Palliser Beyond Borders provides online learning opportunities to students attending Palliser Regional Schools, from other areas of Alberta and Canada. Palliser works to create learning success for all students as they develop their unique potential as caring citizens in a changing world. Their online initiative supports their mission by expanding learning choices and personalization for Palliser students and provides students access to their learning on a 24/7 basis. Palliser Beyond Borders provides flexible learning opportunities that are tailored to the individual student needs.
Alison Hancox and Stephanie Krammer, Palliser Beyond Borders Principal and Teacher respectively, had incredible enthusiasm about IntelliBoard:
[Palliser Beyond Borders] operate[s] as a teaching and learning community. When our students log on, they are part of a live and vibrant teaching community. IntelliBoard has allowed us to get to know every single one of our students. Running reports, comparing it to previous weeks, we identify what our student patterns are, their heavy usage periods, and their light usage periods. We learn how they engage with their online learning.
Using IntelliBoard allows us to get a more granular look at our data. We look at data for retention, grades, progress in courses, and intervene as necessary. We are able to do this better than ever before, and we save about 3 hours each week in data analysis time (that we previously did manually). Moodle [shows when students] last accessed the course, but IntelliBoard [provides] so many reports that allow us to dig deeper: What device are they using? When were they last active? What was their last activity? What device did they access it from? It allows us to really look at how, when, and where students are using the Moodle platform. Understanding the kinds of devices students use informs our course design. We have learned that students want to use mobile devices and we are redesigning our courses to ensure they are able to work in this format. We are seeing an increase in mobile device usage and retention/completion for those students since we started our data analysis with IntelliBoard.
One of the big selling features, was realizing early on that we could continue to use our open-source learning management system and have IntelliBoard bundled with our service provider through Blackboard [Open LMS]. The integration with Blackboard has been a life-saver, and seamless. It was so easy. [Previous to IntelliBoard] we manually tracked and flagged students to create student interventions to ensure completion. It became clear to us that we could stop the significant investment ($20,000) tied into this external system and [realize significant savings] with IntelliBoard.
[We're] not being flippant when [we] say that one of our favorite things about IntelliBoard is the people. We need providers who will allow us to do the action research in the field, figure out what we need, to go back to our provider and say, "This is what we're doing," or, "This is what we're hearing from our students or our users. Can you work with us?" [IntelliBoard] has been so wonderful, and the fact that we can go on to the website and do a live chat has been [amazing]. We're doing just-in-time action research. Visualization [of data] and the ability to export that is so handy. The ability for teachers to access comprehensive data in Moodle is incredible. The "Needs Grading" report has been a life-saver. Before this, grading was a daunting task. Looking up who needs to have what graded and jumping between perhaps a dozen courses was cumbersone...[with IntelliBoard] you easily forget [how bad it was before IntelliBoard].
[The functionality of bookmarking] the reporting we require, and then scheduling [that reporting inside] IntelliBoard to distribute to our teachers and to our administrators on a weekly basis means we have operationalized the use of data in our weekly management. We are able to reach out to principals in schools on a weekly basis, now; notifying them of their students [especially those] who have been inactive. When we reach out to [those principals], the data we can provide about student progress helps them to reach students, find out what's going on, maybe give us some [situational indicators on performance]. The ability to send concrete data with the classes, the last time they've accessed, progress, and how much of the course that [the student has] completed has been really helpful. We are a village, a pretty tight-knit village. We're finding a lot more success when we can give them more information. IntelliBoard is really helping us with that.
When a student doesn't progress, or if a student fails, we don't stop there. We implement a pyramid of interventions using the research around interventions, and we engage others [to forward student progress]. We are a teaching and learning environment. Our classrooms are two-directional environments. We need to be engaged in good pedagogy and good assessment practices. Interventions are a cornerstone of good pedagogy.
Thank you for being constantly open and receptive to our suggestions and our feedback, because it's really made a difference for us. We are able to help mold and shape the way that we can do what we do, and do it better. It's not the technology telling us what we can or can't do in our classroom, which is one of the bottom lines that we use to vet technology. What we love about IntelliBoard is we can figure out what our best practice is, and then we can shape the technology to support us for best teaching and learning.