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December 7, 2010

Schoology – Scholastic Social Networking

Who says social networking has to be all about trading party pics and spreading juicy gossip? A new web-app called Schoology certainly doesn’t think that way. Although Schoology is based on a platform that resembles a social network, the similarities with Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter really stop there. Billed as a sort of digital classroom for the high-tech age, Schoology offers teachers, administrators, students, and parents a way to create, complete, and turn in all types of schoolwork online.

The way that you use Schoology will depend on whether you’re a teacher, an administrator, a parent, or a student. For all types of educators, Schoology offers an easy registration process that lets you create an account, upload a photo, add profile details, and enter your course information in just a matter of minutes. Schoology lets teachers and administrators determine their own privacy settings, allowing individuals to decide for themselves which online users can see their personal information and which cannot. Once you get going with Schoology, you’ll want to create course pages for each of the classes that you teach, and then start inviting students to join in. Each course gets its own hub page – similar to a Facebook Group – where participants can leave updates, read comments, and find important announcements. Teachers can create assignments, quizzes, and discussions for each of their courses, allowing students to learn and interact even when they are not in the classroom.

Not only does Schoology offer teachers and administrators a way to communicate with their students online, but the application also offers a number of gradebook and attendance features that makes it easy for educators to stay organized. As a school’s presence on Schoology grows, its administrators can also set up group workspaces for academic departments, clubs, and sports teams. With a mobile app in the works, there seems to be no limit to the possibilities with an application like Schoology.

Practical Uses:

  • Post homework assignments online, so kids can review the details from home
  • Offer online feedback on exams and essays
  • Make it easy for students to see when important assignments are due
  • Send out email and SMS notifications when a due date has been extended

Insider Tips:

  • Additional features are available for schools that purchase premium add-ons
  • Create discussion pages where students can talk about the books they’re reading
  • Track student usage to see which kids aren’t using the Schoology site
  • Give parents access to course pages

What we liked:

  • Students who are sick at home can keep up on schoolwork
  • Teachers and students can communicate about upcoming assignments
  • Parents can keep track of what projects their kids have due
  • Administrators can create and organize department groups online

What we didn’t like:

  • Nothing

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: 2009
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Founded by: Ryan Hwang, Jeremy Friedman, and Tim Trinidad
  • Web site: https://www.schoology.com

Costs:

  • Free accounts
  • Academic institutions can purchase premium add-ons

Comments

  1. I am currently testing this platform with my department as the test classroom. It is an amazing solution for curriculum management and certainly much simpler and more intuitive than using Moodle. The exam and assessment modules that are included are amazing, I would love to see other assessment modules in the future. I highly recommend this. Can you imagine an entire school that is socially connected this way?

  2. Hey, that post leaves me flieeng foolish. Kudos to you!

  3. Kay

    I’ve been using Schoology since Jan. 2011. I absolutely love it! The first thing students say when they see it is that it looks just like Facebook. Schoology is very intuitive and very easy to use. I looked at LearnBoost, but it doesn’t seem to have the same capabilities for student interaction. I’ve used Schoology to post assignments, documents, my gradebook, quizzes that students have done in class. The only thing it doesn’t provide that LearnBoost seems to offer is the lesson planning function, and that’s not a major deal. I love Schoology, so much better than Moodle (which I used for several years).

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  6. Andrew Szyposzynski

    Excessively and overly complicated to use and understand. No hard copy user manuals available. Just another way to invade teachers’ privacy and academic freedom. Somebody’s profiting from it but not the teacher nor the students.

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