Schoology: A Learning Management System KIMBERLY TUTTLE APRIL 4, 2016 EMERGING TECHNOLOGY
What is Schoology? • Schoology is a learning management system (LMS) that allows teachers to create engaging instructional content and lessons, facilitate student discussions, and assess understanding all on one platform. • Schoology carries the classroom experience home and into the world with the students, allowing them to engage from any device. • Instructional content and strategies can be shared between teachers in schools, across districts and around the world to foster deeper collaboration and create true global learning communities. (Schoology, 2016)
What is Schoology? Continued • Schoology lets teachers create curricula and share it with students. Schoology’s content is all in the cloud, across 12 million users in more than 130 countries, meaning teachers can share their courses and materials with other teachers. • Third parties can build applications on top of Schoology, preventing students and parents from having a dozen log-ins to various pieces of software for each of their classes. • Having all teachers at a school or across an entire district using Schoology increases the benefits to students and teachers exponentially. • Example: Walton County Georgia and Mrs. Hale’s class. (Tech. Crunch, 2016)
Research-Based Teaching and Learning Nearly all “school districts use one tool for attendance, another for a gradebook and various programs for classroom-based websites and blogs. ” Learning management systems whittle that down to program that can provide “stronger student computing, simplified approach to personalized instruction through technology, broader communication throughout the school community and effective use data to guide decision-making” (Schaffhauser, 2015).
What are Cobb County’s visions for technology use? Cobb County Technology Services Mission: • To provide the resources necessary to ensure all CCSD schools reach a consistent technology standard that enhances the teaching and learning process within each classroom through the effective use of technology. • Support the operation of the district through the integration of all technologies for administrators, teachers, students, and parents. Instructional Technology Statement: • Together, we innovate to support the District priorities to empower CCSD stakeholders to promote student success by leveraging technology for teaching and learning, assisting teachers with using technology effectively for assessing student learning, differentiating instruction, and providing rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning experiences for all students, as well as in creating and supporting effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.
How does Schoology support our vision for technology use? All learning management systems strive to create a comprehensive virtual learning experience in which teachers, students and parents can access the classroom at anytime from anywhere. In today’s environment of 24/7 digital information, we expect a continuous stream of content that blends our professional and personal lives. Using an LMS creates that experience for our classrooms by integrating all of the technologies teachers need to provide students with the highest quality education. Teachers are already using many of the individual components, but adopting an LMS would bring teaching, learning, assessment, differentiation, professional development and parent involvement to a confluence.
Schoology vs. All Other LMS The field is crowded: Blackboard, Edmodo, Moodle, Haiku, Canvas. Schoology offers a better overall experience. • Works well with multiple platforms. • Presented with familiar “Facebook” aesthetic - use is intuitive. • Discussion threads are easily searchable. • Embedding videos facilitates Flipped Learning. • Cooperative learning becomes the norm. • Assessing work and giving feedback (from quizzes to essays) is easier for teachers.
Schoology has a Logical Cloud-based Interface (Tech. Crunch, 2015)
Impact for Classroom Teachers • Assessments are easy to implement. • • Create timed or student-paced tests. Math tests with formulas. Many question/answer formatting options. Self-grading assessments. • Classroom discussions are meaningful and manageable. • Student accountability is improved. • Parents have greater access to the classroom to support students.
Ensuring Equitable Access Schoology can be accessed from any device. In school, technology will be provided if needed. If a student is under the age of 13, a parent or legal guardian must give consent for the child to use Schoology. • Schoology collects limited personal information from minor students only where that student’s school, district, or teacher has contracted with Schoology to collect personal information for the use and benefit of the learning environment. • Schoology requires schools, districts, or teachers to obtain parental consent from parents.
