Canvas by Instructure: The Perfect LMS? Quite Possibly

Blog Series, EdTech, Higher Ed & Post Sec, Learning Innovations, Learning Videos, Online & Blended, Smart Teachers, Uncategorized / by

Occasionally, things are not “too good to be true.” They are just that good and that true. You know what I mean, don’t you? Think of a product that is seemingly flawless and nearly perfect. Chances are that same product is supported by an immediately perceptible and unmistakable foundation of brilliant forward thinkers and creators who are undeniably in-touch with the customers who swear by their product.

Now put on your “education hat” and re-read the above paragraph. Any educational products come to mind that fit that description? Sure, probably a few tech gadgets warrant such an introduction, but what about learning managements systems?

Up until last week, I would have answered with a resounding “NO!” to the aforementioned question.

But not now.

Not after witnessing the brilliance that is Canvas by Instructure.

Take a look for yourself.

The Canvas App Center

As a teacher who continually searches for new edtech tools to foster engaging learning environments, this characteristic is awesome. I could go on and on about the efficiency and simplicity of Canvas’ ability to add educational applications that already have the secret, technology handshake, or learning tools interoperability, built-in to the learning management system. However, unsurprisingly Instructure already has that covered.

“The Canvas App Center is your gateway to a world of powerful teaching tools. Even the least tech-savvy teachers can easily browse a library of LTI tools and install them in a single click— no IT help necessary. Powerful tools like Khan Academy, Google Charts, WordPress, Flat World Knowledge, Open Tapestry, and many more can now be easily installed, allowing teachers to create a truly custom teaching experience.

Students also have LTI installation access to popular tools like Twitter and Dropbox—all just a click away. The Canvas Center opens the door to more possibilities for teachers and students alike.” Click here to learn more.

LMS On-the-Go with the Canvas Mobile App

It seems the folks at Instructure get it. They understand classroom walls are coming down with 21st Century education, and they understand learning moments can take place at any time. Enter a mobile app that works…and rocks.

Lesson Creation

Let’s face it. If creating lesson plans in an LMS is cumbersome, clunky, and too complex, teachers will be quite cantankerous to say the least. There isn’t enough time in an educator’s day to deal with inefficient technology. There are enough hoops to jump through as it is.

Since Leonardo Da Vinci once stated, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” I’m betting he would have chosen Canvas as his one-and-only LMS. Click play below and view the epitome of simplicity and productivity with Canvas’ rich content editor.

Speedgrader

The Speedgrader…is…genius. If you ever want to hear an interesting (and very nerdy) conversation involving the elimination of inessentials so the necessary characteristics can function, listen to a group of passionate teachers discuss their do’s and don’t’s of grading. Behind every word is the sincere hope that their best practices will support engaged and rigorous learning while unselfishly maintaining balance between their professional and personal lives. After all, an imbalanced and over-stressed educator is not very healthy for the learning environment; oftentimes the result is counter-productive.

In light of this truth, I offer a heartfelt “Thank You” to those at Instructure who are apparently tethered to the hearts and minds of hard-working teachers.
Here’s a glimpse of the Speedgrader in-action:

Communication

Perhaps the backbone of any healthy relationship is respectful and honest communication. By offering such a wide array of communicative tools, including announcements, discussions, and conversations with built-in capabilities for sharing video and audio files, the brilliant minds at Instructure embody this universal truth. They fully understand knowledge is rarely shared or achieved when words, and the ideas they express, are fragmented and lost in one, big edtech mess. Check out the following video and you’ll see the concept of Canvas’ fluid and natural approach to teacher and student communication.

Here are the links to their Vimeo and YouTube tutorials. You’ll find InStructure’s videos to be crisp, clear, simple, and powerful.

You know…what you should expect from a nearly perfect LMS.

Sound too good to be true?

Nope.  #truth

John Hardison

John Hardison

John Hardison is an interactive facilitator of learning and blended learning specialist at East Hall High School (Studio 113 & EPiCC) in Gainesville, Georgia. By creating a class where literature creatively comes to life on a stage with students as the stars, Mr. Hardison focuses heavily on creativity, interactive structures, and student choices. In the past 16 years at East Hall High School, he has taught AP Language, American Literature, World Literature, and Applied Communications. Through original learning structures and a shared classroom concept, students are inspired to connect literature with their own talents and interests. Look for John at ISTE '14 in Atlanta and follow him on Twitter at @JohnHardison1.

1 Comments

Christ Carter /

Impressive assessment, John. We’ve (my school, in which I am an Ed Tech Coach), just adopted Canvas for next year. We researched several systems, and found strengths in each one, but none were as consistently strong in every category as Canvas proved to be. With great power comes great …. need for training, but even here Canvas has excellent, concise training videos. As we prepare for the rollout in the fall, a dedicated core of teacher is already piloting the LMS. We are finding our initial enthusiasms being confirmed, and new applications of the LMS are coming to the fore. Yes, Canvas is an amazing LMS. Now, to find a full-time Canvas Coach …