Using Google as a Learning Management System (LMS)

St. Patrick’s National School is a 76 pupil school in Co. Sligo with 3 teachers.  They have come up with a very interesting way of using Google to help with their learning.  Paul Barron, a teacher at the school, set up Google accounts for all of the fifth and sixth class pupils. The children are currently using Google Docs to create and share work online.
Some of the ways that children are using Google Docs include literacy classwork and creative writing.  The teacher puts spelling lists for the week up on a document and shares it with all pupils.  This ensures that even those who miss school can still get their homework! Children can complete their homework using Google Docs.  However, not only are the children sharing their work with their teacher, they are sharing it with each other!
Barron says that the great benefit of collaboration for homework is accessible in the chat pane and the ability to have peer review and assessment can be used through the commenting function.  Barron continues:

“We have even had a multiuser homework session where I joined in from home to help as the children completed the task online. My 80 year old father in law was astounded to see the work going on on the screen in front of him as we sat drinking tea in the evening.”

Barron intends to start using forms for individual homework as well as revision tests. The class has been using Google Apps for two weeks now and everyone is enjoying it so far.  While Google Apps does not have the full features of a Learning Management System, this creative use utilises many of the tools that such a system uses.  On top of this, the collaboration that occurs for these lessons gives an extra dimension to each pupil’s learning.

St. Patrick’s National School, Kilmacannon, Maugherow Co. Sligo began an elearning project about three years ago by installing IWBs and laptops in every classroom.  Since then they have added more laptops, upgraded their network,  launched a website and even began tweeting!

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