Kristin Ansnes Ravndal is a teacher at Strand Upper Secondary School in Norway. Her school has been using itslearning as their LMS for some years now. She loves the itslearning planner and explains why it makes a difference in her classroom.
As a Norwegian teacher I have a lot of autonomy in how I teach, which I appreciate, but our education system also focuses a lot on cooperation, and these two are not mutually exclusive. My claim is that the itslearning platform, but more specifically the planner, caters well to these two aspects of our profession.
The planner helps teachers provide structure, sequence and scope to students both in and outside the classroom.
Just like any classroom around the world, my classroom is populated by students with very different personalities. There is the group that does not demand too much from teachers, nothing extra at least. Students in this group are generally happy, well-adjusted and have the ability to reach their full potential with only a minimum of support from their teachers.
Then we have students who are experiencing temporary setbacks such as relationship issues that can be difficult to handle, making them lose focus. And then, there are those who have more complicated issues, such as learning difficulties. Without good structure students who are experiencing difficulties focusing in class are at a higher risk of failing. And that is where the planner comes in, and it can spell the difference between success and failure.
Useful for everyone, but crucial for some
With the planner, we as teachers can help students move into a productive learning process.
What I like about the planner:
- It is the first thing my students see when they open their course in the itslearning platform. Students spend less energy looking for what to do and when, and are directed immediately to tasks at hand.
- It has been a great resource when we switched to remote, then hybrid learning, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Learning away from the classroom exposed the need for clear structure when students did not have their teachers next to them to guide them.
What is in my itslearning planner
There are a lot of tools that I like in itslearning and use regularly, but the planner is by far my favorite. I cannot see myself working without it. I have tested many alternatives (because I am curious about what else is out there) but I have yet to see something that is as complete as the itslearning planner.
In my planner I have:
- Learning objectives
- My year plan
- Lesson plans
- Resources and activities
- Personal notes
Why I love the planner
All aspects of planning are taken care of in the planner so teachers can focus on teaching and learners can focus on learning.
I make my plans, share it with students (I set the date for my plans, and they are automatically distributed to students on the set date), edit whenever I need to, and the best part, reuse the plans. The itslearning planner seamlessly corresponds to my resources folders, so what I put into the planner goes automatically into the right folder. I find that really useful.
The planner saves me time because it is efficient and user-friendly, but the biggest bonus is the quality of the reusable plans. It is easy for me and easy for my students. All the necessary information is available to students on either the desktop or mobile device, and they can also easily access the information on their calendars.
For the full explanation of how I use the planner, watch the video of my itsConvention presentation.
What is most important for me as a teacher
It is all about our students and their unique needs. The planner allows me to focus less on planning, because it is easy and efficient to use without compromising on quality. And that means, I have more time with my students. They also appreciate the structure and scope in the planner and easy access to their work.
New features and functionality are being added continually. The new plan card (shown below) is visually appealing, takes up less space and gives you a better overview of the plan. It is also a great improvement to see plans divided into Current, Past, Without date and Topics.
Structure, sequence and scope
The planner has been a crucial tool for me with remote and hybrid learning during the pandemic. When I was at home sick with a sore throat, I put all the resources for students into one learning path so they knew what to do in what sequence. It took me 5 minutes to do that. But what I had also done was to create a link to a Teams meeting in the plan, making sure the first thing my students saw was the plan, then we had a meeting and they knew clearly what to do first. So, the integration of MS Teams meetings to itslearning is simply brilliant.
Most of my plans cover just one lesson as that is my preference. Some teachers prefer to create a plan for the week, a subtopic or a chapter. Such variation will not create much difficulty for students, because they will still see their materials and activities for their courses in one place in the same way. Having a template for plans across the school can create a uniform method for learning which is very helpful for students and helps them focus better, even with different teaching methodologies.
And combining the calendar with the planner ties it all together. Students will see the attached plans in the calendar.
What do my students think?
My students miss the planner when it is not there. That is the beauty of the planner, it works in the background and simplifies the learning and teaching process.
In summary the planner is:
- Easy to use
- Provides structure and predictability
- Saves time
- Flexible within a common framework
- Accessible on all devices
- Option to connect with the calendar
Free Hybrid Learning Guide and resources
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