<h1>Extra Credit: The Canvas Blog</h1>
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Feb 11, 2011

By Josh Coates

What Does Instructure Mean?

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So it turns out that I mostly just know English. I know a little bit of Cambodian, Spanish, Latin and I can say a few words in Nepalese and Russian, but mostly, just English. And when I mean English, I'm really just talking about the basic conversational type of English - not the precise grammatical type. The problem is that my brain isn't wired quite right to learn these sorts of things - like complex mathematics and foreign languages.

Newton knew Latin way better than me.Newton knew Latin way better than me.

I took a couple of years of Latin in high school, and despite the best efforts of my dear teacher Mrs. Bisio, I actually did rather poorly. It's difficult to recall, but I think one of the issues was that I was always a little disturbed in Latin class. See, while all my friends were learning how to order food, talk about the weather and ask where the bathroom is in French and Spanish, I was learning about farms, soldiers, and slaves - and they were always killing each other for some reason. The content in the textbook seemed to always be related to violence, death, taxation, Roman roads and aqueducts. It was kind of a bummer.

Speaking of Latin and architecture, the word Instructure is actually derived from Latin. It's a combination of the Latin word instructus which means "to teach" and structure which means "to build". Devlin Daley and Brian Whitmer came up with this name when the company was founded. It's a great name - I think it captures what we are trying to do here - build something which enables teaching.

The Romans built this sweet aqueduct in France in the first century. It's 31 miles long. I wish I had an aqueduct like this.The Romans built this sweet aqueduct in France in the first
century. It's 31 miles long. I wish I had an aqueduct like this.

I'm really excited about what we're doing here at Instructure - but it's not because I think technology is the "answer" to problems in education. I believe technology is necessary, but I don't believe it's sufficient to elevate education. Technology is only a tool, and a tool is only as good as the skill of the person that utilizes it. Our hope is that we are able to get a better tool into the hands of skilled teachers, students, and administrators and let them do what they are best at.

And yes, we did have toga parties, and no, I don't think taking Latin helped my SAT scores.

Keep learning,

-josh

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