Sophie Young

Canvas has left me ambivalent for the future of technology at school

The never-ending cycle of changes that belongs to a typical school day seems to be one of the only constants in the past year: virtual, hybrid, in-person learning. The bounce between the three learning models has brought a considerable amount of stress to students’ lives, and many students hoped that would be the only major change this year. 

However, Canvas broke that hope. 

Before the second semester began, the administration decided to switch from Google Classroom to Canvas. 

I still don’t entirely understand the reasoning behind this switch; with the first week of the semester taking place virtually, forcing students and teachers to learn a new forum was irrational. 

It feels as though my opinion on Canvas may be clouded by my furiosity of timing, and I am unsure of how to feel about it.”

The stress placed on students this year has not been inconsequential, but it has been manageable because students were able to understand what needed to be done through a simple program: Google Classroom. 

I have at least fifteen classes under my archived section on Google Classroom, and I’ve never once been confused by it. Submitting assignments is effortless, searching for a due date is timeless, and connecting each assignment to Google documents provides students with familiarity, but that does not mean Canvas does not have these benefits. 

Despite spending a decent amount of time attempting to learn about all of the features on Canvas, it is getting more manageable. 

I have had difficulty submitting assignments at times, but that is becoming less common. 

The collaboration feature has made group assignments more understandable, but it has the downside of a lack of speed. Collaboration assignments fall behind the pace of a group so quickly, and I have found myself in positions where I need to refresh the page every thirty seconds just to make sure I don’t write the same answers as my group members. However, it is more convenient for me than sharing a document each time group work is required. 

The calendar feature has grown to be my favorite feature on Canvas, though. The simplicity of the feature controls my stress levels; I am able to keep track of each of my assignments in one place, and it’s quite helpful. Not to mention the elimination of assignments on the calendar once they are complete eases my mind each time it occurs.

It has its benefits, but the switch from Google Classroom to Canvas could not have come at a more inconvenient time. 

There have been numerous inconsistencies in the last year, and adding another was difficult for teachers and students. I will admit, the switch needed to come eventually, but that time was not this year. It feels as though my opinion on Canvas may be clouded by my furiosity of timing, and I am unsure of how to feel about it.

I continue to remain ambivalent about the switch from Google Classroom to Canvas, but a part of me hopes it will be better for the long run.

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