Canvas to replace School Loop in two years

A brief view of what Canvas will look like.

A brief view of what Canvas will look like.

School Loop is used by students and teachers to display grades, assign and view homework, and communicate outside of school. However, the district is now looking to replace the website with a new program called Canvas. There are differing feelings and reactions towards this change. Senior Dione Wat has been using School Loop for all four years of high school.

“I have not heard of Canvas before. School Loop works just fine for me, but I think that I’m not opposed for the change as I won’t be here next year,” Wat said.

Freshman Piper Suplee feels that switching to Canvas is unnecessary.

“I don’t see the need to change to another program and would be annoyed if we had to,” Suplee said.

Two teachers, Heather Johnson and Amy Farley, are the main people who are in the know about new technological developments. According to Farley, Canvas is very similar to School Loop.

“Canvas is known as a Learning Management System, or LMS, which means that it has a lot of services and functionalities to help students and teachers. It’s different from School Loop in that it’s a little more flexible, and you can also post your curriculum, and it helps teachers who are about learning at home and going to school to practice that material,” Farley said. “Canvas is also supposed to do a lot of neat things for teachers such as helping on basic grading. You can upload a rubric and then it’ll help you work through it which will allow teachers to get grades back to you in a timely manner.”

However, Canvas will not be used by the school until fall of 2018.

“Next year is when we’re going to work on a training process. They’ve asked 7-10 teachers to use it as a pilot program, and the plan is to have a full roll-out the year after that,” Farley said.

There will be professional development days to help teachers learn how to use Canvas, so there will be no problems by the time the program will be put into use.

“The district is still deciding what a professional day will look like, but the hope is that there will be a couple teacher development days to learn how to use Canvas. We’ll give teachers the opportunity to learn at different speeds, so people who are tech whizzes will be able to go right into it and those who are a little slower will have more time to fully understand it,” Farley said.

Farley feels that there will be no opposition to the change among teachers.

“I think that any time we change anything there will be a couple people who want to know why we’re doing that change,” Farley said. “As a teacher, there are many things we’re supposed to learn and know so that we’re able to support the students. It’s just a matter of getting everybody on board and clearly communicating to them on why we’re changing.”

For students, there will not be much adjusting to do.

“As far as students are concerned, all of the old capabilities that School Loop has will be present on Canvas,” Farley said. “For the most part, using Canvas will be fairly similar for students in that most students will use it for communication and checking grades, but if you have teachers who do things like use Google Classroom or maintain a website, Canvas will put that all on one site so you don’t have to switch between five or six websites and it will also reduce the amount of programs that teachers have to use as well.”

Overall, the majority of the student body will not be affected by the transition to Canvas. While it could be a little more tedious for teachers, there will not be any significant difficulties for them either. Instead, the switch to Canvas will benefit both parties and perhaps improve the learning experience at BHS.

Posted on April 10, 2017 .