Wyoming Canvas June Newsletter

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

Wyoming Canvas Masthead

Adoption Consultant Update

Summer break is here for most Wyoming schools, which is a great time to reflect on the year that just passed. This year was unique, but in ways that we never expected. Some districts had face-to-face instruction for most of the year, while others were unable to be back in the classroom until early spring. The push into virtual learning was surprising, and accelerated a change that will persist into the future. Whether you teach face-to-face, or are becoming the newest fully virtual teacher in your district, Canvas will continue to provide an excellent platform for the delivery of content to your students.

Looking forward to summer, there are a number of areas to focus on. I will continue to support your schools and teachers. I have been contacted by a number of districts to provide workshop support for various purposes, the most frequent seems to be working with districts to develop Canvas skills for elementary teachers. I firmly believe that Canvas can provide a number of efficiencies for elementary teachers, specifically in the areas of organization and communication. Canvas is working on a new set of features focused specifically on elementary use cases. If you are interested in these new features, reach out to me directly (dstokowski@instructure.com), or join the new Canvas for Elementary Beta User Group in the Canvas Community.

Aside from the initial and continuing improvements to Canvas as an elementary focused tool, there were a number of other improvements that had significant impact on teachers. To me, the two most significant improvements were focused on student workflows for turning in assignments. The first of these was released in March, and allows students to submit their work using their webcams. The second also drastically changed how teachers can use worksheets, by giving students the ability to annotate on a PDF or other file, natively in Canvas. See our Canvas Best Practices section below for an introduction to this new feature.

I hope you all take some time to relax and reflect back on the year that was, because there’s another one right around the corner. See you all again soon.

David Signature

Canvas Best Practices 

In the May production release Canvas premiered a new feature giving teachers the power to assign a document in Canvas for student markups and annotations.

Student Annotation Entry Options Screenshot

Before using this feature, make sure the file students will mark up (a Worksheet, an image, etc.) has been uploaded into the Course File space, or do this on the fly as the assignment is built. This file requirement means that it cannot link a file that is in Google Drive or OneDrive, the file will need to be downloaded from the cloud drive and then uploaded into Canvas.

In order to utilize the Student Annotations option in Canvas, create an Assignment, and utilize the Online Submission Type. Once the checkbox is selected, a menu will appear to choose the file students will annotate on. Either choose a file that has previously been uploaded into Canvas, or choose a file from the computer to upload. For a list of acceptable file types for student annotations, visit this Official Canvas Guide.

Student Annotation Available Folders screenshot

Once students enter the assignment to do their work, the same annotation tools that teachers have in SpeedGrader will be available. This guide focuses on the student’s annotation ability and feature availability. Teachers can now digitize worksheets, have students mark up images, and submit their annotations as an assignment, instead of using tools like Kami, Adobe, or Notability, although those tools are still available and can be used with appropriate licenses if preferred.

District Spotlight

UW Trustees Education Initiative Logo

TEI Graduate Courses

As summer begins, know that there are still professional development and growth opportunities available. The University of Wyoming (UW), and the Trustee’s Education Initiative (TEI) are focused on creating professional learning opportunities aimed at creating a stronger teacher workforce throughout Wyoming and beyond. In support of their overarching mission, TEI is engaged in creating a number of 1-credit graduate level courses aimed at giving K-12 teachers important and needed knowledge to continue to lead their students in an ever changing world. 

TEI is focused on innovative approaches to education, as very few teacher preparation and certification programs require courses in online pedagogy for K-12 preservice teachers. However, in the coming months a few courses specifically focused on online pedagogy will be available through TEI and UW. In fact, there will be at least two new courses fully dedicated to learning the Canvas LMS. The first course (Canvas Structure) is focused on the basics of Canvas use, specifically focused on how to use Canvas as an LMS for delivery of fully virtual or online K-12 education. The second course will be diving deeper into Canvas features, giving more specific application on using Canvas features to positively affect student learning, and helping teachers find efficiencies in developing their online content.

Clever Pandas In-Training Course

Cohort 1 Completed

Clever Panda Logo

The initial Cohort of the Clever Pandas In-Training course has been completed. Thanks to all who participated in the inaugural run. A survey will be sent to all registered participants about your experience, as we prepare an improved version for the 2021-22 school year. Stay tuned for registration information coming in August 2021.

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. Our next meeting will be at 10 a.m. on June 23, 2021. Contact David via email to be added to the calendar invite.

Contact Information

David Stokowski - Canvas

Adoption Consultant

Robin Grandpre - WDE

Project & Performance Manager

Phone: 307-215-3060
Calendar: Calendly 

Phone: 307-777-5315