HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Hillsborough County School District has switched to a new Learning Management System called Canvas. District leaders say it's best designed to support not only in-person learning but also eLearning and virtual-only classrooms.
"The system provides teachers with resources and training modules designed to enhance instructional practices in both a traditional classroom setting and through remote delivery," according to the district's frequently asked questions on its reopening plan.
Instead of having instruction and textbook resources in multiple places, Canvas will house all of that in one place.
Additionally, the Canvas K-12 platform has been updated to include functions to make it easier for younger learners to use it independently.
"We're thinking about children in those younger grades who may not have a higher reading level," said Jenn Mitchell, Canvas K-12 Product Marketing Director. "With these new themes, there's bigger buttons. They can use other tools that make badges so that students don't need to read links, but they can intuitively and on their own find the materials they need while they're learning from home or if they're using Canvas in the classroom."
Canvas will also support live remote instruction inside the platform, so teachers don't need to use programs like Zoom.
Additionally, Canvas has added new features to keep younger kids excited.
"We've added some celebration features that give students kudos for turning in assignments," Mitchell said. "Those little things really make a difference when we're looking to keep younger learners engaged."
However, Mitchell said a key aspect of the Canvas platform is ensuring that students can more easily switch from eLearning or virtual learning to in-person learning.
"As we're looking ahead, and there's so much uncertainty about what the year will hold," Mitchell said. "Using Canvas will allow us to transition and be more flexible if plans change throughout the year."