Here at the high school, we’ve been fortunate to have our e-Learning Specialists set up a Canvas course for the entire student body.
A whole host of possibilities emerged. We posted announcements to help spread awareness of the spring blood drive. We used a Canvas quiz to have students submit nominees for both Prom court and Snowball court. Students even used a Google Form to submit their applications to run for various student council leadership positions for the 2017-18 school year.
Other suggestions were also made for the future. Teachers who want to advertise their courses could create videos showing off what their class is all about and have them hosted in a course catalog section on the student course. We can create interactive discussions with principals engaging in the same course as students to talk about action steps for suggestions. It can be more than just a content delivery system where our students see announcements and more something that they actually get something out of interacting with teachers and principals for positive change and knowing that their voice was heard.
One thing that I’ve struggled with over the past three years as the student council sponsor is knowing just how much my kids are getting input from the student body. We want to empower students by amplifying their voices and giving them opportunities to speak about the changes they want in their school. Canvas has helped us bridge the gap, and while it’s only a start, it’s definitely a good start.
As we move into the next school year, teachers know that they have the ability to make their own Canvas courses—which includes personalized courses for clubs, student organizations, and sports teams. Cross country meets and academic team practices can be put on students’ calendars. Input for banquets (really, anything requiring student voice) can be requested as an assignment or given via a Canvas quiz.
This hasn’t happened yet, and my one fear is that we’ll cause the problem that we’re attempting to solve. If students are in a different course for each of their extracurricular activities and all of those activities have requests/responses/assignments that crowd out their other assignments, then we run the risk of drowning their academics in their extracurriculars. A tool that can be used to help a student organize themselves and prioritize assignments ahead of the night the assignment is due is also a tool that, when used to its fullest potential, could overwhelm.
I’m genuinely curious at this juncture. There’s so much potential for good! How do we find that happy balance?
Today's thoughts come to us from Mr. Hunter Lambright. Mr. Lambright teaches high school algebra and AP Statistics. He graduated from Ball State University with a BA in Psychology and from Earlham College with an MA in Teaching. Currently, he is the Richmond High School student council sponsor and is the assistant coach to both the cross country and track teams. He lives alone with his cat.