My Big Campus- collaborative online environment for schools - the Long Review, April 2012

My Big Campus, from Lightspeed Systems, is an online service that allows schools to create an engaging, collaborative online environment.

I’ve been using it since September and am finding it very easy and useful. I wrote aboutmy intial impressions hereand will be documenting my experience using it throughout this school year.

One of the very useful features is Lockdown. Lockdown will temporarily limit a student’s ability to use messaging and wall posts to communicate with other students. The teacher can lockdown individual students, or an entire group/class. The lockdown lasts for 15 minutes and then resets and can be used as a classroom management tool, or to help students focus on a specific lesson or task. During a Lockdown, only school-related activities can be performed.

Another great feature is Groups. Teachers and administrators can create groups based on classes, class group, subject, teacher groups, and more. Group members can have different permissions for access to resources in My Big Campus. You can use groups to communicate with members, assign work, and much more. Groups can be just in a class, or across an entire district. This would be very useful for student groups in a class, an entire class, all class sections of a certain subject, all teachers in a subject area, all teachers in a school, etc. It makes communication and collaboration very easy.

The calendar is also a useful way of keeping people organized and calendar events can be shared with specific groups.

You can even do video chats in a group, leading to remote collaboration, meetings, and tutoring.

I recently discovered how to make collections. A collection is a set of library items and/or files (the library being where you can upload resources and files) that you set up based on lessons, assignments, topics, or your own needs. You create a collection under “Your Stuff”. For example, I could create a collection for “Heat” for my Physics class, combining documents, images, and other files into one collection for that topic. It makes things more organized and easier to find things. You can also post your collection as an assignment, on your wall, on a group member’s wall, as a group announcement, or as a group discussion. This is a great feature for sharing resources with others.

My Big Campus has a tremendous amount of features and uses and as I use it, I keep finding more and more things to do with it.

Here’s a summary of some of the features: My Big Campus includes:

  • Easy access to good educational resources included in its Resource Library
  • Collaborative learning through groups, wiki pages, discussions, blogs, closed messaging, event calendaring, and more
  • Private file storage for anywhere access to works in progress--eliminating the need for thumb drives
  • Ability for users to “flag” any inappropriate content for review (an important part of digital citizenship)
  • Extensive monitoring and reporting
  • Web filtering and blocking (if subscribed to)

David Andrade is a Physics Teacher and Educational Technology Specialist in Connecticut. He is the author of theEducational Technology Guy blog, where he reviews free educational technology resources for teachers, discusses ways to use technology to improve teaching and learning, and discusses other issues in education.
He is also a professional development trainer and presenter at conferences, helping educators learn new and innovative ways to educate students. He is also a Discovery Education STAR Educator and member of the CT DEN Leadership Council.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of his employer.

David Andrade, MS Ed, a former educator, edtech specialist and school district CIO, is the Business Development Manager, Google Services, at CDW•G, a leading provider of integrated information technology solutions. He works with schools and internal teams on services and solutions around their Google environment.