Teachers embrace Canvas

Transition from Moodle to Canvas affects the community school-wide


Fiona Duffy

Jon Dicus holds Canvas, a panda bear used in class to show students how friendly the program can be.

This year, as students are getting acclimated to the new format of Canvas, most teachers are adjusting alongside students. “I hated Moodle,” Margi Youmans exclaimed noting that “Canvas is less clunky and I think more importantly it’s student friendly.” Youmans adds that the change from Moodle to Canvas was spurred by a decision to be “more consumer,” or student, driven where the new system would be a “more transparent, clear way of documenting what was going on in classes.”

Teachers are also turning to each other to learn how to navigate Canvas. Beth Calderone, who had previously taught Big History through Global Online Academy for the last two years, has some familiarity with Canvas. Teachers are opting into a PLC, or Professional Learning Community where they learn about “blended learning.” Calderone explains it as “how teachers leverage both face-to-face classroom time as well as components of online learning.” In the class, teachers are being taught what things “are best done in an online space and what things are best done in a classroom face-to-face space.”

Along with the new implementation of Canvas, teachers are using different kinds of teaching platforms. Youmans states that when her “goal is to present something that can live beyond the moment in terms of … a lecture that kids can go back to, or a set of information or slides or pictures that I want them to revisit, I have to use google presentations.” Pulling up a presentation, Youmans shows a newfound function on google slides where she “can accept questions from students … while I am giving the presentation.” Students are able to go to a link and send the teacher a question. She adds that this can be helpful if a student isn’t “confident enough to raise [their] hand during the middle of a presentation,” they are able to do so, even anonymously.

In biology classes, Zehra Khan ‘18 says that, teachers use multiple platforms in the classroom. “In terms of Padlet, it is easy to use.” She adds that, “test review has been the most effective way teachers have used Peardeck [sic].” Although, “if their Peardeck is too long [and] takes up all of class … students are vulnerable to use their computers during such lectures.”

All in all, as the school year has gotten off to great start, the transition to Canvas has as well.