3. Digital age learning environments

Digital Age Learning Environments

Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students. (ISTE 2011)

One of the biggest benefits of the SPU master’s program in the Digital Education Leadership (DEL) is exposure to multiple learning environments.  My instructors developed lesson plans for our master’s program in three different learning environments: Instructure’s Canvas, Google Classroom, and Microsoft Teams.  For me, the learning that came from spending a full course in each of these learning environments is worth the price of tuition.  The fact that we came away with so much more only adds to the value of the master’s program.

Instructure Canvas      Google Classroom      Microsoft Teams

I have been using the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) for three years as an instructor at my school, and I am very familiar with the instructor side of Canvas.  However, I have only used Canvas as a student one time – in a professional development course, which did not give me a very extensive student experience with Canvas.  My SPU course in Canvas allowed me to get a much more extensive experience with Canvas as a student.  This has helped me improve how I use Canvas at my school.

Several of my SPU courses used Google Classroom.  Again, I gained the student experience with Google Classroom, but unlike Canvas, I did not get the instructor side.  Fortunately, I took an elective on Google in the Classroom that gave me more experience as an instructor with Google Classroom as well as introducing me to several G-Suite applications that I not used in the past.  I have had a Google account for quite some time, so I am very familiar with docs, sheets, and slides.  Many of my students are similar to me, and this makes Google Classroom a much more intuitive learning environment than the others.  I plan to add several of the G-Suite applications to my courses as options to the existing tools.

I had the same issue with Microsoft Teams as Google Classroom – getting only the student view of the learning environment.  However, several of my classmates are either currently using Microsoft Teams or are in the process of moving to Microsoft Teams.  As part of the master’s program, we are assigned tasks in which we review our classmates posts and provide feedback.  Several of my classmates posted about their experiences using Microsoft Teams as an instructor.  I got a good feel for the instructor side of Microsoft Teams by reading these posts.  As my school is a Microsoft shop, running mostly Microsoft software, I suspect that my school will be moving to Microsoft Teams in the near future.  I now feel that I can make this transition easily and confidently.

My experiences with the ISTE digital age learning environments standard are further captured by the following performance indicators:

3A. Model effective classroom management and learning strategies
3B. Select, manage, and maintain digital tools and resources
3C. Model use of online learning platforms and networks
3D. Select, evaluate, and facilitate use of adaptive and assistive technologies
3E. Troubleshoot basic software, hardware, and connectivity issues
3F. Collaborate with peers and administrators on digital resources to enhance learning
3G. Model use of digital communication and collaboration technologies


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