We here at EdTechAfterDark understand the plight of the 21st century teacher. With all the different programs, apps, and devices available for schools and districts many feel overwhelmed. With that in mind we have chosen eBackpack as our Learning Management System for 4 reasons; its Easy to Use, it Organizes Student Work, has Robust Assignment Options, and a great Mobile Integration.
What is a Learning Management System?
A Learning Management System is software designed for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of electronic assignments in classes both on and off line. They typically are both web and app based and range from paid to freemium.
eBackpack describes itself as an internet-based application suite specifically built for the needs of schools and school districts serving students, teacher,s administrators, and parents. I have been using eBackpack for 5 years, and during that time I have seen it work with all content areas across the 3-10 grades. As a paid service eBackpack provides everything the 1:1 teacher needs to move towards the paperless classroom.
#1 – Ease of Use
The interface that eBackpack uses, both through the web-portal and app, is both intuitive and easy to use.
You can see from the graphic there are many options to interact with your class and content. The action menu and resource menu are both located on the left side of the screen. There are also large buttons in the middle of the screen that connect to the same content. You can use these items to create classes, import students, and create or grade assignments . I can do any of those actions in 4 steps or less.
#2 – Organization
When moving to a 1:1, BYOD, or paperless classroom the issue of collecting, organizing, and grading work can be a difficult barrier. eBackpack provides the organization needed to not only keep track of assignments, but also how students are performing on those assignments.
As you can see from this image, by clicking the “Assignment Review” button on the left hand menu a list of assignment that are “Awaiting Review”. All of these assignments are organized by Class and Time since turned in. For example, the Craft and Structure assignment that is listed first is from my 4th and 5th block, the assignments under it are from 2nd and 3rd block. This is because the Craft and Structure assignment was created earlier than the other assignments, and a student turned it in late. This allows the teacher to get a quick view of what assignments have been turned in out of the normal order.
#3 – Assignment Options
At times running a classroom that is digitally immersed can cause assignments to take the same look even though the content changes. With eBackpack you can assignment anything from a PDF to a Video File. The assignment creation tool in eBackpack has all the features of a standard word processor with a few extras. One exciting addition is the Learning Tools button. Through this process you can add videos from Khan Academy, YouTube, Quizlet, SchoolTube, Vimeo, and Wikipedia. These pre-made video files can be embedded in the instructions of the assignment to create a seamless flipped lesson!
That aspect alone is a great tool to improve your classroom instruction, but the assignment creation gets better. Now you can add benchmarks from state standards to each assignment to track the mastery level of each student and each assignment.
As you can see I can choose full clusters like Craft and Structure, or you can choose individual benchmarks. Once students have completed assignments, turned them in, and you have graded them, a report can be created that shows the mastery level of each benchmark. This helps determine that all benchmarks have been assessed, and how well the students are understanding that material.
#4 – Mobile Integration
Not only can you access all assignments, completed student work, and grades through the website, that information can be accessed on mobile devices through the eBackpack App as well.
Through the app teachers and students can interact with assignments, materials required to complete the assignment, and graded content. Materials students need to mark on, or interact with can be edited and annotated in the eBackpack app, or it can be exported to another app and resubmitted when completed. The mobile options are not limited to just the students and teachers, eBackpack has a Parent App that allows parents to see grades, as well as the work students are actually completing. Time and again I have been in parent conferences and parents can see student grades online, but they rarely get to see the actual work the student is completing. Through this program, parents finally get to see why their child earned a C instead of a B.
With LMS programs coming out on a daily basis it can be daunting to choose the best program for your class or school. As a 1:1 teacher with experience in different schools, with different cultures, at different grade levels, and with different content areas I can unequivocally recommend eBackpack to any educator.
For more information on eBackpack pricing and services please visit their website www.ebackpack.com.