Blackboard: a learning management system

Since a few years people are using more and more devices such as Smart Phones, Laptops and Tablets for their personal use. This tendency is increasing and one does not need to go very far to realize that usage of these gadgets is not only done in homes but everywhere. Just take the bus or go to the grocery store and chances are that you will come across many users of these practical devices. Many students own such tools and don’t just use them for fun but for educational purposes as well. An article written by David Nagel that was published in the Journal in 2013 talks about students’ use of digital technologies and its importance in their daily lives. According to a survey done for Pearson, an educational publisher, students would like to have these devices to be more present in schools. So this means that teachers have to adapt and integrate systems in which students will get more interested in the classroom.

Educational content management systems are tools that help teachers incorporate and use digital technologies in the classroom. There is an array of learning management systems (LMS) out there and it generated 1.9 billion dollars in 2013. While online providers such as Coursera and edX have impacted higher education and are still bringing change, others have broadened their clientele and adapted. They are now not just for higher education, but also indispensable parts of K-12 and business environments. One of the leading learning management systems is Blackboard.

The philosophy behind Blackboard is a passionate one about the future of education and they want to make learning a more interesting and meaningful process for students. Using Blackboard is bringing a classroom online. It gives teachers tools to engage, collaborate, grade and track assignments, just to name a few. It engages students in exciting ways reaching them on their devices, keeping them informed, involved and working in collaboration.Here is the testimony of an elementary teacher about blackboard:

Blackboard is a place for me to house
all information that I want my students
to access. When they walk into the
classroom they are already getting
started—they grab a computer, they
check their email, they check Blackboard
to see what’s new for the day.”
PAULA BARR

But, Blackboard has a dark side, it is not a free system and is costly. The price depends on the needs of each school/organisation. It also requires someone on the ground to help you walk it step by step. Regardless, some people are still giving good comments about it and saying it is one of the most complete tool available on the market.

Enthusiasm rises as we explore Blackboard’s website and read about all the possible things that can be done to enhance a classroom. Furthermore, there are many positive comments about this platform. As an ESL teacher, I would be happy to work with it and integrate it to learning activities for the children. Since children are highly exposed to technology, as a teacher, there is no other choice than to bring this aspect in schools and explore the possibilities to keep children on tract and interested in their learning process. It would keep them from being bored of formal teaching and get them prepared for the future. This can be used as early as students in cycle one in small workshop activities since the management system works well with iPads. Since Blackboard has a blog, a journal section, Wikis, Discussion boards and more, higher level students can be connected to it even outside the classroom and keep tract of their learning progress. It’s a whole new world with many possibilities awaiting every curious child.

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Blackboard: a learning management system

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