Molly Turner, Co-Editor in Chief

As technology expands, so does education. Kingsport City Schools and Sevier Middle School have continued to add more and more ways for classes to feature technology. One of the major things Sevier has done is using learning platforms.

Kingsport City Schools currently uses three learning platforms: Edvance360, Google Classroom and Canvas.
“Technology changes at a very fast pace, so the options available change just as quickly,” Luke Holt, an 8th grade teacher at Sevier, said. “I think we keep multiple platforms around to ensure the school has access to a quality platform no matter the change in technology.”

Google Classroom is currently the most used learning platform at Sevier.

“Google Classroom is an excellent online tool that helps teachers manage their classes in a digital environment,” Laurie Norris, eLearning Coordinator for Kingsport City Schools, said.

Not only is Google Classroom currently the most used learning platform, but it is also many students and teachers favorite platform available.

“My favorite thing about Google Classroom is that you can catch up on your work and you won’t lose your work,” Chloe Patlan, a 6th grade student at Sevier, said.

Holt agrees.

“Google Classroom helps hold students more accountable for their work, gives me opportunities for feedback that paper does not give, and teaches 21st century skills,” Holt said.
Edvance360 used to be the most used learning, but now only a few teachers prefer using it over Google Classroom and Canvas.

“I feel that Edvance360 benefits my students’ learning because it is easily accessible, the materials can be organized by unit, and it is easy for students to submit to me,” Rebekah Tipton, a 7th grade teacher at Sevier, said.

Although students and teachers love learning platforms, they do have a few complaints about them.
“Sometimes they don’t help me because they act up,” Nicholas Zipriani, a 6th grade student at Sevier, said.

When a lot of learning takes place online, Wi-Fi problems or platform outages can be a major problem for students.

Then there is the confusion having three different learning platforms can cause.

“Different teachers using different learning platforms confuses me because they’re telling me to use one thing and other teachers use another thing,” Patlan said “It confuses me because I can’t keep track of what they want me to do.”However, Kingsport City Schools will no longer be using Edvance360 effective the end of the current school year.

“Canvas’ Learning Management System provides features that exceed what is offered in Edvance360 and will ultimately be a better support to our teachers and students,” Norris said.

Canvas is the newest learning platform at Sevier. It is not in much use yet, but several Sevier teachers have begun receiving training in how to use it.

Kingsport City Schools is trying to move towards solely using Canvas as its main learning platform. Norris feels that Canvas has the most to offer Sevier students and teachers.

Canvas acts as an umbrella for all digital resources,” she said.

Canvas has many features that could make both students’ and teachers’ jobs easier.

“Canvas syncs with our Student Information System so teachers can grade assignments and tests, and grades will post directly to PowerSchool,” Norris said. “This will eliminate an extra step for teachers to input grades. It also has an extremely easy interface, which is beneficial to both teachers and students, and it provides exceptional integration with other digital resources, which eliminates students having to go to other sites and other digital tools and apps.”

Although Sevier’s teachers and students are trying to move to focusing on Canvas, they agree that having three learning platforms is actually beneficial to Sevier.

“I think it’s beneficial for teachers to have options in how they deliver instruction, so anything that improves teacher instruction improves student learning,” Holt said.
Kayden Johnson, an 8th grade student at Sevier, agrees.

“I think it is beneficial because there might be something you can’t do on Google Classroom that you can do on Edvance360 or Canvas,” she said.

Sevier students and teachers agree that using learning platforms has made school better for students.

“I think it makes it better instead of getting confused by using things that aren’t organized,” Patlan said.

Johnson agrees.

“I think it makes school better because the teacher can put assignments on there, and when you’re absent you can see them easily,” Johnson said.

In the end, most members of the Sevier community feel that learning platforms are only as helpful as students and teachers are willing to make them.

“The learning platforms are a tool that is as good as the plan to use it, and from what I see at Sevier, the students have world class opportunities to use them,” Holt said.

Technology is becoming a very big part of how students get their education in today’s society, and many students feel that it is helpful to their learning.

“It has helped my education because it’s easier for me to learn on computers,” Johnson said.
Kobe Andrade, an 8th grade student at Sevier Middle, agrees.

“It has helped because it makes learning more fluent in the classroom,” he said.
Learning platforms and the increased use of technology at Sevier give big opportunities to teachers for
new ways of teaching, and students for new ways of learning. Whether that happens on Edvance360, Google Classroom or Canvas seems to matter very little.

“The reasons for using technology in education are to provide students with opportunities to consume, create and share knowledge,” Norris said.

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