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DeKalb Schools ditches Google Classroom for Canvas

Metro ATL

DeKalb Schools ditches Google Classroom for Canvas

DeKalb County School District Administration and Industrial Complex on Mountain Industrial Blvd. in Stone Mountain. Photo by Dean Hesse

This story has been updated. 

DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb County Schools parents familiar with using Google Classroom to navigate virtual learning received a surprise this year.

DeKalb County Schools replaced Google Classroom, a browser-based program, with a new system: Canvas.

Some schools have also dropped using and Class Dojo, an app-based messaging service, but after this article, parents contacted Decaturish to say Dojo is still being used at their schools. Decaturish has asked the school district for a clarification.

“Canvas is a web-based learning management system, or LMS. It is used by learning institutions, educators, and students to access and manage online course learning materials and communicate about skill development and learning achievement,” the Canvas website says.

District spokesperson Donald Porter said school officials felt Canvas was a better fit.

“The DeKalb County School District has adopted Canvas by Instructure as the district-wide learning management system which supports digital and virtual learning,” Porter said. “Canvas allows teachers to facilitate and assess learning as well as establish communication on student progress with both students and parents. Ongoing systemic training for staff has been in place since January 2022 with a rollout to all students and parents in place for this Fall 2022 semester.”

Decaturish asked Porter why DeKalb County Schools chose Canvas, a new system, over one that parents and teachers were used to.

“The conversion to Canvas was made for several reasons: It provides a district standard platform (i.e., interoperability support, training, and usability) that utilizes more technology security for data protection,” Porter said. “Moreover, Canvas was selected after exhaustive evaluation and stakeholder input.”

The change hasn’t gone over well with everyone. One parent, who emailed the school board and forwarded the email to Decaturish, said the new system is frustrating for her.

“Considering teachers, parents, and students have been successfully using Google Classroom for the past three years – it doesn’t follow in my mind why we would spend money on a new platform instead of using a free platform,” the email says.

The district on Aug. 9 approved a $516,800 contract with Canvas.

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