mastery tab of the Canvas Gradebook, the platform's tool for measuring student competency based on Common Core or custom standards. With these enhancements, students and parents can now follow their academic progress, providing greater visibility into their strengths and areas of improvement. This functionality will empower students and parents to take greater ownership of the learning experience through improved transparency and prescriptive detail.
One of the keys to more effective student grading is the ability to analyze the value of individual assessments and questions. Instructure's new Quiz Stats feature for Canvas allows educators to measure the effectiveness of their assessments through simple graphs and charts. With it, teachers can identify trends in responses to find and discard questions that are misleading or ambiguous. While this data has been available in Canvas previously, the new Quiz Stats dramatically improves visualizations and makes it possible for all teachers to instantly understand item effectiveness. This process helps teachers understand if questions appropriately differentiate between high and low achieving students.
Instructure, Inc. developed the Canvas learning management system to make teaching and learning easier for everyone, everywhere. Canvas empowers learning in every context with open, usable SaaS technologies. And through Canvas Network, Instructure provides a cloud platform where teachers, learners and institutions worldwide can connect and chart their own course for personal growth, professional development and academic inquiry. Learn more at www.instructure.com.
Matt Reichman, Method Communications
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