Schoology digitizes education

by | October 17, 2017 | in News | No Comments

Schoology, a learning management system, simplifies the relationship between school and technology so that students can get the most out of the online classroom experience, said English teacher and Technology and Learning Coach Debbi Hill.

“The whole concept of a learning management system is that it does a lot of things that these other tools do, so it’s a more cohesive and simpler digital hub,” Hill said when asked how Schoology compares to platforms like Google Classroom and personal teacher websites. “[Schoology] is my web presence, gradebook, and discussion forum.”

Hill said that though students talk about preferring Infinite Campus over Schoology, teachers will use both. The tech department is trying to figure out a way to connect Schoology and on Infinite Campus.

Seniors will continue to submit their transcripts for college applications through Infinite Campus, while Schoology will become the go-to site for things like assignments and projects, Hill said.

“There’s still a misunderstanding that if everyone is using Schoology, that means no Infinite Campus,” Hill said. “That’s not the case at all.”

Sophomore Jack Donaldson said he enjoys the Schoology gradebook.

“It’s a simpler interface,” Donaldson said. “I like that when you click on grades, it gives them to you straight away.”

Schoology can help students with tasks like organizing and completing assignments automatically linked to the gradebook, Hill said.

“I like how Schoology has your assignments linked to your grades,” senior Bella Oglesby said. “It’s more convenient.”

Schoology offers a more interactive gradebook than Student Information Systems like Infinite Campus, which records grades, attendance, and schedules, Hill said. Schoology does more than just tell you A or B; it is linked directly to your work, to give the student more accessible feedback.

“Within your grades, if you see a grade for a paper or something in Infinite Campus, you just see the number,” Hill said. “In Schoology, you see the number, you can click on it and see the rubric and the assignment and the comments.”

The administration is making the switch to Schoology so that rather than each teacher using something different, like Google Classroom, personal websites, or Teacher Notes, they will all use Schoology.

“Schoology will be the one door you go through to get to digital school,” Hill said.

The calendar, personalized to each student, is an important feature of Schoology, Hill said. The assignments, tests, and projects that teachers post will appear on the student’s calendar, allowing them to see their upcoming due dates for different classes in the same place.

“All the assignments are right there, instead of jumbling everything together,” Donaldson said.

Because it is an entirely new system, the transition comes with challenges, Hill said.

“Schoology is kind of confusing right now, we don’t know how to use it yet,” Donaldson said. “I don’t think everyone is responding very well to it because they’re changing something they’ve used for so long.”

Students also face the problem of inconsistency in how their teachers use Schoology. Only a few teachers do use it, and different teachers utilize different parts of Schoology; some use the gradebook, others the calendar, or a combination of various features, sophomore Diana Lim said.

“Students would choose Schoology if all their teachers used it, and if they used all that it offers,” Lim said.

Hill said she hopes that by second semester, all teachers are introduced to Schoology and that by next school year, everyone will be making full use of the platform.

“Any new technology comes with difficulties and resistance and that’s understandable,” Hill said.

Donaldson said he feels optimistic about the future of Schoology.

“I think I will learn to like it,” Donaldson said.