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LMS Features and Review: Parts I & II

Pia L. Bowes

Grand Canyon University: TEC 541

Kathleen Huggard Ed.D.


LMS Features and Review: Parts I & II

Part of distance learning is a Learning Management System (LMS), which delivers

content, facilitates communication, tracks student progress, records grades, and documents

communication (Rice, 2012, p.48). This assignment was targeted to include young learners,

especially early childhood students, which range in ages from four to five and may be in either

general education or special education. The following paper addresses the comparison of the five

key LMS features to Brightspace, Edmodo, and PowerSchool, and the subsequent review of all

three, which includes a recommendation.

LMS Review and Recommendation

Part 1: Review
Key Features LMS 1: LMS 2: LMS 3:
Brightspace Edmodo PowerSchool
Communication Brightspace (D2L, Edmodo (Edmodo, PowerSchool
Tools: forums, real- 2018). has both 2018) has both (PowerSchool, 2017)
time chat ability, instant messaging messaging and posts allows posts, emails,
email system, file and email for for communication. and messages for
exchange features communication. There is a latest post communication.
(Rice, 2012, p. 49) Brightspace also has section to which Teachers can
an activity feed for students can reply, message students and
posting by the like, or follow to parents about student
teacher and students. notes posted by the progress or
Students can create teacher. Students can notifications. Early
and reply to threads. message other childhood students
Brightspace for classmates or include definitely need adult
parents allows classmates in replies support to
parents to see what is to posts. Parents can communicate on this
in their child’s also see the posts by LMS.
portfolio and what’s the teacher, direct
going on in the class. messages from the
Early childhood teacher to the
students will need student, and feedback
adult support to on assignments.
communicate with Early childhood
words, but they may students will most
use emojis and post likely need adult

pictures support to
independently. communicate.
Productivity Tools: Brightspace has a Edmodo has student PowerSchool has a
calendars, task calendar and events groups, latest posts, a calendar, an
managers, bookmarks, on the class profile overview, a assignments due,
internal searches, homepage. There is list of assignments, a assignments grades, a
orientations (Rice, also an assignments tab to monitor section for school
2012) tab, activity feed, and progress and badges information, and any
notifications about earned. The other integrated
assignments due. assignment center systems like
Early childhood tells students the due attendance, or food
parents would most date and allows them plan balances. Early
likely support their to click the childhood students
children with assignment to review would need support
monitoring this details. Edmodo has from adults to utilize
information. a parent calendar that this section.
can be changed by
month week and
notifications for
assignments. Early
childhood students
would need support
from their parents to
use these tools.
Student Engagement Students have a QR Edmodo has student PowerSchool
Tools: facilitate group code that they use to badges to help provides data
work, self-assessment, collect evidence for motivate students. collection through
community building, their portfolio. They The students can be assignments that
portfolio development can take pictures of part of groups or have already been
(Rice, 2012) items and then speak communicate with created. So, students
to describe their each other. Their can monitor their
evidence. Individual assignments are assignments that
profiles include what uploaded and scored, have been graded.
has or has not been so students can find Early childhood
shared with parents. their grades in the students need some
Early childhood Progress page section support to use this
students can of their account. The part of the system
independently backpack section, or because they are
contribute to their library for teachers, discriminating
own portfolio. They is where additional between all of the
can also look at what uploaded content is information.
they have added to found. Folders can be
their portfolio. Older created to organize
students have more files. Early childhood
control over students would
definitely need adult

collecting their support to use this

evidence. part of the system.
Administrative Brightspace has Edmodo allows for PowerSchool allows
Tools: for course individual profiles teachers to add files, for assignments to be
delivery and for each student. This quizzes, and polls to accessed, but more
recordkeeping, course keeps track of their courses. Teachers can can be added
authorization tools, evidence and the create quizzes and depending on what
communication logs, evidence that has polls directly on the district chooses to
tracking systems, been shared with Edmodo and save include. Class
grading systems their parents. and send them to registration tools,
(Rice, 2012) Teachers have the multiple classes. special education
option to categorize Quizzes can be support with IEPs,
evidence with graded immediately and school bulletins
subjects or topics. or later. Polls are like can be added, for
Student grades, exit tickets posted example. The grading
content visited, directly on the does include
objectives completed, homepage. There is a standards and a
and login history can grade book to keep description for
be tracked. There is track of student assignments.
also an option for progress on the
administrators to progress page.
view student data
from the entire
Course Delivery: Brightspace has a Edmodo has PowerSchool
automated section for video automated scoring assignments and
testing/scoring, tutorials for each part for quizzes and polls quizzes are scored by
instructor help desks, of the system and a completed on teachers inputting the
online grading tools, best practices section. Edmodo. There are scores. There are a
student activity Assignments can be tutorial videos to few videos to support
tracking (Rice, 2012) added and given support students, general information
dates and the number parents, and teachers. about this LMS. The
of submissions can Assignments, online grading and
be tracked. quizzes, and polls student activity
Administrators can can be assigned to tracking are real-
track the data through students. Grades are time, so parents can
a data hub tool. tracked on the view information as
Content for lessons is progress tab in soon as it is in the
organized into units columns by task. system.
and lessons, with Assignments can be
materials being graded and the
uploaded from responses tracked.
computers or Google
Drive. Accessibility
tools also allow for
instructors to check

content to support
students with special
visual needs. Content
can also be read

Part 2: Recommendation
I recommend Brightspace because this LMS best supports early childhood students and

teachers (D2L, 2018). It allows them to add content to their on line portfolio, through pictures

and audio clips. It also allows both messaging and email for communication and for students to

reply to thread. Bright space supports parent communication by allowing parents to see what’s in

their child’s portfolio and teacher comments about each artifact. Though Edmodo allows likes,

comments, and follows on posts, early childhood students would likely need more support to

navigate that LMS (Edmodo, 2018). PowerSchool seems to support just responses between

students and teachers (PowerSchool, 2017). Though Brightspace is weaker than Edmodo and

PowerSchool in productivity components, younger students are more likely to use only the

activity feed, portfolio, and assignment notifications. Brightspace is the strongest LMS in student

engagement tools because students can input their own artifacts into the LMS and they can speak

to record an audio file; type to record information; or tell the teacher, so the teacher can record

information about their artifact. Brightspace has the most thorough record keeping and tracking

systems, of the three. Though PowerSchool can record demographic information, bright space

individual profiles include more actionable data. BrightSpace also has accessibility tools, which

can allow teachers to adjust their content to support students with special visual needs. Standard

supported lesson content is also easily organized and materials can be uploaded from multiple


Though Edmodo has almost as many components of features as Brightspace, Brightspace

is more early childhood friendly. PowerSchool’s strength is that is can support all the different

areas of a child’s education, like attendance, meal plans, behavior, special education, school

bulletins; however, it seems more difficult to navigate and like more of an administrative tool

that a learning tool.


Online learning systems should not just be comprehensive, but should support the target

age group of students that will be using it. Based on all of this information, I would recommend

Brightspace, which is part of desire to learn K–12 for early childhood classrooms.


D2L Corporation. (2018). Brightspace: A k-12 learning management system (LMS) that helps

you reach every learner. Retrieved from

Edmodo. (2018). Edmodo. Retrieved from

PowerSchool. (2017). See the award winning unified classroom in action. Retrieved from

Rice, K. (2012). Making the Move to K-12 Online Teaching: Research-Based Strategies and

Practices, First Edition. Retrieved from