WyoCourses 2.0 January Newsletter

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

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Adoption Consultant Update

December was a month of preparation and transition. I didn’t have any virtual visits, but that doesn’t mean the month was quiet. I spent time preparing the Clever Pandas course. We currently have 16 teachers, administrators, and district leaders enrolled in the course, but registration is still open through the end of the month. January’s Module will be focused on web accessibility and Canvas. The remaining modules will focus on using Canvas for communication, differentiation, quizzing, and as a tool to help make data-driven decisions in the classroom. One new Module will be released each month through May 2021, with a new cohort of Clever Pandas starting in the Fall of 2021.

While the Clever Pandas course will still take some time into 2021, my major focus will be contacting and working with our Wyoming Canvas school districts to best strategize and plan for deeper adoption of Canvas at all levels, with a specific focus on elementary levels. The good news is we are starting to see some successes (see our Canvas Spotlight section on Lincoln County School District #2 below). One of the great new tools in our adoption toolkit for Elementary use is the new Google Assignments Learning Tools Interoperability, which recreates a Google Classroom-like experience in Canvas. Second, Canvas continues to innovate and change the platform, which is great for users, but can be difficult for those managing the administrative side of Canvas. One of the biggest changes is coming in a few weeks when the new Rich Content Editor will be turned on for all users. See our Canvas Best Practices Section below for resources related to this transition. 

I hope you all had a restful break over the last days of 2020, with a renewed focus on bringing your content to life in 2021 and beyond. If you have any specific questions about how I can help you individually, your school, or your district, please let me know. Happy New Year!

David Signature

Clever Pandas In-Training Course

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This is a new professional development opportunity through the WDE on advanced use cases of Canvas. The course can be taken for one full PTSB credit (14 total hours of anticipated time to complete the course). The Clever Pandas In-Training Course is now live and available for registration. Registration will be open through January 31, 2021, so get your seat in the first ever cohorts, and you too can be called a Clever Panda.

Canvas Best Practices 

The New Rich Content Editor

On January 16, 2021, the new Rich Content Editor (RCE) will be turned on for all Canvas users. There are a number of districts that have not enabled this feature for their teachers yet. If the Rich Content Editor looks like the following, then it is the new RCE:

New RCE visual screenshot

The new RCE contains fewer buttons which are streamlined by functionality, when compared with the two rows of buttons on the classic RCE. 

To see if the new RCE is available, look in the Course Settings and then under the “Feature Options” tab. If there is an item called “RCE Enhancements” that can be activated, the new RCE is enabled:

RCE Enhancements Enabled Screenshot

If the “RCE Enhancements” is not showing, then the feature is not currently available but will be automatically added on January 16.

For anyone unsure of how to use this new feature, David will be releasing five new videos on the new RCE, one each day during the week of January 11, 2021. Each video will be added to the Wyoming Department of Education  - All Things Canvas Course, and via Twitter using the hashtag #NewRCE. 

Canvas Spotlight

Lincoln County School District #2

Regardless of whether a school district is brand new to Canvas this year, or has been using Canvas in secondary grades for years, the rollout of Canvas to elementary grades is a vastly different process than for secondary grades. Lincoln County School District #2 in the Star Valley of Western Wyoming has been using Canvas in their secondary grades for a number of years. They are now in the process of preparing a district-wide launch of Canvas for their elementary grades. Dr. Amanda McAdams, Director of Elementary Education is leading the way toward an effective elementary Canvas launch with the assistance of Wyoming Canvas Adoption Consultant David.

The Lincoln County School District #2 plan for Canvas use at the elementary level started when Dr. McAdams reached out to some of her elementary teachers who were most inclined to use technology in their classrooms. David presented a high-level workshop on the basics of Canvas for elementary teachers on the Rich Content Editor focused on the task of designing a Canvas homepage. After the workshop, Dr. McAdams facilitated a discussion with her teachers on how Canvas could be used in their classrooms. At this point, David was able to answer questions about pedagogical uses of Canvas in the elementary classroom. Future sessions have been scheduled to help these early adopters continue their journey with Canvas.

Canvas consulting follows best practices in Change Management understanding that change is a personal process. Lincoln County School District #2 has created a process which is both internally led and internally focused. While not every elementary teacher has started using Canvas in their classrooms, the district has organically created and cultivated a team of Canvas champions which will help lead the charge. Lincoln County School District #2 has a high chance for success in their elementary classrooms because of a targeted and locally controlled effort for adopting Canvas. 

If you would like schedule time for your district to start planning for an elementary Canvas rollout, make sure to contact David Stokowski, Wyoming Canvas Adoption Consultant.

Statewide Adoption Consulting Meeting 

These meetings are to discuss the successes, concerns, and needs of Canvas districts around Wyoming and to demonstrate new Canvas features. Consulting meetings will start at 10 a.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Email David to be added to the email invite list.

Next Meeting: 10 a.m. on January 26, 2021

Contact Information

David Stokowski, Canvas, Adoption Consultant

Robin Grandpre, WDE, Project & Performance Manager

Phone: 307-215-3060
Calendar: Calendly 

Phone: 307-777-5315