Sunday, January 8, 2017

Otus - A Good LMS Option for Small Schools

During the weekend I received an email from a teacher who was looking for an LMS recommendation for his small, private school. The school has less than 200 students and a limited budget. Otus was the first LMS that came to my mind.

Otus is designed to be a complete LMS (learning management system) for teachers. In addition to the gradebook you have options for sharing assignments and delivering quizzes directly to your students' inboxes. Otus provides teachers with a library of instructional resources (videos, texts, interactive review activities) that they can share with their students. Third-party resource providers are integrated into the Otus LMS. A couple of notable third party applications are Khan Academy and OpenEd. OpenEd offers thousands of math and language arts practice assessments aligned to Common Core standards. Otus is free for individual teachers to use. Otus can also be purchased for district-wide implementation which includes additional reporting tools for administrators.

Storyboard That Offers Lesson Plans for Every Month

Creating a storyboard can be a good way to outline a story, to illustrate your own ideas, or to analyze problems. Storyboard That offers dozens of lesson plans for topics in language arts and history. You will find lesson plans developed around famous literary works like The Outsiders and The Red Badge of Courage. You will also find lesson plans for topics in history like the American Civil War, branches of U.S. government, and World War II.

Recently, Storyboard That published a calendar of free lesson plans. For every month of the year Storyboard That has a lesson plan related to a holiday or theme of the month. This month's lesson plan is about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last fall Storyboard That sponsored a webinar that I hosted called Telling Stories and Solving Problems with storyboards. The recording of that webinar is embedded below.

Storyboard That also owns the popular Photos for Class and Quick Rubric websites. At the end of the webinar we took a quick look at those tools too.

The slides used in the webinar are embedded below.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on

Pass the Past - A Review App for History Students

Pass the Past is a free iPad app designed to help students review U.S. and World History. The app was designed for students preparing for Virginia's Standards of Learning exams, but it can be used by any student reviewing for a test on U.S. or World history. Pass the Past offers a large selection of multiple choice quizzes. Each quiz contains 25 questions that include visual prompts. There is a hint button that students can tap if they get stuck on a question. After completing each quiz, students can see their scores and see the correct answers to each question.

Applications for Education
Pass the Past isn't the slickest app that your students will install, but it does provide them with clear set of activities to review a variety of subjects common to high school history courses.

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