WyoCourses 2.0 February Newsletter

Update from the Wyoming Department of Education  |  view online |  website

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January roadshow map

Adoption Consultant, David Stokowski, Update

January had one major roadshow event. These meetings were more focused on training and consulting, centered in the Western half of Wyoming, from January 15-18. To me, the most exciting part of this trip was getting to see Canvas in the wild and in many of the smaller schools throughout the state. My first stop was in Douglas to help Converse School District #1 finalize a few things to prepare to launch their spring semester trust courses. Students are now able to take courses from their neighboring district’s high school without leaving their own school, or their own native Canvas dashboard.

I had a great meeting with the staff and teachers at the Meeteetse School,Park County School District #16, who are starting to use Canvas in all grade levels. I will be back in March to work one-on-one with their teachers on creating and implementing more Canvas content. After a brief stop in Riverton to plan with Central Wyoming College, it was off to Big Piney Middle School in Sublette County School District #9. The day was spent in small groups, three teachers in each of the morning and afternoon sessions. Our big themes were to make sure their courses were passing grades from Canvas back to PowerSchool, and that they could take advantage of using the quizzing tool to help automate some of their grading. My final stop was in Kemmerer and teachers of Lincoln County School District #1. We had three hours of all-staff training in the morning, and then more targeted group and 1:1 work in the afternoon. You will hear more about this event, and their use of Canvas in their K-12 school in our district spotlight.

Aside from this trip, I have spent time meeting new districts via phone and Zoom calls, and even had a virtual Zoom training with the early adopting Canvas teachers in Niobrara County School District #1.

As always, feel free to reach out to me to discuss how I can help your school or district deepen your level of Canvas usage and adoption.

Statewide Canvas User Groups

We are in the process of creating a number of statewide Canvas user groups. The purpose of these groups will be to hold scheduled Zoom video meetings on a recurring basis, like monthly, bi-monthly, or something else. Users from across the state would join and share how they are using Canvas in their classrooms. The groups themselves will be housed in a Canvas Course where shared content will reside. If you would like to add yourself to an interest list for a group, fill out this Google Form. We will get back to you with more information as we start forming groups, and scheduling meetings. Check back here each month to see a schedule of upcoming user group meetings.

Canvas Best Practices 

Using Canvas Commons

Account Settings Visual

As of January 5, one of the most asked for - and anticipated - Canvas advancements of all-time was released. It is now possible for Canvas Commons users to preview content before adding it to your class.

STEP 1: Administrators: You must turn this feature on in the admin space of Commons for your Canvas instance. Once you enter Commons, find the Admin link on the top of your screen. Once there, you will need to toggle on the switch next to “Enable Resource Previews (BETA).”

STEP 2: Everyone: Once the toggle switch has been activated by your Canvas Admin, you will now be able to preview ANY Canvas resource posted in the Commons! Once you have selected content, you will now see the Preview tab:

Kinder Cold Module Example

You can navigate through the content by selecting on the title of the content, or by using the links to the left of the preview pane. One other amazing thing to note, the publishing state of the content is preserved when importing. Since this content is unpublished, it will remain unpublished upon adding it to your Canvas course.

Tip of the Month:

To help other teachers when creating content and using the Canvas Commons, only share content that is unpublished. You can publish it in your course after sharing (that won’t change in the Commons unless you specifically update your content). This is useful to other teachers, as the content will not be immediately published if imported into another’s course.

Tweet of the Month

Using the @Flipgrid integration with @CanvasLMS (in our newly refurbished media center) to share ideas about living vs non-living across sections!

Tips and Tricks

Canvas Subscription Training

Those of you under the Wyoming Department of Education Canvas contract have access to live webinar training provided by Canvas. It is true! All of K12 has access to Canvas subscription trainings. There are currently more than 35 different one-hour live webinar sessions to choose from. To access the live trainings, navigate to the Canvas Training Portal, and create a free account. Once signed up, participants can start registering for the webinar sessions. If new to Canvas, we recommend starting with the Welcome to Canvas series, followed by the Building Blocks series. These two webinars in the Welcome to Canvas series also exist as recordings. People can watch these two sessions without registering, to get a nice high-level overview of the Canvas platform:

First Look introduces participants to the Canvas environment, login procedure, and global navigation. Attendees will explore account setup, personal preferences, and communication tools, such as the Inbox and Calendar. This session also presents the numerous avenues for support available to each Canvas user.

Course Basics provides an overview of the layout and features included in a Canvas course. Users will learn about the Course Navigation Menu and individual components that can be used to deliver content and assess student performance. This introductory demonstration provides users with the background knowledge to begin their Canvas journey.


On-Demand Trainings with Interactive Video Content

Have you already tried to use the Canvas webinars, but find it difficult to work an hour-long session into your workday? The Canvas Training Team has heard your cries, and will be offering asynchronous, self-paced video trainings, which are targeted to be released to the general public in April. Wyoming teachers are invited to participate in the BETA testing of the product starting in February. If you are willing to try out some self-paced video training, and then give specific and targeted feedback to Canvas, then we’d like to add you into the pool of testers. Fill out this Google Form, and we will be in contact as more details become available.

Thanks to Laura Turner Middle School Science teacher at Upton Middle School (Weston County School District #7) for tweeting using our #WYLovesCanvas hashtag. If you have something amazing to share, feel free to Tweet out with #WYLovesCanvas and #WyoCourses2.0.

District Spotlight  

Lincoln County School District #1

This month, we take a look at a district where Canvas is being effectively deployed at Kemmerer Elementary, a K-2 school in Lincoln #1.

After having time to process my visit to Lincoln #1 in mid-January, I realized that the elementary teachers there are making incredible progress in both using Canvas, and in planning to use Canvas. Many teachers already had image-based home pages (think clickable buttons), but were struggling to organize the images effectively. We discussed how to use the table feature in the Rich Content Editor to house and organize each individual button, and saw great success in the look of these pages! Here’s an example from Jessie Willoughby, Kindergarten teacher at Kemmerer Elementary:

Photo of Kindergarten Example

Each of the images above was placed in a 2x3 table to help create a well-spaced and organized look to the class homepage. Also, each image above was made into a button by highlighting the image, and using the Content Selector to the right of the editing box in the Rich Content Editor to select the course content to link to the button.

The excitement continues to build in Lincoln County School District  #1 as the teachers are already planning new ways to integrate Canvas into their existing classes! Sarah Herrera, another Kindergarten teacher from Kemmerer Elementary writes:

“I think that Canvas is a great new tool for teachers to use. It is another way to help parents know what is happening in school and a tool to help parents work with their child at home on work. I think it can also be a great tool for when children are out of school a lot, it would be a great way to turn in work or keep up with the class load while gone from school.”

Jessie Willoughby also makes use of some of Canvas’s more advanced tools by “put[ting] videos of my classes learning so that parents can watch them and use the same language at home.”

If you are interested in discussing how Canvas can be used in the Elementary Classroom, fill out this Google Form, and we will keep in touch about when these meetings will start taking place.

Contact Information

David Stokowski, Canvas, Adoption Consultant

Robin Grandpre, WDE, Project & Performance Manager

Phone: 307-215-3060
Phone: 307-777-5315