How to Streamline Assignments for Teachers and Students

Educators – what is your system for assigning, grading, and giving feedback on work done in class and at home? Most contemporary educators have at least some digital elements involved in the process, whether they use an online planning application or just type up their notes on the computer.

How much time does your system actually take you to use? An hour per week? Two? More?

Teachers may not even realize how much time is poured into the logistics of planning, delivering, and grading assignments since it happens a little bit at a time. Those hours not only take away from free time but can impede what is actually dedicated to instruction in the classroom.

Technology is evolving with the power to change all of that, though. I recently had a chance to learn more about the Canary Learning system, a cloud service that allows teachers and students the ability to log in from any internet-connected device to see upcoming lessons, assignments, and due dates. Launched in early 2015, Canary Learning allows teachers to have all of their assignment details in one centralized spot – and allows them to grant access to students.


There are also native iOS and Chrome apps that allow educators and students to access a mobile-friendly version of the software. The best part? The individual teacher and student version are completely free. All of the synced changes are also available offline – which lends an equity of resources aspect for at-risk students who may not have the same internet access as peers.

So how does Canary Learning work exactly? First, it has two different experiences based on who is using it. A teacher, for example, has many more tools available for planning and grading while a student can only access his or her own classes and assignment details. The mobile versions of the software automatically sync anytime they are connected to Wi-Fi and the view is the same no matter what device is in use (mobile or PC). A teacher could create a lesson on his or her classroom desktop computer and then access it at home on a tablet and move items around. All of those changes save to the cloud and are visible on all devices immediately.

Teachers are shown a homework overview, like what you see below. Immediately they can see what homework they need to hand out, what homework they need to grade and what is overdue from students.

‘What we didn’t want was to make anything harder for kids or teachers,” Desiree Vogt, marketing communications for Canary Learning, said. “You don’t need to learn more than one version of this resource. It looks the same wherever you access it.”

For educators, the benefits of the Canary Learning cloud-based system go beyond the streamlining. There are collaborative elements that eliminate some steps when implemented among teachers. Teachers can share assignments with each other by granting access to each other. Each teacher can then tweak their own version of the assignment or exam without messing up the original. Those lesson materials are then saved in the system and can be tapped again the following year. Educators always have the option to edit the materials in their own profile meaning they never need to rewrite a class again.

“It’s sort of like reordering the scenes in a movie. Teachers can change the scenes individually, and move them around, without having to start over on the entire storyline,” Vogt said.

To sign up, visit to set up a free account. You can also use your Google sign-in to set it up more quickly.  For questions about the system or on implementation for schools and districts, contact Desiree Vogt at [email protected]. Follow @CanaryLearning on Twitter.


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