Thursday, February 9, 2017

Schoology and Google Classroom

The development of online classrooms in Barrington 220 has followed a winding path. Many veteran teachers may remember building their first websites and online classrooms using tools like COMPLIMENT and Moodle. The adoption of Schoology signifies a new era of organized and functional use of a unified Learning Management System (LMS) in Barrington 220.

In the time before Barrington 220 adopted Schoology as our official, district-wide LMS, many teachers explored the use of other online classrooms and LMSs. Canvas, Haiku Learning, Google Sites, Google Classroom, Edmodo, and Schoology were used throughout the district. Teachers choose tools with a wide range of specific functions and user interfaces. In an effort to streamline communication and organization among students, teachers, and parents, the District Technology Committee recommended that we choose a single LMS to use throughout the district and ultimately recommended Schoology.

Where an online classroom provides a place for teachers, students, and parents to interact online, a learning management system provides an online platform for much more. Barrington 220 connects Infinite Campus, Google Apps, Turnitin, iPad apps, and more within the Schoology construct.

Change is hard, and several teachers expressed their plight of needing to adopt a new online classroom, many for the third time in a short period of time. The most popular question that has arisen is, "Can I still use Google Classroom?"

Google Classroom is a wonderful tool to use as an online classroom and document differentiation and dissemination tool, all while including Google Apps, add-ons, and primary functions. We encourage the use of Google Classroom as a tool that works well within the Google ecosystem. Google Classroom is a great online classroom tool.

Where Canvas, Haiku Learning, and Edmodo differ from Google Classroom is that these tools are full learning management systems. In the best interest of the students, teachers, and parents, and under the recommendation of the District Technology Committee, it's best to only use one learning management system throughout the district. Therefore, the use of these tools is not approved.

Schoology and Google Classroom provide teachers and students opportunities to connect with curricular resources and demonstrate learning. Our departments of Technology & Innovation and Teaching & Learning support the use of both tools. While diverse in their capabilities, Schoology and Google Classroom accomplish different tasks. Google Classroom provides teachers and students with a great tool within the Google ecosystem, while Schoology functions as a learning management system—connecting to our student information system, Infinite Campus, and supporting our diverse platform of tools such as iPad apps, website subscriptions, and more.

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