Tech for Tracking: Tools for Data Collection & Assessment

Welcome to the digital version of my training for The Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland! The goal of this training is to acquaint you with learning management systems and allow you to explore a data collection option that might work for your literacy program.

Questions to consider BEFORE you look at a learning management system:

  • —What is your main reason for using technology to track and assess learning?
  • —What are the key features you would look for in a LMS?
  • —What are the major concerns or drawbacks you anticipate?
In person participants will have the chance to get in small groups and explore a LMS that might be applicable to their literacy program. Here are a few LMS options to start your research:

Google Apps for Education

Teachers can manage classes and administrators can manage assessments through collaborative documents, calendars, email and other services.

See it in action: Smart School: Cartoon program uses Google Apps

Edmodo

Looks like an older version of Facebook with features specific to education.

See it in action: About Edmodo, Features and more

Moodle

Moodle is a free software that organizations can download and host as a learning management system.

See it in action: Walsh Jesuit High School’s courses online

Khan Academy

Started as a series of YouTube videos, this website has evolved into a full LMS with practice problems and lots of metrics.

See it in action: For educators in learning environments outside of schools

Blackboard Learn (Paid)

Used extensively by higher education as the online component for blended and distance education.

See it in action: Retention Center

America Learns Network (Paid)

America Learns was built for afterschool programs to support volunteers, instructors, and AmeriCorps members to provide professional development while inputting required program data.

See it in action: Network Youth Tutor

Small groups, or individual readers, please comment with the major questions you had about learning management systems. What answers did you find in researching one or more of these options?

9 thoughts on “Tech for Tracking: Tools for Data Collection & Assessment

Add yours

  1. Our group researched the America Learns Network. We were able to watch a couple videos outlining the program, but because they were videos of someone doing a presentation, it wasn’t as effective as an explanation tool for the web. The information provided on the website was listed, but it was unclear to us how we could use that to see how our programs might be able to utilize it. We also found the Americorps Site that explained how they utilized it, but again, no actual usage information and how we can apply it to what we do, without setting up an appointment with a sales agent which we’re hesitant to do.
    Overall, ease of use was lacking because we don’t have an opportunity to see what it’s capable of. Cost as well is a mystery.

  2. Khan Academy tracks student progress. Students can earn badges for the activities they complete (participation), such as watching a video, and not only for their end results. Students can log in with their facebook or google accounts…no new username/password needed! The knowledge map can be somewhat confusing and frustrating for students, but they can also see the topics in list form on the drop down menu.

  3. We explored the Blackboard system – it’s a very comprehensive system, covering just about anything we could ever think of that would be relevant to our adult ed program, and much much more than we could ever have a need for. As a paid system, we assume it would be regularly maintained and updated… questions include what are the costs? Would it be cost-effective for a program of our size and budget?

  4. I like the Edmodo interface. I think students would like the appearance since it is so similar to Facebook. The app would also be a hit with smartphone users.

  5. -Created a Google Site today about community garden
    -Pretty easy to set up, no knowledge of HTML needed. Creates a menu with links to all of your pages automatically. Easy to add images, autopopulate links, and format
    -Also has lots of templates to choose from for appearance
    -Easy to share to collaborate in the site building
    -https://sites.google.com/site/tremontseedsoflove/home

  6. A couple other sites that came up in our discussion:

    GCFLearnFree.org – Goodwill’s foundation online learning page
    Does not have a log-in/sign-up; no tracking, but very basic Flash-based learning modules, ranging from MS Office down to How to Use an ATM.

    PowerMyLearning.Org – CFY’s new program catered towards K-12 students, teachers, and parents. May not be applicable for adults as it ties learning with games and flash-based applications, looks more kid-friendly than most. Has Grade-level based learning which is tied to the Common Core Standards.

  7. Khan Academy has a ton of great resources & practice and is more in line with what we want than some other sites/systems. We can create student accounts and control their passwords (for ease of access). However, Khan Academy is based on people exploring and learning on their own. I could see it working well in a classroom situation where an instructor can tell students where to go, what to practice… most adult learners need guidance (especially considering limited digital literacy skills). We can’t set our own curriculum on Khan Academy (yet!), which means it’s great as a resource, but probably not right for our classroom just yet.

  8. Héctor and I talked about writing resources. I noted the two-way journal and brainstorming tools. The two-way journal allows students to develop their writing confidence by not marking up their writing. The student writes and the teacher writes a response on bigger themes. I showed him how my students have found outlines and webs helpful in writing essays. They help them to organize their thoughts and can develop related ideas to build on their initial thoughts.

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