“LOSSLESS LEARNING”: Yesterday, Instructure added a new entry to the edtech buzzword dictionary. It announced two new tools for its Canvas learning management system (LMS) based on the concept of “lossless learning.” The term, which borrows from the world of digital media, aims to preserve data on learning, whether student comprehension or skill assessment, from physical classroom interactions.
As Jared Stein, Vice President of Research and Education at Instructure, explains, “a lot more information is lost in the face-to-face environment,” like eye contact, nodding and other cues of student comprehension. “So what we wanted to do was create some tools that were super easy to teachers to use face-to-face, but still provide data and connect with the central Canvas platform,” says Stein.
Instructure hopes to offer this capability to educators through two new tools: Canvas Polls, a student response system which enables teachers to gauge comprehension and attention by recording answers directly from student devices (compatible with both iOS and Android systems) onto the Canvas system, and MagicMarker, an iPad application which allows teachers to track student performance in the classroom by swiping left or right to show whether a student answered correctly or incorrectly. Stein hopes MagicMarker will provide support “for the process, and not just the product, of learning,” through analysis of “less formal learning opportunities and more dynamic interactions that happen all the time in a face-to-face classroom.”
Instructure also increased access to the Canvas Gradebook, enabling students and parents to track progress and assessments through scores and feedback.
The two tools, free with subscription to the Canvas LMS, are now available to attendees of InstructureCon, the startup’s annual user conference, and will be released to the general public on June 25.