Plan for Implementation Contact a Staff Developer and/or the Tech Director for preliminary instruction Create a course and assign students Test the system by creating some announcements Begin to create folders Research resources already created Organize your own resources and create assessments (formative) and use for data driven decision making • Introduce this to a colleague and administrator • Think about the other possibilities – sharing courses, creating groups, enhancing lessons to be more “flipped” • Include parents (Schoology, 2016) • • •
Needs for Implementation • Teacher laptops • Schoology app can be downloaded to i. Pad carts • Informational letter sent to parents • Students trained by individual teachers or school-wide? • Eventually, student technology use should be 1 -1 • Possible BYOD policy or compliance considerations
Technical Support Considerations Schoology offers searchable online support for teachers. There is also a step-by-step “Getting Started” guide for new users. Administrators should be minimally familiar with Schoology use and able to direct parent/student questions to knowledgeable staff. Students should have access to schoology support through the website and teachers.
Pros and Cons to Consider (Maher, 2014)
Limiting Factors to Consider • Grades are accessed only through home page. • Learning styles and preferences are not included when creating student profiles. • Calendars must be imported. • Identification codes for students are too long. • Requires significant time to learn the system. (Adams, 2016)
Financial It’s FREE for individual teachers. Schoology makes money in two ways: • Investments from private equity groups. • Schoology Enterprise is a higher functioning version meant for school districts and universities, that gives richer functionality to administrators to hook into back-end student information systems and far more. Schoology said that the price (which is per student, per year) is scaled down for larger clients (Techcrunch, 2015). Could SPLOST or DMS Foundation pay for upgraded subscription?
Schoology to Meet Classroom Needs • Research-based, personalized instruction can be designed and shared that meets specific GPS and Common Core standards. • Schoology creates an engaging experience that can deliver authentic learning through access to technology in the same ways students will be expected to participate and communicate as professionals in the real world. • Opportunities for students to collaborate with peers are easily embedded. • Schoology creates a protected platform where students can access ideas shared by experts and community members.
Schoology to Meet Classroom Needs (continued) • Students can discuss topics live from anywhere and ask questions of peers and teachers in a protected forum, which supports the writing process. • A range of audio and video presentations can be uploaded to enhance lessons and engaging students through listening and speaking. • Integration of many technologies supports STEM and ISTE standards. • Teachers can easily differentiate for all learners and send assignments to individuals who then work at their best pace.
Reflection By learning about LMSs and Schoology, my excitement for implementing the program with my classes ignited. It will allow my students to access information and experiences in an intuitive and streamlined way and engage them in a modern, authentic learning environment. Schoology has inspired me to take a bigger leap away from the traditional elements of my classroom practice. I look forward to sharing it with my colleagues. (Trendenick, 2011)
References Adams, L. (n. d. ). Learning Management Systems: What are the pros and cons of Schoology vs. Edmodo? Retrieved April 04, 2016, from https: //www. quora. com/Learning-Management-Systems-What-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-Schoology-vs. Edmodo Chen, A. (2013, January 19). Alice in Wonder. Tech: Why I Chose Schoology Over All the Rest. Retrieved April 04, 2016, from http: //wondertechedu. blogspot. com/2013/01/why-i-chose-schoology-over-all-rest. html Cobb County School District. (2015). Retrieved April 04, 2016, from http: //www. cobbk 12. org/centraloffice/instructionaltechnology/ Maher, S. (2014, August 24). Schoology, The Pro's and Cons. Retrieved April 04, 2016, from https: //youtu. be/RBSDEs. GEuy. E Schaffhauser, D. (2015). 4 Features to Look for in a 21 st Century LMS. T H E Journal, 42(4), 19 -22. Schoology. (2016). Retrieved April 04, 2016, from https: //www. schoology. com/k-12 Tech. Crunch. (n. d. ). Schoology Cloud-Based Education Platform Lands $32 Million Series D. Retrieved April 04, 2016, from http: //techcrunch. com/2015/11/10/schoology-cloud-based-education-platform-lands-32 -million-series-d/ Trendenick, M. (2011). How to be a successful teacher, and where technology fits in | Schoology. Retrieved April 04, 2016, from https: //app. schoology. com/group/25228991/blog/post/28471313