Brightspace Offers Big Advantages for iLEAD Learners, Facilitators

Author: | Category: 21st-Century Skills

Educators depend on many tools and resources, but none may be more important than their Learning Management System (LMS). Essentially, an LMS is a cloud-based software system used to manage the educational process.

In an ongoing effort to better serve the learners, families, facilitators, staff and community, iLEAD Schools is rolling out a brand-new LMS. According to iLEAD Project Manager Allison Bravo, the newly adopted Brightspace clearly stood out in the ability to provide new levels of feedback, collaboration and flexibility.

“Brightspace gives staff a customizable daily tool for PBL and transparency with learners and families for increased engagement and support,” Bravo said. “It allows us to collaborate across time and space, integrate technology, and gain new insights about learning in our classrooms.”

As part of the Brightspace implementation, a group of iLEAD facilitators were identified as the Early Adopter Group. In preparation for a fall rollout, this group has already been integrating this new LMS. Here is some of their feedback.

What’s most exciting for you about Brightspace?

“I love how it has the ability to contain everything our learners will need. My biggest ‘yay’ is the layout that we can use for the weekly work. I no longer will have to keep assignments separate and schedule them to show up on a certain date. I can set parameters that the learners have to fulfill before they can advance. I love this.”
— Ally Benedetti, 7th-8th Grade Facilitator English Language Arts/Social Studies, iLEAD Agua Dulce

“I can tell it will be much easier for our younger learners to navigate the site. That’s very exciting.”
— Francesca Bolivar, 3rd Grade Facilitator, iLEAD Lancaster

“There are many great features. It’s flexible, customizable and will allow for greater collaboration and sharing of resources.”
— Ben Williams, History Facilitator, iLEAD Santa Clarita (SCVi)

“It’s an easy format to both view and use. It’s more user friendly and customizable! I really like how it integrates outside programs, such as YouTube and Google Apps.”
— Aidan Bybee, Outdoor Classroom Facilitator, iLEAD Agua Dulce

“I like it. It has easy navigation for young learners, embedded video feedback, live learner meetings and customized lesson plans.”
— Jeanne McNiff-Hendzlik, Facilitator/Coach, iLEAD Online

“I love all of the customization features, not only from the facilitator’s point of view, but from the learners’ as well. I love that my littles will be able to navigate course content using icons. I also love that it allows the facilitator to see the course homepage as a learner.”
— Casey Morrison, K/1 Facilitator, iLEAD Agua Dulce

“I really like that the learners’ work can follow them and all be in one place.”
— Amanda Tuller, K/1 Facilitator, SCVi

“I will be able to differentiate more for my learners online.”
— Sue Ellen Quan, 1st-2nd Grade Facilitator, iLEAD Agua Dulce

“I really like the ability for learners to collaborate with one another and to submit multiple file types — including audio and video — directly in the site.”
— Natalie Teichmann, Facilitator, iLEAD Online

How is Brightspace different, better, improved for you as a Learning Management System?

“My favorite aspect is that you can tell it was designed as a learning platform. For example, if you want to assign a lesson and activity, it allows facilitators to modify settings, for example requiring that the learners watch the lesson first and then do the activity.”
— Francesca Bolivar

“It is all in one. The learner does not need to leave the site in order to complete a Kahoot, Quizizz or video. It also opens Google Apps right in it, instead of a separate window. It’s definitely more user friendly.”
— Ally Benedetti

“I believe Brightspace offers more ways for learners and facilitators to collaborate in real time. This is essential for PBL.”

— Casey Morrison

How will Brightspace change the game for you and your team? How will it contribute to your overall effectiveness as a facilitator with your learners?

“I’m excited about using the portfolio for learners.”

— Aidan Bybee

“Hopefully, we can share our work together, including our projects, to help us all get more creative as teachers. Collaboration makes us better.”

— Ben Williams

“I believe Brightspace will definitely be a time saver. Uploading content is as simple as clicking a button.”
— Casey Morrison

“I really like the assessments facilitators can create. Exit tickets are such a vital assessment. This platform makes it easier for facilitators to create and administer them.”
— Francesca Bolivar

“We can collaborate on the same assignments, which is amazing. Even though we can co-facilitate on Google Classroom and on Powerschool, Brightspace allows us to work on tasks and put them into project activities. I can give instant feedback to my learners on their writing.”
— Ally Benedetti

“It will make sharing learning resources easier, so we can all work together as a staff. For my learners, it will give them a portfolio snapshot of their learning they can take with them from course to course.”
— Natalie Teichmann

What advice do you have for your colleagues who are just getting started with Brightspace?

“Give it a chance.”
— Amanda Tuller

“Breathe and dive in…”
— Jeanne McNiff-Hendzlik

“I am also still learning, so my advice is just take your time, explore and get familiar with the system gradually. Allison has created a wonderful course that is helping us learn each part of the LMS step by step.” — Natalie Teichmann

“There is going to be a learning curve. If you communicate your needs, the team seems to want to improve the system overall.”
— Ben Williams

“Play around with it. You can’t break it. Anything you do can be undone. There are so many things that I am still discovering. This will make your life easier.”
— Ally Benedetti

Any other comments or feedback?

“If anyone wants to meet up to go over anything, I will make the time. Happy to help.”
— Ally Benedetti

Final Thoughts

In these uncertain times, we have learned how to value and implement adaptability, agility, learning from mistakes, and leading with positive intentions. All of these qualities are relevant for creating a positive roadmap for new LMS adoption, implementation and sustainability.

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