Haiku might be new to most parents, but members of the Canterbury faculty have been working with the learning management system (LMS) for more than a year. When Dr. Susan Gebhard – Dr. G – joined the faculty last year, she saw the vision Dave Skeen, John Schoultz and other teachers had developed with the tablet program. What the program needed was an LMS.
If you have taken a college course in the last 10 years, you have probably used an LMS. The two most well known are Blackboard (not to be confused with Blackbaud) and Moodle. An LMS is a web-based system that does it all: student participation, track assessments, parent communication and more. Usually you would find an LMS only at the college level or maybe at a private high school.
Dr. G, who had worked extensively in higher education, explains it this way. “Blackbaud is like the school office,” she says. “Just like the office, we go there to get schedules, contact information, calendar updates. It functions like a database. Haiku is the classroom. When we visit the classroom, we see students raising their hands, homework displayed on the Smartboard or whiteboard, and hear a teacher speaking to students.”
Dr. G stops the explanation here to relay a recent example. “Justin McCollum (3rd grade) was absent recently, and he recorded a message for the students on Haiku giving them the instructions for their activity of writing true stories.” Dr. G happened to be visiting Mr. McCollum’s class to work with students using iPads. This is just one example of the dynamic implementation of the system. “Mr. McCollum had not been instructed to use Haiku in this way, but it worked,” she says. “The students were totally attentive to his message and began their work right away.”
Canterbury’s teachers are not following a typical method for implementing an LMS. Last year, Nadav Avital (5th grade) used a different LMS for a trial period, and then tried Haiku, all the while sharing his experiences with others. Paul Kostak (middle school science) had worked with Haiku prior to joining the Canterbury faculty last year and shared his experiences with others. Rather than rounding up the faculty and issuing a directive to start using the new system, the implementation has taken an organic approach based on teacher interest.
According to Dr. G, Haiku would like Canterbury to be a case study for the pilot program because this teacher-to-teacher sharing model is unique to our school. And it has been effective.
Just to be clear–Google Docs and Google Drive have not gone away at Canterbury. Dr. G explains it like this, “Google Drive is the binder; Google Docs is the paper and pencil – still very important tools for students’ daily use.”
“Our use of Haiku will evolve,” Dr. G says. Teachers will assess needs, look for solutions or features on the LMS, and enrich student learning. “Haiku extends Canterbury’s mission of educating the whole child.”
After talking to Dr. G, I wanted to know how I could use Haiku more as a parent. “Be fearless in clicking!” she advised. “You cannot break Haiku!” If you are someone who feels uncomfortable with that method, John Schoultz or Dr. G would be happy to answer questions and walk you through the system.
“Haiku extends Canterbury’s mission of educating the whole child.”
by Canterbury parent Kelly McKee