A boon for teachers,
A space students can access;
Knowledge is shared.
Well, I’m not a very good poet, but I wanted to write a haiku in honor of the learning management system my school uses: Haiku. Other LMS’s include Moodle (which is open-source), and Blackboard. They all serve the same purpose: to provide teachers and students an online place where information can be shared. Teachers can post images, videos, assignments, worksheets, etc., and they can create forums for online discussions. Students can submit files to a “dropbox”, see a calendar that displays all of their assignments with due dates, and access all kinds of media posted by their teachers.
Harpeth Hall switched to Haiku this year, so I’m a newbie when it comes to utilizing all of its features, but I like it a lot. One of the best is the ability to rearrange content blocks by simply dragging and dropping them. Here’s what I’ve found works for me (so far).
I have created a separate page for every chapter we cover in a course. The page links are on the left, and the current one is always at the top. You can hide pages, so students don’t see them until you want them to.
In the middle pane, I post course content. In my case, that includes images, videos, and screencasts. It is extremely easy to embed YouTube videos – all you need is the URL, and Haiku does the rest.
In the top block, I like to post an image or short video that is relevant to that chapter’s material.
In the right pane, I post links that are useful for the entire year, and the assignments for each chapter.
In the Welcome page, I post my Twitter feed; I’ve found that students really enjoy using Twitter with hashtags for various topics we cover.
While this is just a bare bones explanation of what you can do with Haiku, I hope that seeing how I’ve organized it is helpful. At the beginning of the year, when I faced a completely blank site, it was rather daunting! Now that I’ve been using it for almost three quarters of a school year, I don’t know how I functioned without it. I’ve used Blackboard and Moodle, and without a doubt Haiku is the most flexible and user-friendly LMS available.