US Software firm, Instructure, is shaking up the Australian education sector with the launch of its Canvas Learning Management System.
The company has opened its APAC headquarters at Tank Headquarters at Tank Stream Labs in Sydney in response to growing demand for Canvas from Australian educators in both K-12 and higher education.
It has also made a number of strategic appointments including Julian Ridden as Open Education Evangelist and Troy Martin as Director of APAC.
Canvas is an alternative to legacy LMS’s.
It allows teachers and lecturers to easily integrate a vast education marketplace of third-party apps and multimedia features into their course content.
The cloud-based platform allows educators to build creative multimedia “mashups” using tools like Vimeo and YouTube.
Instructure director of International marketing, Matt McGhie, told ARN the company had launched in Europe and Asia earlier this year after strong growth over six years in the US.
"We think there's some room for disruption in Australia," he said.
"What's really exciting for me is I am seeing similar things happening in the new markets to what happened in the very beginning in the US."
Instructure already services 25 educational institutions in Australia who have deployed the open source, cloud-based LMS.
Newington College in Sydney has been using Canvas since 2011 and the company has recently signed the Christian Schools Association and TAFE NSW.
Instructure APAC director, Troy Martin, said the company was committed to modern education in Australia, and wanted to partner with institutions that want to bring their teaching and learning into 21st Century.
“Our rapidly growing team will support existing customers as well as reach out to more schools, universities, TAFES and RTOs across Australia.”
Newington head of teaching, Sean Corcoran, said one of the greatest challenges with deploying any technology across an organisation was getting people to use it.
"Canvas is so user friendly that the entire school community has really embraced the unique learning tool," he said.
"Since its implementation, Canvas has dramatically improved the richness of teaching and learning at our school.”
Canvas runs on a multi-tenant, native cloud architecture, which by the end of 2014 will be hosted in Australia on industry-leading Amazon Web Services, with a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee.
Instructure open education evangelist, Julian Ridden said Australia was crying out for an alternative to the existing LMS platforms.
"Canvas is the product of technologists building a solution for educators,” he said.
“This sets it head and shoulders above the outdated LMSs being used by the majority of education facilities across the country. The new generation of digital native students need a revolutionary product – Canvas is the solution.”
Founded in Salt Lake City, Utah, Instructure entered the LMS market in 2011.
Since its inception, Canvas has grown exponentially, adding 450 employees in the last three years, and providing education software to more than 12 million users worldwide.
The entrance into Australia and wider APAC region follows steady take up in the US and UK.
In North America, it has contracts with more than 900 higher education and K-12 institutions.